“All of Those Scratches Tell the Tale:” An Interview with Curren$y

TE P. speaks to Curren$y about how the veteran made his tireless work ethic look so effortlessly fluid.
By    March 19, 2021

Photo courtesy of Rayno Malone

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Cool is not subjective. It just is. Cool has been here since the beginning of time. It showed itself in the choice of animal early man used to cover themselves. It thrived when ancient Egyptians began putting gold on everything. It blossomed with Savile Row tailors creating bespoke menswear. It made an unforgettable stop with Miles Davis who rebirthed it in a way that words wouldn’t be able to capture. Along these stops, folks have added to it, mixed it, and even subtracted from it to make it what it was. With each step it creates a longer yet short lineage of humans who just have it. Curren$y is one of the final stops on that path to effortless individuality.

It would be fitting to start this with the prototypical, born in such and such. Given name, age, and superlatives but fitting is not cool. For the latter part of a decade, the New Orleans-raised Curren$y has continued to raise the bar for what rap is and what, quote un quote, rappers do. Though it has always been one of the most fluid and free flowing genres of music, it has also had moments of mass conformity–for better or for worse. Like when large movements such as Wu-Tang and Atlanta’s “Snap” sway the sound, image, and feel of the collective so much so that being outside of the shift can leave an artist just that: on the outside looking in.

His predecessors, artists like Devin the Dude, and of course, Snoop Dogg, found ways to enrapture fans in these various periods, while still putting on for all of rap’s stoners. The groundwork laid by both would gracefully pave a pathway for Spitta Andretti. Qualifiers are easy to make, especially in more recent times where history gets rewritten, and the past no longer serves as a measuring stick for what good music is and isn’t. But Curren$y defies qualifiers.

For instance: name another artist who was on No Limit and Cash Money at the height of their respective popularity. Curren$y was not only there but so deeply entrenched that he could go on The 85 South Show podcast and tell a hilarious story about C-Murder knocking on his parent’s front door in the early hours of the morning to grab him for a Jordan release. He was with Lil Wayne when Tha Carter II dropped, watching him single-handedly change the landscape but being so close to it that he didn’t know history was being made. He was so deeply rooted in NOLA’s essence that he can call the late Soulja Slim a friend.

Here’s another one: name another artist who over at least the last decade has taken each and every aspect of their life, continued to grow with their audience, and turned simply inhaling and exhaling into a business.

It should have come at no surprise that all of the game and firsthand experiences Curren$y picked up at No Limit and Cash Money would make him uniquely qualified to start his own movements. But for listeners and audiences—just as Curren$y puts it—sometimes when you’re just living, you don’t know history is being made. Even though How Fly, the game changing collaboration project with Wiz Khalifa, was a major moment that attached listeners to Spitta and his unique approach to all things, he’d already been dropping projects consistently since 2004’s Sports Center, Vol.1. From that initial release on No Limit, he began giving music away like water from a faucet. Between 2004 and that summer of 2009, Curren$y dropped at least 15 bodies of work including: Welcome Back, Independence Day, Fear and Loathing in New Orleans, and Jet Files. This is pre DSP’s, very early social media. Keeping product on the shelves and streets was his way of staying in the conversation while running his own race, in his own lane. And it’s something that would become his signature.

Curren$y makes buoyant music. As hazy as it is, it also exudes fluidity with Curren$y’s signature fading effects. His timing controls the beat with the proficiency of Charlie Parker. His scatting in the beginning of tracks to lay the idea, and its reinforcement of sometimes audible–sometimes not–words, fills space in the way a jazz solo provides depth and imagination to the arrangement. A long time ago, he recalls an engineer telling him in the studio that his skill and artistry made him an instrument. But again, cool just happens.

In an effortless manner, Curren$y also took this limitless approach to music and showcased it in his everyday life. Where he and Wiz combined all of the cool aspects of being a smoker, Curren$y added to that formula his innate ability to recognize and display style. If it wasn’t his various colorways of sneakers, then it was his continuous support and knowledge of established and newcomer streetwear brands. Somehow, he brings all of this together with a natural business acumen and you have an artist-built lifestyle brand that encapsulates both inspiration and aspiration in a way that includes all who enter, and welcomes them to take the ride.

