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Vince Staples | FM!: Nine Malign Lines

Vince Staples keeps it nasty, brutish and short on his surprise release.

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“Do you really wanna know about some gangsta shit?” Vince Staples inquires midway through his surprise release FM! It’s clearly a rhetorical question. Whether you like it or not, gangsta shit — specifically, hard life and easy death on the overheated streets of Long Beach, Calif. — is everpresent on Staples’ mini-concept album. Much like life itself, FM! is nasty, brutish and short: It’s fuelled by hard-bouncing West Coast grooves from Hagler and Kenny Beats. It’s loosely structured to resemble a local radio broadcast, including bumpers, contests, ads and snippets of other artists’ songs. But even with all that, the 22-minute disc is a relatively fat-free affair — there are just 11 cuts, and Staples only raps on eight. Thankfully, that’s still more than enough time for him to deliver a long list of dark tales, stark images and indelible lyrics — and deliver them with enough devilish panache and swagger to make tuning in mandatory and rewarding. Here are nine of his deadliest lines:

1 | “Summertime in the LB wild | We gon’ party ’til the sun or the guns come out.”

2 | “Cold weather won’t stop no gunner | Wrong hat, wrong day, I’d kill my brother.”

3 | “Can’t wait til I’m rich | I’m finna buy a whole crate of guns.”

4 | “Don’t run, I’m gonna chase you | Point blank, that’s how the Yanks do.”

5 | “Don’t bring knives to the gunfight | We bring knives to the day room.”

6 | “My black is beautiful | But I’ll still shoot at you, dawg.”

7 | “If you win, I’ll take it on the chin | And take it to the box, dead homies.”

8 | “Had me up in church at a young age | Should’ve had the nigga at the gun range.”

9 | “Tryna get rich, get everybody fed | But everybody dead.”