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Vince Staples | FM!: Nine Malign Lines

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

“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.”

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