Vince Staples – Summertime ’06

I just shared the Señorita video, but realized that everyone needs a chance to listen to the whole brilliant album. So here’s a Spotify full album stream of Summertime ’06. It’s not just one of the best hip-hop albums of the year; it’s one of the best releases of any genre.

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Vince Staples impressed me last year with his brief but fiery Hell Can Wait EP, but in no way prepared me for the brilliance on display with this two-disc (but only 1 hour) debut album. Nothing really can. It’s brazen, intelligent hip-hop with a hard swing and a deep heart. It’s surprising, exciting, dangerous; it’s some of the most fun listening I’ve had all year.

I’ll let it speak for itself. Here’s the full album stream:

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Vince Staples – Señorita [killer music video]

Thanks to my music friends, I was tipped off to Vince Staples just before this album dropped. One of them stated that it was better than To Pimp A Butterfly, the funky hip-hop masterpiece from Kendrick Lamar that’s quickly become one of my favorite albums in years.

That’s a ballsy statement. I clicked play.

The video is one of the most subtly powerful images I’ve witnessed all year. It’s a visual treatise on the way that myriad subcultures and “others” are only seen by suburban white America through screens, the tangible life and death struggle rendered impotent or entertainment by the separation of glass. An indelible final shot delivers the death blow; I won’t spoil the surprise. You’ll know if you watch it.

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Infinitum

Those who know me know that I’ve got a certain itch that only Flying Lotus can scratch. But only two people know the significance this video holds for me.

In anticipation of his upcoming album Cosmogramma (out May 3, 2010 on Warp) I’ve decided to shine a light on one of my favorite artists working today, Steven Ellison aka Flying Lotus. To my ears, there isn’t a more exciting and promising career out there, with a body of work that speaks for itself and points to the future in every possible way. Listening to his 2008 masterpiece Los Angeles is to know exactly what heads mean when they say “next level shit.” He’s not only a step ahead of anyone else in the game, but appears to be having the most fun doing it.

This is to be the first in a series of posts leading up to the release of the album I’ve been jonesing for ever since my first bicycle ride with Los Angeles as the soundtrack. I felt it poetic to begin at the end of that album, with this mesmerizing lock-groove-driven number, sprinkled with achingly gorgeous vocals courtesy of Laura Darlington (Mrs. Daedelus and one half of The Long Lost, to those who care). Not only is the song a perfect set closer, but it’s accompanied by one of thoe most simply poetic and visually sumptuous videos I’ve seen in a long while. I’ll let you decide how you like it, but suffice to say it’s works like this which sustain my faith in the art form.

Keep your eyes on here for the latest updates and any tracks which may be dropped between now and May 3.