Curren$y: A Stoner with a Work Ethic

By June 5, 2012, Curren$y will have re-leased six albums, three mixtapes, two EPs and one collaboration album since 2010. Does the man sleep?

It’s hard to imagine so. In the last three years, he has assembled his Just Enjoy This Sh*t (JETS) empire from the ground up with his absurd release schedule. The even more amazing thing about his rapid rise is the total lack of mainstream airplay he’s had to help him out along the way. Though it’s rare to find a Curren$y joint that’s not extremely listenable, his style and subject matter have never aligned him with the mainstream. For all the similarities you could find between the Wiz of the Kush and OJ era and Spitta, it’s impossible to ever envision him going over a track like “Black and Yellow” or “No Sleep.” This isn’t music to play at a party, this is mu-sic to blare with the windows down as you’re going for a cruise in the summer.

So, how then has Curren$y forged an empire? Branding. Rappers must be taking business class-es (or have some good management), because more and more rappers are forming their own unique brands that they can identify with. Rick Ross has Maybach, Wiz has Taylor Gang and Curren$y has his JETS crew. Where does all this jet-life stuff stem from? Curren$y made an inge-nious move by taking his lifelong obsession for piloting and incorporating it into all of his music. It’s amazing just how many ways Curren$y can relate planes and smoking – there’s probably at least one of these punchlines on all of his tracks.

These new constructions are less a way for rappers to give their second-rate posse mem-bers (see Chevy Woods) exposure than they are a way for fans to identify with a lifestyle. Curren$y’s posse is actually quite talented; up-and-comers Young Roddy and Trademark da Skydiver destroy almost every spot he gives them on his albums and they show they can hold their own quite well on the recently released Jet World Order compilation album that shows them doing most of the heavy lift-ing. Ultimately though, when you’re listen-ing to Curren$y, it’s more than just buying into the music, it’s buying into the JETS lifestyle. As perhaps best explained on the track “Life Under the Scope,” Curren$y tells us, “my weed lit, my glass chill, I couldn’t be concerned less how a hater feel.” Sometimes, Curren$y gets labeled as a weed rapper, but that grossly underrates all he brings to the table. What sets Curren$y apart from other rappers out there is a carefree, relaxed ethos that is perfectly embodied in his silky, rolling flow that coats every beat he goes in on. It’s not that he’s too cool to care, he’s just a pretty relaxed dude who knows how to enjoy life and not take things too seriously.

Which gets us back to the strange contra-diction between Curren$y’s attitude and how much music he puts out. On April 20, he’ll be releasing the second entry into his col-laboration with producer The Alchemist, The Conversionalist (the first entry being Covert Coup, released last April 20). The real main event though is the upcoming release of The Stoned Immaculate on June 5. The three leaked tracks, “Stainless,” “Sunroof” and lead single, “What It Look Like,” are some of the big-gest, richest beats he’s ever attacked. The lat-ter, adorned with strings, harp-plucking, huge percussion and a top-notch feature from Wale should easily become his most successful song. With production for the album set to come from the likes of Monsta Beatz, Pharrell and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, this could finally be the release that takes all the bubbling momentum he’s built up over the last three years and blows things over the top.

If not, he’s still scheduled to release two more albums, Puff Daddy and Pilot Talk III, before the end of 2012. The mainstream hasn’t caught on to JETS yet and perhaps they never will. However, one thing is for sure: such quantity of quality out-put has never been seen in hip-hop before in such a short time.

Contact Pete Koehler at

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