February 4, 2013

Has anyone ever been as prolific and consistent as Curren$y. He’s approaching iron-lunged Cal Ripken Jr. status. If you count his work with Wayne, he’s been releasing projects on the quarter system for approximately seven years. His discography is as long as The Temptations. I mean, dude was in the second iteration of the 504 Boyz. Of course, there’s a factory-made element to it all. Aside from the occasional “She Don’t Want a Man,” his songs are generally one-dimensional odes to women, weed, and whips. The 3 W’s. Just the essentials. What’s striking though is how good they are and how much sly wisdom is stuffed in. Even if each of these mixtapes only have a handful of great songs, he’s amassed more than almost any rapper of his generation.

By now, I should be entirely tired of hearing puns about Jets and  jars of drugs. I am not. The question is why? There are a variety of answers, but the main one, is that Curren$y has tailored his music to the drugs and the drugs have tailored his musical approach. It’s almost on some rap Grateful Dead shit, where I couldn’t imagine a non-smoker giving a fuck about any of this. But that’s dismissing great songs like “Choosin,” (already broke down by Deen), the Jada-assisted “Clear,” and the token Juicy J cut. All of which appear on his latest, New Jet City — alongside guest spots from Wiz, Styles P, Juvenile, Rozay, and the ever-improving Young Roddy. Producers include Toomp, Lex Luger, Cardo, Harry Fraud, and uh, Statik Selektah (who surprisingly gets with the Jets itinerary).

I don’t blame people who roll their eyes at another Curren$y mixtape. But whereas the Dead’s fans followed them around the country, Curren$y follows his fans. This is the de facto soundtrack music to any blunt cruise or spliff cypher. It’s easy listening without being soft, mellow without being mushy. It projects an air of effortless cool that makes any ride feel regal. It is feel-good music, minus the inspirational platitudes. Laid-back smooth shit over soul samples. The aesthetic is both clear and smoke-clouded. As he says, on “Three 60,” “consistent with this shit/I get a little bit more meticulous.” You bump this and are reminded of the important things in life: focus on your work and only the closest relationships. The rest is worthless. Has a weedhead ever been this focused?

I joke about Juicy J being my spirit animal, but he’s like a Hunter S. Thompson figure that will leave you wrecked in his wake.  Curren$y is really the ideal. He ditched the big-name patron to do it all himself. He signed a major deal but still grinds independently. He records and tours ceaselessly, but takes time to smoke the roses. He enjoys life, but not so much that he doesn’t make the most it. Spitta was wise enough to understand that you don’t need to play by anyone else’s rules, if you build your own city.

MP3: Curren$y ft. Wiz Khalifa & Ricky Ross – “Choosin'”
ZIP: Curren$y – New Jet City

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