As a follow up to the 2011 release of Shyne Coldchain Vol. 1, 2014 XXL Freshman Class nominee Vince Staples has returned with the second installment of the mixtape series appropriately titled, Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2. If it wasn’t any indication by the bandana tied-noose illustrated in the cover art, the 10-track project serves up a brazen coming-of-age tale in the streets of Cali hoods, loaded with a sense of numbness that overlays dark wordplay and creative pessimism.

Embracing a cold atmosphere, Vince Staples opens up Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2 with the somber single, “Progressive”, which locks down haunting production courtesy of Evidence and DJ Babu. As Vince effortlessly rides the beat speaking on life choices, he closes out the single spitting; "You got a right to the dream whether triple beam or Martin Luthers”, acknowledging the theme of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ which acts as the thread that ties the project together. Evidence and DJ Babu team up once again for the track “Trunk Rattle”, which revels in a chime-infused loop and syrup glazed vocals that reveal Vince’s dark and mysterious storytelling. Likewise, Vince relentlessly delivers bar after bar on the Bollywood-inspired “Turn”, while he slithers with ease over the hi-hats and gospel loops of “Locked and Loaded”, both of which were produced by No I.D., who constructs a cohesive soundscape for majority of Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2.

Contrary to Shyne Coldchain Vol. 1 and the Mac Miller-produced Stolen Youth, Vince Staples opted out of featuring another rapper, but rather chose to feature the soothing vocals of James Fauntleroy, who appears on the Scoop DeVille-produced single “Nate”, as well as songbird Jhené Aiko. Having previously collaborating with Jhené on her Sail Out EP, Vince enlists his fellow Cali cohort to aid in delivering the Childish Major-produced warning tale, “Oh You Scared”. Over a piano-driven jazz instrumental, Vince raps about cash, violence and robberies, while Jhené smoothes over its brashness with her airy vocals.

Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2 doesn’t come without its share of braggadocio, ironically evident on the No I.D. cut, “Humble”. Leaving all embellishments behind, the Cuthroat Boyz member assertively spits "Homie I aint humble I deserve this shit / I’m from the side of the curb where the birds get flipped", as he speaks on a troubled come-up that lead him to being kicked out of his house, which ultimately sparked his career. While “Humble” speaks on personal trials and tribulations, as the tape comes to an end, Vince comes full circle with the lustful “Earth Science”, highlighting the highs, lows and raw emotions that comes with relationships and love.

What's most striking about Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2 is how Vince Staples manages to  be impactful in every song, despite the majority of singles bordering a two-and-a-half-minute time mark. Transforming demons into power, Vince Staples is locked and loaded with a sharp tongue and refreshing storytelling abilities. What could’ve teetered on the border of melodramatic tales and frozen deliveries transformed itself into an unbashful account of Vince Staple’s lyrical prowess and unbending energy that drives Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2 to victory.–Erin Lowers