Jet Life feels like that really cool, exclusive part of the airport but you don’t need 10 million flyer miles to walk in. It only requires that you remain 100 percent yourself. So, as Curren$y continued to drop new artists, new ideas, and of course new projects like the Pilot Talk trilogy, the wild 4 month Andretti run in 2016, and more recently Fetti, those new and tenured Jet Life members unquestionably supported it.

For some, his latest Collection Agency may be just another example of Curren$y being Curren$y, but that’s been the point all along. In haste “Kush Through the Sunroof” goes from tranquil piano keys to trunk rattling bass as Spitta serenades of armored cars, work ethic, and returning to his old energy. “Closing Date” is a funk-soaked bouncer in which Spitta puts one in the air to his accomplishments and milestones. The clapping from the snare invites listeners to unconsciously nod their heads to this literal hustler’s music. “Jermaine Dupri” sits directly in the middle of the album. Curren$y isolated two and half minutes to pay homage to the imagery and aspiration the So So Def mogul gave him just by showing his Bentley Continental T on MTV Cribs.

As Collection Agency comes to a close, the horns in “Misty” see Spitta on his way as he drops the top on his car, turns his music up, lights a paper plane, and rides off into the sunset. Though much of our conversation was rooted in himself, music, and the journey he’s been on; we took a small detour to talk about the youngns–who he admits he’s talking to in “Misty”. His stance was solid and absolute. It held folks and their use of the spotlight they’ve been given accountable–including himself. He spoke to the power of influence. It can give one control over others whether they want it or not. But it can also be used to help and guide. And that’s what Curren$y has been doing above all else. He has been teaching, he has been sharing, and he has been leading in a way that inspired multiple generations of rappers to be whoever they wanted to be. He rode his race and never worried about where he finished as long he did it for the fans. That there is how it should be done. That there is the definition of cool. – TE P.

I saw you got a chance to kick it at The 85 South Show. It was dope to see you with them and the chemistry was obvious.

Curren$y: That’s what I remember from it. It wasn’t forced. Sometimes you go into a situation like that, with different personalities, you don’t really know how it’s gonna go. They seem to have their shit established to the point that nobody’s trying to be a star. There’s room for everybody to say something or bring something up. If you have a personality and you can think as quick as them then you have a great time. They gave me an award for being the best guest of the year. It was a testament to say how cool they were.

How important do you think it is for a space like that that continues to carve out their own lane while having the type of guests that they do? It’s like having three Arsenios in one.

Curren$y: It’s for sure important. They aren’t out of touch. A lot of these shows and the shit you go to do have people being fed the information on you as you’re walking in. You know what i’m saying. So, they don’t know. Organically, they know what’s going on. I can only speak from the aspect of their musical guests. But they know the people they’re bringing on. They know the projects that are out. They actually like some of the music. It makes you feel good to be there. It’s not just about views and likes at that point. You actually kickin’ it with a group of likeminded muthafukas. It ain’t a waste of time at all. Now, I’m wondering where do they go…

New Orleans is warm. When you go there you can feel the years and the lineage before you there. Do you know how your family ended up in New Orleans?

Curren$y: Well you know how WE ended up here. [laughs] My family is through and through from here. My family is rooted in the streets but my dad had a singing group. They actually had a Top 40 hit record. The members of the group all had obligations and things they had to do but I handled it for him.

That’s something I found in a lot of cats and other folks who’ve grown to where they’re at in the music industry. A lot of people have a family member that did something in the business before. It might not have been at the level they’ve done it but there seems to be that connection to somebody that was musically inclined in the family.

Curren$y: Yeah. Yeah. I can believe that because you had to pick it up from somewhere. Even if they didn’t play or perform music. I was lucky enough to where my dad was a singer. I got another homie that was into music since like babies with me. But his parents played a lot of music. They was always playing records. There was always music banging out of their house. It was damn near like he lived with Otis Redding and Patti Labelle as far as his parents were concerned. My mom had card games every Saturday. So that was another music situation every weekend. And I’m hearing music from all the moms in the neighborhood. All the moms in New Orleans that would hang with my mom. They were smoking cigarettes and requesting records and bringing tapes over there and shit. I hear everything.

You’ve always spoken so highly of your mom in interviews and what her influence has done to shape you. Can you speak to that?

