Blowing the promise of his Hell Can Wait EP into an extraordinary double LP, Summertime '06 finds rapper Vince Staples with all the pieces in place. His delivery is still sneering and steady with a slight sway that suggests he's stoned, but like pop gangstas Chief Keef or Future, he can craft a memorable melody out of chopped-up nonsense. Check the infectious "Senorita" for proof, but also check the brilliant "Lift Me Up" for Staples as the elevated rap writer, offering an uncompromising gangsta stance that's both classic ("They follow me while shoppin") and pushing the envelope (Staples tears down a list of fashion labels that don't respect their urban audience). Cali references abound and still the music, most of it from producers No ID and Clams Casino, makes it seem as if the rapper lives in the shadows, not just because it is dark, but also because it is equally attractive and mysterious. Even with the revered duo in fine form, it's producer DJ Dahi who takes first prize, as "Birds & Bees" sounds like a paranoid funk breakdown, thick and brittle enough to accompany lyrics like "I'm a gangsta like my daddy/My mommy called me 'her problem' when she had me/They found another dead body in the alley." Splitting this weighty and rich effort into digestible chunks, the album's physical release comes on two separate discs, making Summertime '06 an artistic triumph wrapped in conceptually fitting package.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2