Published Jun 26, 2015It could be said that a rose grew out of the California concrete in the summer of 2006, and rose again in June 2015 through the album, 'Summertime '06. Def Jam signee Vince Staples' debut album dives deep into a life most children at the age of 13 shouldn't see, one shadowed by drugs and gangs in the streets of Long Beach, but also framed by hope and persistence.
"They never taught me how to be a man, only how to be a shooter," Staples raps nonchalantly on the title single, "Summertime." That lack of guidance leads to 'Summertime '06's themes of gang activity, socio-political corruption and institutionalized racism, but Vince also tells stories of the lessons he learned along the way. With production from No I.D., who serves as executive producer on the album, Staples enlists songstress Snoh Aalegra to deliver the positively charged "Jump Off The Roof," while he calls on James Fauntleroy, as well as a neighbourhood OG named GeNNo, for the complicated "Might Be Wrong." DJ Dahi and Jhené Aiko round out the catchy "Lemme Know," while long-time collaborators Joey Fatts and Kilo Kish trade bars on "Dopeman."
Summertime '06's coming of age tale is complemented perfectly by production that finds the nuance in Staples' stories and matches it, couching Staples' rhymes in a way that the streets can understand best. The ambitious double-disc album weighs in at 20 tracks, but still succeeds in creating two separate stories; one of the past, and the future created because of, and in opposition to it. (ARTium/Def Jam)