Curren$y: She’s always believed in me. Anytime it was put to the test, or her belief was put to the test, she wouldn’t think twice. My mom was the person when I thought maybe I should get a gig because I was between gigs and shit. I wasn’t with Cash Money anymore. She was like, “No! You can’t get a job job. Because if people see you in the deli, they’re going to think you fell off. And they’re not going to want to hear your shit.” She carried me for a minute. She said, “I know you’re going to be straight. So, don’t trip off of nothing.” My mom floated me for a second like a real gangsta. That shit meant a lot. My mom is very gang. My momma was already looking at me being who I am right now. She knew it was just temporary. She was the one making sure I wasn’t tripping.

Another dope part of you being you is you pop up in places that other people probably wouldn’t. But it’s always some cool shit. I saw you pop up when I was watching a First We Feast with Ms. Info. Y’all were talking about Vietnamese Po Boys. Food is such a large part of the culture. How has the food of New Orleans shaped you?

Curren$y: It’s given me a confidence when I travel. When I see things on the menu I try stuff because my whole life I had combo and shit like that. Everything is in gumbo. I had a lot of stuff early on and was able to make decisions on what I didn’t like.

Going back to that 85 South Show episode that I felt was special was you talking about always feeling unique and knowing you were from a unique place. Can you speak to knowing from the get go that you’re special and being from where you’re from is special?

Curren$y: Shit yeah! Because in any instance, when I was knucklehead getting into trouble, I never got into the ultimate consequence trouble. I always knew the universe was working with me. Because of that I knew it wasn’t for nothing. I got friends that didn’t make it. I was right around em and I was seconds away from shit a lot of times. For me to still be around lets me know it was not for nothing.

There is a level of conviction in believing that you were supposed to be doing something else or something bigger.

Curren$y: Where I’m from, and the streets being the same anywhere, it can happen to anybody. I lost Soulja Slim and that’s somebody who I thought was indestructible. For me to be around still really lets me know I have something to do. I always felt like that.

In speaking to life’s influences–especially in these interviews–and there are some people who don’t pop up. Who was somebody that you don’t get to mention much but you could look to right now and say they had a huge impact on you?

Curren$y: Honestly, I would say Jim Jones but I just hung out with him 48 hours ago. I don’t see him often but maybe the first rap check I got, when “Where The Cash At?” was my single, it was Jim Jones who linked that up for me. Him and Wayne were on you together. I had just started making my moves and he took a liking to my grind. He never stopped reaching out and looking out for me. As I got bigger it made more sense for us to collaborate more and more. Had I not seen him a few days ago, that’s what I would say. He put a lot of moves in motion for me. He made sure I had a goddamn Xbox. I didn’t have one and he same day aired one to my house. So, there you go!

Jim Jones has always been one of those dudes that I feel like doesn’t get the credit he deserves but the work is there.

Curren$y: Yeah. But because he’s still standing people are starting to see that now. I think the same thing is happening to me. People are like, “Spitta’s been doing this shit for so long I guess I can act like I hear him.” It’s cool.

You’ve touched on the idea of being inside of moments that are shaping the culture or the world and not feeling it because you’re living it. Can you speak to that side of the game?

Curren$y: Just recently I’ve been seeing something on Instagram where my homie Joe Scudda posted an outfits grid. It was some Tiffany’s SB Dunks, maybe a Diamond Supply sweatshirt, and a Louis Vuitton pouch. He posted the outfit and asked, “What music were you listening to when you wore this?” The whole damn world was saying me and Wiz and shit. That’s for sure one thing I know that we did. But you don’t know because you’re on stage just doing shit. You’re not tripping off the fact that everybody in the crowd is probably dressed like you. But it’s because that was the influence you got. When you’re doing it, you not watching. I’d rather just play the game and look up at the scoreboard when it’s done.

As we talk about making history, you’ve been around a lot of history. You mentioned Soulja Slim earlier. You were one of the dudes, maybe the only dude, that was with Cash Money and No Limit and had both bridges. What do you think it was about those two camps that made them such massive successes?

Curren$y: We had no other real representation to the world. We were showing people what we were doing here. And they both represented physically, visibly, and sonically exactly what was happening here at the time. It’s like when NWA came out. You was like, “Ooohhhhh.” You had Low riders, Dickies, it was boom boom boom. The whole fucking thing was right there. And when you peeled the layers back, did the research, traveled, or you called who you needed to call, you found out that was real. That was actually streets they talking about. That is how actual, active gang members from that area talk. The same way they rap. The shit was real. That was the same thing here. The muthafukas I knew who was putting work out there in the street–they represented it, looked like it, moved like it. And some of em was actually active too.

