August 4, 2010

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Aaron Frank turned in this review three weeks ago. In a tribute to Curren$y’s weed habits, it is running absurdly late.

Since leaving Lil Wayne’s Young Money label in 2007, Curren$y’s work ethic and output has roughly paralleled his ex-mentor. He has released nine mixtapes and two independent albums with Amalgam, thus obliterating any notion of him as a shiftless Dorito-scarfing slacker. The two most esteemed of the pack were a collaboration with fellow kush connoisseur  Wiz Khalifa, (How Fly) and the recent Smokee Robinson mixtape with Don Cannon. But after moving to New York last year and being taken under the aegis of Dame Dash and producer Ski Beatz, the vaporizer feels like it’s finally burning on Pilot Talk, Curren$y’s Def Jam debut.

Where his Amalgam releases showcased a noticeably loose and disjointed feel, Curren$y feels even more relaxed and comfortable around Ski’s veteran production skills, which keep the album focused and suspended in the clouds. Ski knows what he’s doing and this might the first time since Camp Lo that he’s had a rapper capable of handling his orchestral champagne and bubble bath beats. There’s a cohesion to the project that previous efforts had lacked, with big budget guest appearances from Snoop Dogg and Mos Def fitting to the slow-burning groove. Curren$y comes off like a Devin the Dude for the boutique era–more interested in vibe and atmosphere than straight-up lyricism, but unafraid to take off on spacey flights as seen on “Audio Dope II” and single “King Kong.”

Curren$y’s reputation as an aficionado of superb cannabis certainly precedes him, but don’t expect an album full of strictly weed songs. “The Hangover,” a collabo with Mikey Rocks of the Cool Kids, boasts a caffeinated and liquored up party vibe. While tracks like “Prioritize” and “The Day” even breach inspirational territory — though I’m unsure if having Jay Electronica “renegade” you on your own shit was such a good idea. Jay’s opening line (“My mama told me “Son, always call a spade a spade. Be like Chuck D, never be like Flava Flav”) has appeared on my Twitter feed at least a dozen times in the past week.

Pilot Talk isn’t about to generate album-of-the-year talk, but Curren$y’s suave, smoked out flow is always enjoyable and surprisingly consistent. After two failed label situations, it’s heartening to see a talented artist like Curren$y finally find a good home and unleash an LP of all kill, no shake. I raise a blunt to you, sir.

Download:
MP3: Curren$y-“King Kong”
ZIP: Curren$y-Smokee Robinson Mixtape (Left-Click)

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