Norf Norf | Vince Staples


Impact 89FM | WDBM

Up-and-comer Vince Staples is finally generating the buzz he has deserved for a long time now. After a series of acclaimed mixtapes, features with Mac Miller, Common and Earl Sweatshirt, and an EP release last year, Vince has planted his feet on the ground with his debut album, Summertime ’06. Released earlier this year to massive critical acclaim, the album recounts his younger years in the northside, or norfside, of his hometown, Long Beach, Cali. The result, however, is more dark and painful than nostalgic; the subject here is gang life, not roses.

This is exemplified on one of the album’s lead singles, “Norf Norf”. The beat, produced by Clams Casino, is a minimalist affair that echoes like the alleys of the city. Vince’s voice, inflected with youthful swagger, is more than enough to fill it in. He switches between flows effortlessly, maintaining impeccable rhythms that perfectly interplay with the beat. Vince is such a natural artist that when he compares himself to Nate Dogg, you believe him. In a seeming attempt to emulate his predecessor, he employs a singsongy tone that makes you believe it really is younger Vince speaking these words.

It’s almost catchy enough to make you forget he is talking about days spent with his former gang. Just when you are bobbing your head to his street stories, he switches to a monotone and tells the harsh truth: “I ain’t never ran from nothin’ but the police”. It stops you cold in your tracks and reminds you that Vince keeps it real. He does not want to make party bangers, but he does not want to be pigeonholed as just a gangsta rapper either. Instead, Vince is able to make music to which you can jam and think to yourself at the same time. Grab a Sprite and hook yourself onto one of the best rappers of the new school.