That makes me think of being in second grade and being part of No Limit clique where everybody had a name of one of the members. I remember how big that shit was. Even up here.

Curren$y: Who were you? Which person were you in the clique? Everybody was named after a No Limit artist? [laughs]

I was Silkk the Shocker.

Curren$y: I knew that. I swear I knew that.

Wait. How did you know that?

Curren$y: Because that’s my homie to this day. He’s relatable. So I figured that’s who you were.

That was a dope time. Shoutout to that time. You brought me to the outfit board which is around the time of you and Wiz. I don’t need to tell you about how special that time was but it’s up there for a lot of people. But again, while you’re making history you’re just living. For you what’s something that immediately comes to mind about that period?

Curren$y: Shit. Flight Club. Going to Flight Club and paying retail prices for Jordan’s and not tripping about it because we had money. True Blue’s were retailing for 100 bucks but you don’t catch em. So you have to go to Flight Club and they’re like $300 dollars. You just deal with it because we was like, “We doing good.” We used to buy that shit. We used to perform in that shit that night. Buy all them old as shits out of there that were really told old to even wear. We’d go on stage in that shit. It was cool.

Why do you think so many people were drawn in to what you and Wiz were doing? For me, it felt like two homeboys kicking it who just so happened to be really fuckin’ talented.

Curren$y: It was that. That’s what made it relatable. But people were also watching to see if we’d be successful because we were being too true to ourselves. It was like, “Damn. These dudes not really playing the gimmick thing. So I wonder if this will work.” Then, our success, for everyone that was listening to us and fucking with it, they shared it with us. I still feel like that. People tell me that too. Anytime I buy something or post a car or something everybody’s genuinely happy like that bitch is parked in they garage. It’s because they know they’ve been riding with me before I couldn’t do that shit.

I think the same could be said about you beginning to build what we now know as Jet Life. We got introduced to Roddy. We got introduced to Trademark the Skydiver. And it felt like, “OK. This is just another period where he gets to put even more of his homies on.” Can you speak to building things like that that include people you love?

Curren$y: That’s actually the whole goal. It’s not even just music. That’s why we have Jet Life Athletics too. Your whole goal, coming out of any situation when you rise up, you want to do things for your comrades and the people who struggle with you. It’s kind of your job to at least create a lane or show them a lane to pick some money up.

But it still has to be in them to hustle. I’m not into just giving people shit. But I will give them an opportunity to where you can pay yourself and get you some paper if you really ‘bout it. That’s always what I’ve done. If you my homie and you can rap, then here is Jet Life. If you my homie and you are a weight lifter, then help these kids train at Jet Life Athletics. If you can graphic design then go to Jet Life Apparel and make some fuckin’ socks.

This is also during those Creative Control days. I know cats who are graphic designers and they take so much inspiration from that time. Many of their visuals come from that energy.

Curren$y: People say that all of the time. It was the right time. All the right people were in place. Everybody was trying to make that work. We were all fond of one another. We wanted to make that work so we didn’t want to split up. It was like a summer camp for athletes. Some people have to brand off and go pro. Some people have to become a sports medicine person. Someone’s got to become an analyst. Everybody’s not going to be the one to get on the court. But everybody’s going to still do something on that level.

You’ve been living this sweatpants life since 2008, in our words. You said in doing that, you knew as you continued to climb the ladder you wouldn’t have to worry about all of the extra shit. Can you speak that being that self-aware?

Curren$y: It’s as long as you do your thing. It’s like smoking weed in front of my parents, bro. I never tried no shit like that as a man. I would never. I was always careful about what I said around them. It wasn’t about me being afraid of them. It was totally a respect thing and knowing that I was just their child.

But as I started getting my weight up, and helping them, and taking care of shit, and putting things in they world, I started letting curses slide out. And I started smoking weed on my mom’s porch. Because at the end of the day, I’m busting my ass for y’all and I’m making shit happen. Nobody’s tripping. It was like, “Oh. Now I get it.” Like when my uncles used to curse and shit at christmas when I was a little boy. It was cool and nobody was checking them. But that’s where I’m at now.

You were one of the cats that was on social media early. If you were there, you know the people who went there and kicked it with us. What were those early days like for you being part of that ecosystem and being early on those apps?

