Curren$y – Fear and Loathing in New Orleans (2008)

Curren$y is a rapper that, seemingly commodiously, appeals to just about everyone. And with a very respectable discography sporting a copious amount of innovative material, The Hot Spitta’s semi-stardom is well deserved. Among these releases are his mixtapes, some of which are unfairly slept on.

The title of this 2008 release is an allusion to a term coined by Hunter S. Thompson in a book called “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” It refers to a hell of a night motivated by the excessive consumption and abuse of substances. It’s only fitting, seeing as Spitta’s a full-time pothead, as made evident by effortless, yet adroit, laid-back flow and mellifluous lyrics.

Seeing as this is a Curren$y tape, smooth beats are a given. He’s got a history of exceptional beat selection. “It Starts” sparks a promising start with a familiar, appropriate sound. A jet engine, followed by a quick pre-flight briefing from the pilot himself.

Roll something up, like I always instruct y’all to do at the beginning of these tapes… Pour something, if that’s what you do… Get yourselves straight, sit down, roll your windows down, put your foot on the gas, and get into it. I hope you enjoy it, ’cause I enjoyed making it.

A good intro for a better mixtape. “Title Track” offers a perfect sample of Curren$y’s charismatic lyrical ability over a jazz-esque sound, and “Murda” magnifies it as he fires shots at the comical hook-centric rappers of the industry. They also, however, introduce us to his tendency to be monotonous, which some many consider a drawback. “Movie Writers, Business Men, and Gangsters,” is, frankly, a nothing-special generic track, but it features Mr. Marcelo, who comes pretty close to outshining his younger brother. Young Roddy accompanies Spitta on the next track, “Sky Barz,” and contributes a nice verse reflecting on the Fly Society. “World Class Bitches” is a track I knew I would enjoy after hearing five seconds of the ridiculously smooth beat, courtesy of Pharrell/The Neptunes. Curren$y strays away from his usual subject content on the short but sweet, synth-heavy “Lost in Transit,” shedding some much needed light on the relation between the power of outside influences and the neuro-science of early development in the kids of today. Of course, on the next tune he goes back to his signature, cunning braggadocio style. Two stand-out tracks for me were “Come Up,” as the instrumental is borrowed from one of my favorite songs of all time, Camp Lo’s “Luchini,” and “Intergalactic Society,” just for its mechanical obscurity.

All in all, this project is well above average and will give you a taste of Spitta’s well-roundedness but may leave you a little unsatisfied if you’ve already heard his studio albums. My favorite tracks on the album were Lost In Transit, World Class Bitches, Come Up, and Calm Down.

Overall: 76/100

Curren$y – Pilot Talk (2010)

New Orleans MC and ardent pothead, Curren$y, is one with a wide range of refreshing material that appeals to both avid hip hop heads and more casual listeners, and thus has encountered success in both the underground and mainstream.

On Pilot Talk, his 2010 release which precedes Pilot Talk II, The Hot Spitta serves up a perfect show of his lyrical ability and persistence on the mic, with a side of what he and the Jets are all about.

Production on the album is conspicuous, with the signature Ski Beatz sound. Heavy in hi-hats, catchy loops, complimented by the sporadically reoccurring bass. While it’s not amazing, the overall easy-going vibe fits Curren$y’s style impeccably. Lyrically, Spitta keeps the same concepts as usual, but somehow he always manages to present them in an inventive manner, by avoiding the cliché in-your-face attitude that many rappers have adopted, and putting forward his laid-back flow and blasé lyrics. The main focus of the album seems to be to promote stepping out of your safety zone. The album does not disappoint in the guest verse department, with notable appearances from the likes of Snoop Dogg, Jay Electronica, Mos Def, and Jet members Young Roddy and Trademark Da Skydiver.

The first track, “Example,” is just what the name suggests. With an expressive guitar sound, the moderately short, melodious track is a paradigm of what is to come on the album. “Audio Dope II” has a distinguished sound, with Curren$y rambling about his accomplishments. The next track, “King Kong” has a similar braggadocio sound. “Seat Change” features the biggest name on the album, Snoop Dogg. Snoop brings an exceptional verse on the song, which is about a girl who Curren$y has history with. “Roasted” is the only track on the album produced by a Monstabeatz, who does a great job of creating a sound ideal for Spitta, Roddy, and Trademark. “The Day“ was a standout track for me, with Jay Elec going hard on his verse. The album comes to an interesting close with “Life Under The Scope.”

“Wannabe pilots get swatted out the sky…”

All in all, Pilot Talk is, start to finish, an eclectic album with plenty of replay value, and not a single weak track. Curren$y often goes without well-deserved recognition, so give it a listen if you haven’t. My favorite tracks on the album were Audio Dope II, The Day, and Address.

Overall: 87/100