The past two weeks have included another spate of big releases: Thundercat's mini-album, Meek Mill's long-delayed Dreams Worth More Than Money and Miguel's WILDHEART. Not only did Vince Staples' Summertime '06 trump all of them, but it's also a contender for album of the year. Staples is probably spending his 22nd birthday (July 2) promoting the studio debut.

Before becoming arguably one of hip-hop's top young talents, Staples ran the risk of being simply known as an Odd Future affiliate after a great guest verse on Earl Sweatshirt's 2010 track "epaR." On Sweatshirt's "Hive," released in 2013, Staples delivered a verse packed with quotables and brooding malevolence ("I ain't tripping long as I can reach the chrome/  Heat your home like Southern California Gas"). It was the verse that made many realize they've made an egregious error in sleeping on Staples' mixtapes.

So, it was time for Staples to showcase himself as a solo artist. He stepped up to the plate with the late 2014 highlight Hell Can Wait. At that point, it was the clearest picture of Staples as an artist. Through dark humor and scathing wit, Staples delivers a lucid picture of his hometown of Long Beach, Calif., where gang culture is a common way of life and its lethal consequences combined with poverty reduces hope to a mere glimmer.

That focus was fully realized with No I.D.'s help on his Summertime '06 LP. While fans are digesting that album, Staples has been delivering the best interview run since Chris Rock's Top Five trip. His rapping persona is essentially an extension of Staples the person, who speaks on society's deficiencies with an acerbic bluntness. As ugly as those truths are, Staples rarely stops being compelling.

Watch Vince Staples' "Senorita" Video

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