Breaking away from being known as an Odd Future featured guest, twenty two year-old Vince Staples, from Long Beach, California, released his Hell Can Wait-EP last October to mixed reviews. This time around however, Staples means to prove the doubtful wrong. Summertime ’06, technically a double-album, an hour long, and consisting of 20 tracks, is his most ambitious project yet. Producers No I.D. & DJ Dahi, though already well known for their ability to produce amazing things, also shine on the record, tapping into Staples’ dark and anger filled lyricism, to produce what I’d call, “Music for Sub-woofers.”

Eight minutes into the album, I’m loving what No I.D. & Dahi are dishing out, but it begins to look like Vince’s voice has one, unwavering and consistent sound to his tone. Like Pitchfork’s Jayson Greene, I also found a lot of similarities between his delivery and that of his good friend, Earl Sweatshirt. Where I differ from Greene’s description of them, that “Earl doesn’t know or care if you are in the room,” but that “Vince Staples’ eyes are boring right into you,” is that it doesn’t feel like Vince is staring into my soul or demanding or captivating my attention, it’s just simply that Earl doesn’t really care and Vince does. What Greene views as Earl’s slipping “into the cracks in the walls of his mind,” or Vince described as a “Chance the Rapper drained of hope,” however exaggerated, while I could not find any semblance to compare him to the work of Chance, I do see Greene’s point in that, although they deliver a similar deadpan, Staples’ confidence and determinism set him apart from Earl Sweatshirt, who tends to be more “out there.”

Where the album splits from conformity for me is on track 8, “Jump Off the Roof,” where the dark production gives way to a chorus sample, cowbell syncopated drums, and an actual insight into Staples that we only got a tiny glimpse of before, where themes like those of track 2, “Lift Me Up,” mainly resided on Summertime ’06. After track 9, the skip-able “Senorita (feat. Future)”, of whom I personally can’t stand,  the next five tracks are around the same level as “Jump the Roof,” in my opinion, on the grounds of originality and purpose, such as “3230” and “Might Be Wrong.” It goes right back to the side of Vince that I’m not a fan of on “Get Paid” however, and stays there until the stand-out “C.N.B.,” and then closes strong, cutting off the outro, sounding like he still has way more to say. And while I wish he had said it more on this record, and less of the gang-banging braggadocio and such lyrics I could care less about, it is somewhat of a cliff hanger. Though all packed into an hour of music, 20-tracks is ambitious. After this, what is Vince capable of next?

Listen via Apple Music and Spotify.

For records of extraordinary length, I’d say for around 90% of the time I personally feel that if the better half of the tracks were hand-selected to create an edited-tracklist, I end up being able to keep it in my library and enjoy it much better. For those interested, I’ll include my edited-tracklist below:

1) Ramona Park Legend, Pt. 1
2) Lift Me Up
3) Norf Norf
4) Lemme Know (feat. Jhene Aiko & DJ Dahi)
5) Jump Off the Roof (feat. Snoh Aalegra)
6) Summertime
7) Ramona Park Legend, Pt. 2
8) 3230
9) Surf (feat. Kilo Kush)
10) Might be Wrong (feat. James Fauntleroy, Haneef Talib a.k.a. GeNNo & Eeeeeeee)
11) C.N.B.
12) Like It Is
13) ’06