Vince Staples: Tweakin’

Between his humor, iconic personality, and West Coast Crip stylings, it’s easy to forget that Vince Staples is a rapper, and a pretty good one at that. Well, on the first night of November, he released FM! his new album, paying homage to the culture of new music and a staple of L.A.’s radio world, Big Boy’s Neighborhood.

Now, I’ve never listened to Big Boy’s Neighborhood (where I’m from, when it’s six o’clock, it’s time for Greg Street to rock) but Big Boy has been the voice of the West Coast for decades, and is probably one of the most recognizable radio personalities in hip-hop. And like any good radio host, Vince Staples takes advantage of this album to preview some bits from other artists’ upcoming works. There’s snippets from Tyga and Earl Sweatshirt as interludes.

Vince also uses this album to speak on a lot of difference aspects of the Long Beach lifestyle, but with a lot of focus on violence and death. The lead single of the album, FUN (with a feature from E-40 so that’s a definite listen) goes, “we just wanna have fun, we don’t wanna f*** up nothing”. In an environment publicized for being a place where people lose their life easily, it’s important to remember that people still want to and try to have fun. Not everyone’s out for violence.

However, Tweakin’ shows the darker side of his city. Kehlani sings about losing friends over the weekend and how that can leave you messed up. Vince raps about people he’s lost, to death and prison, and how that affects him. He reminisces about growing up in church and going into music and fame, and how that didn’t really help him when his friends die. He can’t protect them, and their gone by the time he has the ends to take care of them. The song also features an intro and outro with Buddy, as well as a backsell from Big Boy’s Neighborhood.

It’s a sad song,but it plays well. “Death is common but not something to ever get used to,” is the very poignant message left by the song.