Curren$y: I wanted to talk to my friends too. I knew that’s where the cool kids were. If I could talk to Chuck Inglish and shit whenever I wanted to. At that point, we were all trying to find our way in the game. We would tell jokes and shit. It was like cracking jokes in the cafeteria at school.

How do you view the apps now?

Curren$y: It’s a tool now. Because of that, it’s watery. That’s life, bruh. There ain’t nothing you can do about that. Once something is cool you have posers come in.

In growing with all of these things, you’ve made a model for living and monetizing that. Did you do that on purpose?

Curren$y: Na. I didn’t do that on purpose. But that’s me knowing that the universe does that. That’s me knowing that I’m doing the shit I’m supposed to be doing. Sometimes it’s not even me. I’m like, bang bang bang. Let’s move this. Do that. And then the next day you realize how much sense it made. I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I just wake up, thank God for waking me up, and see what he got for me.

With the model you built, it’s truly just your lifestyle. But it also builds these bridges and connects you to people like G Perico with the cars. What do bonds like that mean to you?

Curren$y: It’s not even just with the cars. With a hobby or something people can be passionate about, if you are placed in a realm where you can communicate with the people who share the same passion as you, it’s going to explode. And in the car culture, it’s the same thing with athletes, once you get into certain brackets, and you have extra money to play with, it’s nothing to fuck off some money and grab a car to add to the collection.

Streetwear culture serves as another piece that put you ahead of so many others. Even you mentioning that outfit grid and people being able to pinpoint what they were listening to compared to that is proof. What has that journey through style been like for you?

Curren$y: I’m gonna just say, I always thought it was a fun thing to put outfits together and shit. It was like playing videos with me. But I just got disgusted with it after a while because in the game, everything that I was bringing in, people that were higher up would appropriate the culture that I was cooking up and would bring it to the mainstream. So, I stopped giving a fuck because they were biting me too much. I wasn’t talking about that shit or showing it. But I’m back into it now. I realized I was letting people fuck up my fun. So I’m back to fucking it up.

In doing that now, you’re for sure in a jersey mode. What’s one of your favorite sports moments?

Curren$y: Anytime I was able to watch the Houston Oilers and Earnest Givins would be doing the electric slide in the endzone.

You’re also a pop. Have to say congratulations on that. In being a pop, I feel like I became more creative when I had my son. Can you speak to fatherhood and how that reshaped you?

Curren$y: Well, it just turned up my grind a little bit more. I definitely have to do shit for him. I was already a big kid anyway. We perfect for each other.

There’s a bunch of shit that happens when you’re a pop that nobody tells you about. It just is and you have to figure it out. What was one of the weirdest things that happened when you became a pop?

Curren$y: They always tell you that kids are sponges. He’s definitely paying attention to everything I do. I just have to watch how I do shit. That’s a real thing I have to be mindful of. You hear people say that but it’s different when you realize everything that you say he’s probably going to say. Just because he fucks with you so much he doesn’t think anything you’re doing is wrong. So everything you do he’s gonna do.

We spoke earlier about looking up and seeing the work you’ve put it. I want to preface by giving you flowers personally. Hip-Hop is one of those games where it treats longevity a kind of way. Sometimes people look at cats being in the game a long time and use it against them. I never understood that shit. How have you been able to do this for as long as you have?

Curren$y: Basically just taking care of the people who listen to me. I’m not trying to drag this net in the water and grab all of these extra fish too. I’m just fucking with the people that fuck with me. I’m only making the music they want to listen to. I’m not trying to do the stuff all the other people do to share their fans. It’s just about Jet Life and the people who support it.

They’re the only people. They know I got em. I’m always going to put the shit out that they want. A large number of my listeners don’t listen to many other people because they’ll wait until I come out. They not tripping. They show love. I’m on my third Rolls Royce so they’re holding it down.

Your projects are always cinematic. They have those moments that you can tell come from movies or are movie-esque. What movie has inspired your music or career the most?

Curren$y: Probably The Godfather 2 when Michael steps in to be the boss. They’re trying to calm him down because he’s put out like 19 hits and he’s getting everybody wiped out who had wronged his father. They was like, “You don’t have to kill everybody.” And he said, “I’m not trying to kill everybody–just my enemies.” And I felt him. When Michael got into power had a list of shit he needed to do. I feel like that’s how I came in the game. I always managed and maintained the mindset that there’s always enough room for people to make money, and I’m not trying to shut it down or close it down.

