The Good, The Average & The Ugly (October 28th-November 4th)

Every Tuesday, I review what I thought was good, average and ugly from the week in music. This week, we'll be taking a look at an ingenious concept album from Vince Staples, a debut LP from Takeoff, and an expectedly terrible single from NAV.



'FM!' - Vince Staples

As of recent, the SoCal rap scene has been quiet (for lack of a better word), and as far as I'm concerned, two rappers run the West Coast game.

One is Kendrick Lamar,

the other is Vince Staples.

Since the early half of this decade, Vince Staples has grabbed the industry by the balls, shaping the laws of rap to his liking. His unavoidable blend of storytelling and experimentation with production is what sets the young Long Beach prodigy above his peers, as albums like Big Fish Theory and Summertime '06 showcase in their entirety.

His newest releases is anything but an exception to this methodology.

At surface value, FM! is a deeply layered concept album. In reality, it's so much more than that. On FM!, Staples structures the album to simulate an FM radio, where each track is a new channel from the last. Vince makes this clear in the opening seconds of "Feels like Summer", as the song starts with someone tuning the radio waves in a car stereo.

Over the course of 11 tightly woven songs, Vince Staples explores styles from every nook and cranny that paints rap today.

On one channel, we have "FUN!", a bounce-heavy club bop with Bay-Area legend E-40. Flip to the next channel, and you have.

Flip forward four channels, and you have a psychadelic track with R&B starlet Kehlani.

Set your radio to the third station, and you have a "hometown homage" banger with fellow Compton MC Jay Rock.

Tune your radio two channels forward, and you have my favorite moment of the entire project; a 23-second skit that has lyrical-guru Earl Sweatshirt spitting a couple of bars over a beat that is so "anti-Earl" it actually works.

Like many other albums perched in the "good" section of my weekly review, FM! succeeds in it's sonic diversity.

This is different, however.

Instead of just having a variety of sounds and rap features on FM!, Vince Staples takes this concept and beautifully turns it into an easily relatable scenario. Think about it, how many times have you flipped through radio stations in your car, trying to find a song to your liking.

That is FM!, but this time, it's all Vince Staples.

Of all of the albums i've reviewed on Tuesday's during my time at Burbs, I think this may sit at the top, and will more than likely be included in my "Top 10 Albums of the Year" review come December.

Even if you don't enjoy Vince Staples, you have to appreciate the album cover art, which is like a chaotic, hood rat "Where's Waldo" picture (this could also be a reference to Green Day's album, Dookie).

Great cover, great album, great artist.

Vince Staples nailed it.



'The Last Rocket' - Takeoff

The Last Rocket is everything we anticipated.

Nothing more, nothing less, just Takeoff.

I love it.

On his debut solo LP, the Migos resident lyricist dishes out 12 true-to-form tracks.

If you haven't given it a listen, expect the expected.

Heavy flow, fire bars, a couple features from his trio counterparts, and lots of women, weed and money.

This review is going to be a short one, mostly because I have very little to say in the way of surprises or disappointments. Takeoff wisely took his shot, veering away from any risky style switches or unorthodox sounds. The only thing close to an "experiment" would be "None to Me", where the listener sees Takeoff deliver his verses in a raspier, more natural tone.

If I could rename this portion of the article for this week, I'd change it from "average" to "solid". This is no FM!, but it's also years better than Quavo Huncho.

Takeoff knows his strengths, because that's all The Last Rocket is; his strengths. Nothing new, nothing different, just the Takeoff we all know and love so dearly.

The Last Rocket is the musical equivalent of a free throw (this is not a bad thing).

Quavo committed the foul with a sub-par solo project, so all Takeoff had to do was hit his shot from the charity stripe.




'Know Me' - Nav

Look, I get the appeal Nav has as a pioneer (being one of the first rappers of Punjabi descent), but that's truly as far as Nav goes in the way of individuality.

Don't get me wrong, Nav has paved the way for others in his demographic, and for that, I applaud him, but contrary to what his blind fanboys may say about him on Twitter,

Nav is not very good.

"Know Me" is just another example of Nav struggling to ride the psychedelic/space trap music wave that Travis Scott has owned for the greater part of 2017 and 2018.

You'd think that after the negative reception received, Nav would at least dip his feet in another lane, but as "Know Me" suggests, it seems that the Toronto artist has no interest in taking criticism.

Seriously though, the beat for "Know Me" is so boring, the only thing that could make it worse is Nav's monotone, robot flow... Oh wait! That's on there too!

Honestly, it seems like Nav is content with what he's doing, and if his cringingly dedicated fanbase keeps supporting him, I don't think he's going to try something creative anytime soon.

So excuse me while I go and bump Reckless again.

Just kidding, that album sucked.

-Carter Ferryman-