- Recording information: 4220 Feng Shui Studios, Hollywood, CA; Westlake Recording Studios, West Hollywood, CA.
- Photographer: Tai Linzie.
- 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. ~ David Jeffries
Rolling Stone - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Staples flows effortlessly, suggesting a capable understudy of Kendrick Lamar or Earl Sweatshirt....It adds up to a hard-hitting 20-track portrait of life and love in a mad city."
Spin - "Staples' wickedly backward upbringing is the focus of Summertime '06, which could well be the fiercest, most ferociously focused street-oriented double rap album since UGK's Underground Kingz."
Entertainment Weekly - "Staples astutely addresses issues of race, violence, and inequality on a double album that's the year's best hip-hop debut."
Billboard - "The music sticks to this claustrophobic reality in inventive ways: lumbering BPMs, Halloween piano riffs dripping with paranoia, looped murmurs that sound like angry whale songs, lo-fi 808s filtered through fever dreams....The album paints a vivid picture."
Pitchfork (Website) - "Staples has become an increasingly powerful communicator, and on SUMMERTIME '06, his lines are sharp enough that every word digs into meat..."