Vince Staples’ ‘FM!’ solidifies artistic voice

By Peter Zemeske

Rapper Vince Staples took the internet by storm when he released his third studio album, “FM!” Friday. The album runs brief at 22 minutes but packs a wallop in its short runtime.

The theme of the album revolves around music on the radio, hence the title “FM!” The three interludes on this album, “New earlsweatshirt,” “Brand New Tyga” and “(562) 453-9382,” play like radio ads given by host Big Boy of “Big Boy’s Neighborhood.” “Big Boy’s Neighborhood” is a real radio show which often has rappers on as guests. The concept of radio hits strong and keeps the album consistent in its tracklist.

Staples does a great job at transitioning between songs, making the album flow as a whole. The ending of “Feels Like Summer” features radio host Big Boy saying “And being that it feels like summer, let’s do this man, let’s go outside.” After the word “outside,” the track jumps right into the second track “Outside!” without skipping a beat. If one wasn’t keeping an eye on the tracks, one might not notice the song even changed.

The instrumentals on the album are some of the catchiest and hard-hitting Staples has put out to date. He isn’t afraid to stand out with his own sound, unlike other hit-orientated rappers such as Migos, Lil Pump, etc. Some tracks on the record take a darker sounding tone such as “Relay.” Staples has referenced his involvement with gangs throughout his career and includes a line, “Do you really wanna know about some gangsta shit? In the city, sittin’ pretty where it’s dangerous.” The first bar references not only Staples history in Compton, California, but pays homage to Outkast’s “Gangsta Shit.” Notorious for his dark sense of humor, Staples brags about the size of his house on “Run The Bands” saying it’s so big it needs “Kanye lipo,” in reference to Kanye West saying he had liposuction, fearing fans would think he’s fat.

Although Staples only raps on eight of the 11 tracks on the precise “FM!,” he makes his voice loud and clear with his to-the-point personality and dark history. The production and features on this album make for a gripping listen. Staples has had a meteoric rise with last year’s “Big Fish Theory,” but “FM!” secures Staples’ continued rise in fame and solidifies his place in rap scene.