I want people to eat. But any motherfucker that crossed me before I got halfway into my position I have no sympathy for them. I never did anything to anybody. I never crossed anybody in the game. So, if you have a problem with me–fuck it! We can wipe you out. The first three seasons of Miami Vice visually. I always write to Miami Vice on mute. I put that on when I’m in the studio. The beats always fit the car chases, the cut away to the dealers packing up briefcases with money and kilos, getting in speedboats and shit. That always fits. I can’t give too much of the game away, bruh. You asking the questions that might get muthafukas to copy my project style. [laughs]

You just mentioned having that list of goals and that plan that needs to be carried out. When you do that, as Nip said, “Checking shit off my bucket list and it’s getting thin.” Can you speak to that?

Curren$y: Yeah. Once you get to those new circles or different levels you’re with muthafukas who already did that. You see what they’re doing now and you have to do that too. You see that you can do it too. The more steps you get to a certain level the more you see there is. The higher you go up in a building, the more of the city you can see.

That’s one of the most inspirational parts about you and why I think people attach themselves to you for so long. You give folks the ability to rock with someone they don’t know but act as if those aspirational goals are theirs. So when you check them off, it’s like, “Damn. My nigga did it.” I remember when you bought that Ferrari. I said, “Damn. This nigga really went and bought a Ferrari.”

Curren$y: [Laughs] That’s how the fuck I felt. But that’s why I did it. To show muthafukas. I was like, ”Let me put two and two together and go to the lot next week.”

Right now is special with the attention this project is getting. Not saying that the others didn’t get any but even you’ve been surprised by this one. I heard you may not have seen this one being as attention grabbing as it is. What’s a good surprise like that feel like?

Curren$y: I think it’s because I hadn’t put out anything in January. People didn’t know what was going on. After I left the mainstream some people just thought I fell off. I saw a lot of people saying, “Oh. I hadn’t listened to you in a few years. I didn’t know you were doing this kind of shit,” and I’m glad. I think it was the timing. I pushed it back a couple of weeks in February and shit. I wanted to give it the proper time for looks and all. I think that was what worked.

In terms of your catalogue, I think “Airborne Aquarium” is your best intro. But when I listened to this project, I felt like “Kush Through the Sunroof” was competing with it. It started the project in a way that felt like a ride.

Curren$y: I was hoping it did. When we made the track listing, I opened the email, and placed them in the order of which my engineer sent them to me. He sent them in an ingenious order I guess. I knew “Kush Through the Sunroof” was going to be the intro regardless. But the rest of the songs that followed up fell into place in the email. I didn’t even fight it.

What made you automatically know this was going to eb the intro?

Curren$y: The last few bars. Just the way I ended it. The shit about leaving it however a muthafuka said it was. You know? If a muthafuka saying they got a problem with you then try to fix it later on and buddy up with you, you can squash the problem. But don’t hustle with them. That original sin is still there. That original feeling is there that they had from the beginning. So, you can’t be surprised if they jerk you or do something fucked up. Me saying, “If it’s up there, leave it up there.” There means: if you hear anything else in this next 10 cuts that you feel I’m talking about you or something, then I guess I am because I’m not concerned.

Your music has always stood out by how jazzy it is. And by jazzy I mean the fluidity. It is able to go wherever you decide to take it. That is jazz to me. It’s not just those simplistic things people try to point out. Your ad libs have always been fluid. It feels like scatting.

Curren$y: It is! That’s the song within the song. When I get to go in and do my adlibs it’s fun because parts that mean a lot to me I might not adlib by saying audible words. It could just be a sound. That is jazz. And with the beats I pick, I like them to have enough space for me to do what I want. Some beats kind of drive the song and you have to pattern the lyrics a certain way, or it kind of beats you up. But those spacy jazzy beats I can do whatever I want.

That shit is without a doubt is yours. There’s no way you can hear someone else doing that and not saying, “They bit that from Spitta.” But oddly enough, we’re hearing artists include those thoughts in these records. When did you notice it?

Curren$y: Yeah I know. I don’t trip. I heard it when I started listening to shit. It was as soon as the guard shifted and I was kind of an OG. I was like, “What’s everybody else doing?” Then I started listening to shit and I was like, “Oh. That’s pages out of my book.” But I can’t trip because I’ve been in the game and that’s how it goes. I don’t expect anybody to stop in the middle of all of the acclaim they’re receiving to say, “Wait. I have to give it up yo Spitta.” I don’t expect that. It’s all good.

