Vince Staples Releases Surprise Project FM!

By Jesus De La Rosa

On November 1st, Vince Staples released his project FM!, a surprise drop announced the week of its release date. The project clocks in at a short 22 minutes, short by most standard releases but normal enough for Vince, whose longest album is an hour long and the rest of his work lands between about 20-30 minutes.

Coming on the heels of his 2017 album Big Fish Theory, FM! is styled as a mock radio show, filled with talk show introductions and radio static. FM! slightly departs sonically from its predecessor, dropping the staticy, electronic production for a more traditional trap/hip hop approach. No matter the production, Vince hits hard with his masterful lyricism and butterlike flow, proving that he is worth the hype.

Vince-Staples
pitchfork.com

In classic Vince Staples style, the songs off of FM! are meant to get you excited and hyped, with almost party like vibes. If you’re not paying attention, you might think the songs are just as one dimensional as that. Things change once you catch the lyrics. Like prior albums, the dark reflection of his life and his city are masked by the vibrant sound of the music like on the anthems “Feels Like Summer” and “FUN!”. Another stand out track is the emotional “Tweakin’”, where he touches on the loss of a friend and the trauma behind it.

Another highlight of the album are the tiny snippets included by Tyga and Earl Sweatshirt. The latter, simply titled “New earlsweatshirt”, being an exciting tease for his upcoming album.

With it’s short run time, many have wondered what to classify it as.  Will it go the Kanye route and just be labeled as an album. Is it a mixtape? An EP? He has made it a pattern to release EP’s in between studio albums, like 2014’s Hell Can Wait and 2016’s Prima Donna.

Vince seemed to not think of it as an album, but even he has doubts. “ I was about to tell ya’ll FM! Not an album but I don’t even know what an album is anymore…” he tweeted out.

Whatever you label it, FM! is a solid entry into Vince’s catalog, and it’s a strong interlude for whatever comes next.