It’s November, but Vince Staples’ new album FM! “feels like summer.” The rapper’s follow-up to his 2017 LP Big Fish Theory lives up to its name and cover art, coming in like a raucous block party complete with radio DJs narrating every track. While Theory’s existential title and nautical landscape made the album seem like an underwater house party where you might end up discussing your favorite philosopher, FM! showcases more of Staples’ humor.
The comedy shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially if you’ve watched interviews with the rapper, or follow his troll-adjacent Twitter account, or saw his recent GoFundMe campaign for $2 million so he could retire early, “move to Palmdale,” and “buy a puppy” (the campaign ended up being a promotional tool for his only single leading up to FM!, “Get the F— Off My D—,” and Staples donated the money he raised to the Michelle Obama library).
On FM!, Staples brings the party with him, turning lemons into lemonade while rapping about his therapist, mink coats, and gang banging, all without breaking a sweat.
Below are some of the best lyrics from the album.
“Try finessin’ my way into Heaven, might hit that gate/Might fall from grace, splat/ On the concrete, real street runner” (“Feels Like Summer”)
Staples often displays an existential streak in his lyrics, and this one is no exception, as he tries sneaking into heaven only to bounce off its gilded entrance.
“First month still feel like summer/Cold weather won’t stop no gunner” (“Feels Like Summer”)
This line is FM! in a nutshell: a summer album released in late fall that exemplifies Staples’ west coast attitude. Summer isn’t a season, it’s a state of mind!
“House so big need Kanye lipo/Nikes Off-White like half-time Michael/Him no play, him Bateman psycho” (“Run the Bands”)
After he was hospitalized in 2016, Kanye West gained a noticeable amount of weight, and later admitted to undergoing liposuction to reverse the gain, which Staples mentions here. The Long Beach lyricist also references Michael Jackson’s drastic shift in skin color due to vitiligo, and American Psycho’s protagonist Patrick Bateman, all in the same breath.
“Type of money pop a rubber band/Miss with the glitz and the glam/Fried catfish at The Ritz in Japan” (“FUN!”)
Staples describes the finer things in life with poetic detail. It’s more than just a huge stack of money in an expensive hotel.
“Brand new shrink, had a breakthrough/Brand new mink for the great room” (“Run the Bands”)
Vince Staples is both a thinking man and rapper, best illustrated by the fact that he has a breakthrough in therapy before buying a mink coat.
“Down to burn in hell, I don’t care how my soul look/I know you gon’ tell, I can tell by your froze look” (“Tweakin”)
The rapper often confronts his own morality, and others’, and in this lyric he decides he’s okay with going to hell.
“Don’t be lookin’ funny when we come up in the store/My black is beautiful but I’ll still shoot at you, dawg (“FUN!”)
A great example of the rapper describing complicated emotional situations in comic bursts. This lyric acknowledges he’s confident in his blackness, but he still doesn’t want people looking at him weird in the store.
“I throw a party on your block, like I’m Tommy the clown/Hundred thousand dollar car, bet you proud of me now/ Took my mama out the set, house as big as my mouth” (“Don’t Get Chipped”)
Another lyric that shows the rapper’s unique stunting, adding to the block party feel of the album and referencing the dancer who invented “clowning,” all while Staples brags that he got a house for his mom so big it rivals his ability to talk s–.
“You a fan, I’m the man, it’s a difference/Stop pretending, you know you feel it” (“Don’t Get Chipped”)
Staples’ bravado is so fun that you momentarily forget that you’re the fan he’s talking about.
“Just a young black man with a backbone/In the Black Comme Homme Comme Black on/In the Batmobile, Black Malcolm” (“Tweakin”)
Staples is gifted enough to assume whatever identity suits him best. Normal Long Beach native or Batman, it’s his choice.
CORRECTION: This post has been updated with the correct lyrics to “Tweakin” and “Feels Like Summer” (helpfully provided by Staples himself)
- Vince Staples backs program to support North Long Beach Youth
- Vince Staples on viral ‘Norf Norf Rant’ video: ‘No person needs to be attacked’
- Vince Staples honors Ferguson protests at Brooklyn show