July 5, 2011

Doc Zeus is the new face of Avion Tequila.

I like Curren$y and by extension his music, precisely because he seems like the kind of Trey Kerby-certified bro who likes arguing about sports and would enjoy watching aggressively stupid movies under the influence of stimulants. He spends time in his raps complaining about shitty officiating at basketball games and celebrating the simple joys of scoping out women in bikinis at the pool. I do these things too and I find it appealing that one of my favorite rappers is just as shallow as I am. Ultimately, It’s comforting.

The political punditry often draw connections between politicians ability to “relate” to the peons as being indicative of their electoral odds, and I suppose that’s also true of our pop stars. Musicians connect with us because they seem like either who we are or who we want to be. For example, I enjoy the misanthropic tales of J-Zone because I imagine he’d be fun to mock pedestrians with, while I like Jay-Z because he seems like the coolest motherfucker on the planet. We’re a vain and conceited species and nothing satisfies our need to feel validated than our heroes appearing to be just like us. US Weekly has minted a hefty coin on this exact premise.

I suppose if you plumb the murky depths of my subconscious, you’ll discover that I’d like to bro out with Curren$y (or at least, mooch off his weed and groupie intake) and it’s for this reason that I like broing out to his music. I like to imagine Curren$y as something of the rap Vincent Chase. He’s not an especially deep rapper. Certainly not in the way that a young William Griffin could blow your mind with a particularly deft metaphor – depth and variety of subject are not virtues that Curren$y seems to value – but his music has the same proficient, professional gloss and the effortless aspirational charm as any early season episode of Entourage (you know before Turtle started dating Meadow Soprano and the show didn’t become a show about the inner-workings of Ari’s firm and family life. I’m looking straight at you Sklar Brothers.)

Weed, women and the occasional dalliance into minor dope dealing seem to be the only thing this guy seems to rap about. Yet his music is always and light and airy with the skunky scent of weeded out hedonism floating about. Curren$y raps as if he knows he’s the coolest dude in the room and doesn’t feel the need to impress you. He doesn’t so much brag about the cars he drives and the women he sleeps with as matter-of-factly let you know that he does indeed have the coolest life ever. It’s stoner aspiration rap.

He’s also become a model of consistency. Over the last year, Curren$y has carefully honed his craft over a series of dependably solid albums and mixtapes from the Ski Beatz-produced Pilot Talk series to the Alchemist-assisted Covert Coup. His latest release, the “commercial mixtape,” Weekend At Burnie’s continues this streak. “There is shit-talking over some of the most immaculately produced beats (“Weekend”), typical day in the life raps (“You See It)” about hanging pool and court side. There are posse cuts (on “Still” he swaps his weed-clotted verses with Jet Life cronies, Trademark and Young Roddy).

What separates Weekend At Burnie’s from its predecessors is that this time around, Curren$y’s sound is far more radio-friendly than the psychedelic soul of Pilot Talk 1 & 2 or the claustrophobic, retro boom-bap of Covert Coup. It still has the breezy easiness of his earlier releases but it replaces the horn stabs and funk riffs of a Ski Beatz production with the swirling ambient synths that Kanye and Drake rule radio with today. The lead single, “She Don’t Want A Man,” is the best example of this. Easily the album’s best song, we find Curren$y in rare storytelling mode as he kicks a tale of relationship problems an unfaithful wife he is having sex with is having with her husband. It’s a moment of humanity for Curren$y as he turns his gaze away from the mindless sex he enjoys towards the women he normally objectifies. The song employs a swirling orchestral synth reminiscent of the Fugees’ “Ready Or Not” that add impact and pathos. It’s stunning.

While Wiz Khalifa and his fellow insipid stoner brethren have been skullfucked into the cultural consciousness as of late, it’s unlikely that Weekend At Burnie’s is going to turn Curren$y into a mainstream star. Yet his diversity and willingness to adapt to different musical styles without compromising the central uniqueness of what makes him so intriguing bodes well for his continued run. The true greats that I ‘ve admired over the years had that ability within themselves to adapt to the growing changes within the genre. Its why they stayed superb for so long. As long as Curren$y stays true, he should have no problem sustaining what he’s already sparked.

Download: (via Nah Right)
MP3: Curren$y – “She Don’t Want a Man” (Left-Click)

Curren$y – “This Is The Life” by CurrenSy