Vince Staples


BY Clayton TomlinsonPublished Nov 6, 2018

Long Beach, CA native Vince Staples has released a conceptual cultural commentary album called FM! The short, 22-minute joint is 11 songs, two of which are interludes — one by Earl Sweatshirt and one by Tyga — and a skit. All of these are entertaining additions to Staples' rapping.
FM! is laced with self-doubt, social justice and most importantly, phenomenal songs that serve as much as vehicles demonstrating the rapper's overwhelming skill and talent as his ideas on gang culture, blackness and the abundant racism in the world today.
Laced through FM! is a familiar voice to many radio listeners, that of Big Boy, host of popular Los Angeles radio program "Real 92.3." It is through him that Staples offers the listener a look at popular music and its effect on community.
In one standout moment, he reflects on his own supposed unpopularity. Big Boy asks a caller on "(562) 453-9382 (Skit)" to identify seven famous people whose names begin with "V" in seven seconds. The presumably white caller, Christian, makes an attempt, but all he can muster is "Vanessa Williams…uhhh I can't even think of anything! ahhh oh shit."
The recent release of the music video for one of the album's best songs, "FUN!," delves into this theme more deeply. In it, the viewer is led on a google maps tour of a neighbourhood that features primarily African-Americans, low-income housing and crime. It examines consumption of black culture by whites but only at a "safe" distance.
Vince has managed to not only be acerbic but entertaining on his newest release. Its only drawback is its extremely short runtime.
(Def Jam)

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