That’s one of the dopest parts about you and what you do. Your ability to use that space to become an instrument is what Jazz is.

Curren$y: Fa sho! That’s what an engineer told me a long time ago. I can’t remember who it was. But he was like, “Man, it’s crazy recording you because you are an artist. You turn yourself into a horn or drums on a beat.” I didn’t really understand what he meant but now I get it.

Speaking of everyone stopping and giving you your flowers because you without a doubt deserve them. The Jermaine Dupri moment that I saw happening in real time on Twitter was some cool shit. Watching that back and forth was something special that happens in our culture. You had the ability to grow and touch the person who inspired you to be whoever you became.

Curren$y: Yeah. It blew me away because when I saw that as a I could I never thought I would ever be here. It’s not what you think it would pan out to be. When I said what I said I was speaking from my heart and talking about some shit that made me want to do something. But you know I’m not one of those mainstream artists. So, I didn’t expect those bars to fall upon his ears. You know what I’m saying? It fucked me up. And for him to take it the way he took it, to be so honored by the shit. And people were trying to say, “Oh. You don’t know Spitta.”

But he defended his knowledge of the music that I make, that meant a lot for the people in my bracket. It was for underground artists by choice. There are people who can very well play the mainstream game but we don’t want to. With that, we end up in the field where you might be the most known unknown. People may always think you’re a newcomer anytime they hear something amazing from you. But it’s because you choose not to play the game. So, for such a luminary, such a legend, to feel touched by something I said, it meant a lot because I was touched by some shit he did. I’m shooting a video for that muthafuka tomorrow actually.

That solidifies this whole thing with taking that energy and sharing it together. Can you speak to how you might bring something like that to life?

Curren$y: I’m going to be able to show what it meant. I’m not just saying this because we’re doing it tomorrow. But if you know me, you have a pretty good idea of what I’m gonna do. You know there will be a car involved. We’re gonna leave it at that.

“Closing Date” is another slider on the project. The visual makes it cool as shit but there’s a bar in the song that says, “I got love for the rap game. Appreciate the shit it’s done for me–at the same time I’m scarred.” With many good things come responsibility and sometimes the negative. I’m not going to harp on what we’ve seen the past few years but there have been some dark spots. I felt like that was you speaking to those things you’ve felt along this journey. Is that safe to assume?

Curren$y: Exactly. Mo’ Money, Mo Problems. No Money, Most Problems. And that is the game. With that said, you struggle with people who you intend to ball with and it doesn’t work that way. Money won’t take care of that. Money don’t put friends back in your circle. Money reveals people’s intentions and that can be hurtful at times. But you wouldn’t trade it for the world. So, it’s like when you learned to kickflip and you busted your shins. They looked like shit. But you also knew how to do the move. All of those scratches tell the tale but they don’t hurt no more. You’ve been through some shit but that’s that.

When you’re doing this — or creating — and you try to bring people in, them letting you down–or expecting something from you — can be taxing, for sure.

Curren$y: Yup. Then you understand why people give up on the shit because it’s kind of not worth losing friendships and family. But at the end of the day it is worth it because you end up in the position where you can provide for everyone who did ride with you through all of the changes. The stress can affect you. It’s not everybody else’s fault all the time. You might just be trippin’ because you’re tired and hungry from working so much. You know? It’s a trade off. Everybody has to be understanding of everyone’s position.

You have to think about your homies and your family that’s not in the industry and don’t understand the hours. Some people don’t even feel like it’s a real job. So you have to understand where they coming from, where they work, and how shit goes to empathize with them for trippin’. But then you gotta defend yaself and ride for yaself too for the work you put it. You can’t let people take advantage of you and negate the hard work you put in and just reap the benefits to just be around. Eating for free. Living for free. Not even understanding the stress you go through so that that can happen.

“Shout Out” kind of sits on that sentiment about Jermaine Dupri because I don’t know necessarily if we get Larry June as he is without you. He’s part of a lineage, you know?

Curren$y: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That’s my brother and I don’t think he would deny that. I saw somebody say that about Devin the Dude. They was like, “With no Devin the Dude, there would be no Spitta.” I looked at it, thought about it, and felt it was kind of true. The lane he carved out was a precursor for mine. I have the kids whose parents still listen to Devin the Dude at my shows.

