Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Vince Staples Brings Back Summer with FM!

Winter is practically here, but some of us are still holding on to the memories of the summer. For those who aren’t quite ready to bundle up and hunker down, Vince Staples shines some west-coast sun onto his new project, FM! Not entirely an album, but a little long for an EP, Staples returns with a stellar performance in this short but highly replayable project that stands out with its cohesion and overall theme.

Staples emulates the LA radio that he grew up on, recruiting the cast of Big Boy’s Neighborhood show which is popular in his hometown. The quick firing tracks, mostly produced by upcoming producer Kenny Beats, fit the radio theme as each song transitions into the next as if you were driving along listening to your favorite radio station, but without commercials (like Impact).

Staples’ supporting cast shines across the board, with stellar features from Kamaiyah, Earl Sweatshirt, E-40, Kehlani and more. The best feature is found on “No Bleedin’,” by fellow West Coast rapper Kamaiyah gliding on the beat with a laid back, classic LA sound that brings listeners back to a warmer season, “I want whatever that you want, let’s get it brackin’/Ain’t with that talkin’ bull****, I want that action.”

Skits are somewhat of a dying breed in today’s stream-oriented album format, but Vince Staples does a fantastic job creating a storyline that really makes it feel like you are listening to a radio broadcast. He even has two “radio-cut” snippets from Earl Sweatshirt and Tyga. These skits and snippets are genuinely enjoyable and worth listening to, even after many listens.

The best work on this album, other than the hilarious and inspired skits, is Vince Staples’ return to form. He couldn’t care less what his critics say, “Don’t be acting spooked, I’m a troop, I don’t give a f***/I just wanna live it up, used to make ’em give it up.” The Cali rapper comes back with a sound that is familiar to those who are fans of his first critical success, Summertime ‘06. His record from last year, Big Fish Theory took a more experimental approach than previous projects.

Staples does better when given aggressive and dark beats, which Kenny Beats supplies plenty of. He cuts through the beats effortlessly, switching flows with ease and delivering memorable lines all while being braggadocious and taunting in the same breath. He never strays away from the harsh realities of his upbringing.

This album is best listened to front to back, as you can appreciate just how well Vince Staples delivers on a very different but satisfying format. It might be November, but like FM! tries to remind us, it always feels like summer, especially with a new Vince Staples project as good as this.   

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