As an avid fan of New York Hip-Hop, this recent hot wave of young, West Coast emcees makes me very uncomfortable. When I was younger, I was not only a die hard Hip-Hop fan but also a loser who thought you had to choose sides during the East v.s. West feud and you were stuck with the decision you made for life; I, of course, chose the East. I was all about Biggie, Bad Boy, Jay-Z, Roc-A-Fella, wearing Yankee fitteds like a flag (even though I’m from Calgary, Alberta, Canada,) and yelling, “fuck 2Pac!” I was dead serious. But now as I grow older, I’m starting to realize, like my man B.I.G. would say, I was dead wrong. Now, I don’t mean to use this as an excuse, but I was young and stupid; and like many of the stupid things I used to think and do as a kid, some have become bad habits that are hard to shake. For example, when I first heard The Game when he was making noise, I had the nerve to say 50 Cent was better than him. That’s a goddamn lie! I hate Fifty, always have, but my “allegiance” to the East Coast made regurgitate such nonsense. The Game’s The Documentary, which I believe is light years ahead of Fifty’s Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, was the beginning of New York’s crippling fall from rap dominance and the slow rebirth of West Coast prominence. The West coast had not felt heat since the G-Funk Era in the early ninties and the rule of Death Row Records, but Game’s debut was the first crack in the dam which lead to the flood of vibrant West Coast emcees we see reppin’ the ‘W’ today. And although the rise of the South made it a slow reclaiming of the throne, the West is once again supreme, especially since 2012, with the release of Kendrick Lamar’s classic good Kid m.A.A.d City; and now with the emergence of Vince Staples, it’s clear this will not be a short reign.
Although Staple’s EP Hell Can Wait is an incredibly difficult record to match, Summertime 06′ is the perfect follow up to the almost classic piece of work. There are some songs I would’ve left out; for example, the repetitive sounds of “Lemme Know” and “Dope Man,” which are annoyingly back to back; but either than these two tracks, which fall flat on the double LP’s theme of intensity, Summertime 06′ is the perfect score to the anger and confusion occurring today in the hearts of inner-city youth. On this album, whether he’s calling out racist police officers or fake fans (mostly White People) who pretend to understand a ghetto bred emcee’s struggle, Vince Staples puts on his revolutionary hat and holds no bars back: All these White Folks chanting when I asked em’ where my niggas at?/ Goin’ crazy, got me goin’ crazy, I can’t get wit’ that/ Wonder if they know, I know they won’t go where we kick it at. The album is built like a compromise to fit the unique and rare flowings of Vince Staples. The production, mostly handled by the legendary No I.D., has no definitive sound but it works perfect with the unpredictable direction of this work. And although the album is undeniably aggressive, fun and hollers by any means necessary, it’s brightest jewels are when Staple’s humbles himself and leaves room for higher learning in his music. On “Lift Me Up,” surrounded by the violence and gang influence of Long Beach, Staples calls out to a higher power to lift him and his city up from the turmoil they exist in. And on “Jump Off The Roof,” he is just another young soul who loves drugs, gang-banging, and fucking bitches to escape the struggles of the hood, but his reliance in God brings him back to reality and helps him create the music the world admires. But despite his imperfections and powerlessness, the message in his music, and the beauty of how it is received by those who understand, brings him the power to be the coldest nigga breathin‘. It took some time for me to fully vibe with this album because I felt like the young, Emcee didn’t go as hard as he did in Hell Can Wait, but after a thousand more listens, it’s clear he stepped back to leave room for something more powerful in his music (what ever that may be.)
RATING: 4/5 An Incredible Display of Beats, Ryhmes, and Hip-Hop. Definite Satisfaction.
Buy this album and support the album: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/summertime-06/id1003985250
Written By: Marito Lopez