And some of their parents are at the shows too because me and Devin have shared things and fans because of what we do. I occasionally have a muthafua who will pull me aside and try to tell me how much older than me they are and who they listen to and shit. I see how that goes. We not mad about that. Larry keeps it funky. He gives it up. He considers me a homie with a few years in the game who can kind of help make some shit happen.

“Misty” closed the project out. I might be telling you what you already know but it felt like you hopped in the whip and rode off into the sunset. How would you describe this project?

Curren$y: With that record, in the second verse I’m talking to one of my younger homies out here. I’m actually hoping that all of my younger patnas hear something in that last verse and apply it to their game. I didn’t want to dilute that message with another record. If I followed it up with “[Bitches] I Don’t Call” or something, that shit was so catchy that you would forget the game I’m dropping. I’m like Na.

It’s like when the gunshots go off and you hear that last one for a few seconds. When you hear that muthafuka ringing, dah dah dah dah dah dah dah, everybody’s running trying to make sure they get somewhere. You hear that one single one, BAM! You hear that echo. You probably hear the shell hit the street. Might hear it rolling. You really realize what happened. That’s why.

When you talk about resonating with these youngns, a lot of these youngns want to listen but they feel like they need someone that’s solid that they can listen to.

Curren$y: That’s the “Big Homie” effect. Not everybody has a conscious drug dealer on their street who got all the cars and jewelry but still gonna tell you, “Yo. This shit is not even what’s up. Y’all should be doing X,Y,Z.” That is also our responsibility once we get into a light. You’re not a role model—I get it. But you definitely know you’re standing in the view for muthafukas to see you. And if you garner the attention of the youth, then you have to lay that game on them because one, it’ll keep yo’ old ass safe.

Secondly, if you was dope, you would want to see them end up as dope as you, if not doper. And it will probably happen. You got to pass the game on. Otherwise, you’re responsible for fuckin’t he world up. Imagine if a nigga didn’t give you know game. What kind of crash test dummy would you be? Make the world a better place by being a big homie.

You saying this makes me think of watching the old heads in Hip-Hop creating a fork in the road. It was like them against the youngns. It never made sense because they weren’t helping them. Of course, the youngns were hungry, so it didn’t make sense when the Old Heads looked at them crazy when the youngns were on their heads about it.

Curren$y: Yeah. But I feel like as the guard changed, it took a lot of us a long time to get into the position we’re in. Some muthafukas was like, “Damn. I just started getting money. I gotta get out the way because this muthafuka is here?” So they feel a way. You know what I’m saying? But you have to be real about shit. As music evolves you have to stay yourself so your shit is always sought after for its originality. You’re not always going to win the popularity contest but you will stand the test of time.

I by no means felt like they needed to get out of the way because you can always go back to a Jada verse or something like that because you know he won’t give you a bad one. I can also go and listen to one of these youngns talking about their opps. I can appreciate that too.

Curren$y: That’s what it is. The music is reflective of times. Muthafukas was ill when Jadakiss and them were talking about it. These muthafukas are the same way. They just talk about it in a different way. That’s our grip on them before they stepped all the way in the game. But our influence on them wasn’t as heavy because we weren’t as hands on. It got how it got. Raekwon and Snoop, those muthafuaks were accessible. They recognized what I was doing with music.

There was muthafukas that rap rapped and the other one’s were doing what they called “ringtone” raps at the time. When they realized I wasn’t a quote un quote ringtone rapper they took me in. They’d send me records. They’d listen to shit. They’d invite me to shit. I never wanted to let them down. I always wanted to sound like I sounded and stay in my lane. So some of us could have been more active with those muthafukas who reached out to us. But for those ones who reached out to me, if I fucked with what they did, I would reach back out and do shit with them.

In being nostalgic and looking back at all of this shit, if you can sum it, what does this all mean to you?

Curren$y: Honestly, just an example, the intro to Pilot Talk, I had to draw from people I couldn’t see anymore. The streets took a lot of my heroes. In the industry they were bucking the system and doing what they wanted to do, and they were the same way in the streets.

The streets either claimed their lives or their in the system. With them gone, who else is there for a muthafuka who might feel like me to model their shit after? I feel like it was up to me. Muthafukas gave me a lot of game for me to be who I am. It would have been a disservice to a lot of those people to just be a gear or a cog in soulless machine that continued to produce, and make money, and not give a fuck. It needed to be something real. And that’s why it worked out.

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