NXNE Review: Vince Staples19 June 2015 / by Jonathan Rodil (author)
Vince Staples is on the verge of releasing his upcoming debut Summertime ’06, a title inspired by a specific, accelerated moment of his life which served as a coming-of-age. His show at Berkeley Church reflected this feeling of profound change.
A maze of turns led to the church stage but directions weren't necessary as the music pointed out the destination. The youthful set of people in attendance showed patience in the near absence of air circulation of the room, slightly remedied as the DJ played tracks by Future, Chedda Da Connect, E-40, and Fetty Wap.
At 11PM, as promised, Vince came rushing out to the stage performing “Fire” and laid it all out with his intense delivery, which served as the base for the night's performance. The beats were heavy and had a menacing, sinister quality to them which elicited a high-energy response from the crowd, but it was in the singular approach of attack in the vocals that underlined his authority on stage.
The set list mainly consisted of tracks best suited to keep the energy up, the material coming from the Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2 mixtape, the Hell Can Wait EP, and the upcoming album, Summertime ’06. His strong performance sustained a lively response from the crowd in the nearly unventilated, humid room. At times, Vince looked like he had to slow it down a bit between songs, sometimes even leaning on the mic stand before getting to the next. Despite this, Vince kept it going and fed off the restlessness of the crowd. It spoke to levels of being present as a youth and feeling unfazed by obstacles that deter one from moving ahead.
It's always uncertain how a crowd will respond to new material. Staples performed a number of songs from the currently unreleased album to which the crowd was open and immersed. These new tracks showed dynamic production, but it's difficult to say if this will translate to the rest of the alum considering its ambitious length of 20 tracks.
It may not have been a surprise for “Senorita” and “Blue Suede” to garner the strongest responses from the crowd, considering they are the singles for the Summertime ‘06 and Hell Can Wait, respectively. They both receive gusto from the crowd but in different aspects. “Senorita” doesn’t knock or thump as hard as “Blue Suede”, but there’s something in the immediacy of that Future hook lifted from “Covered N Money” over the creeping keys and Vince’s fluid verses that stirs up a frenzy. During these songs, hands were in the air naturally as opposed to a forced looking act, and bodies jumped together in successive rhythms.
Between songs Staples introduced himself, engaged with the crowd, checked in with them and expressed admiration for the city and on one more than one occasion promoted his upcoming album, Summertime ’06. He was not reserved at all in promoting the album; persistent in pushing fans to buy the album, to go get it on iTunes and to not steal it as this was a project that he really stood behind, proof of the quality was in the songs. Also, Vince was able to ease off the seriousness surrounding his material in several instances. One instance was in the performer-DJ banter, which resulted in a take of the Funkmaster Flex bombs similar to the time Flex dissed the Jay-Z app.
As the 30-minute set ended in a strong succession of songs, the last being “Nate”, the crowd seemed happy with its short length. It might have been the right amount for that night, considering the sweltering condition of the room and the exuberant upkeep of the audience throughout the entire set.
It has been quite a journey for Staples, who started off with an Odd Future affiliation and is now headed towards a more proven distinction as one of rap’s undeniable talents. Promotion seemed to be a low-key theme of the night, but yet rings up a true sense of awareness, as Vince’s parting words were “Shoutout to Sprite, we came from nothing.”
New track - Summertime 06
New track - Summertime 06
Lift Me Up
Jump Off The Roof
*Author note - believed to hold a 95% accuracy.