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Curren$y - The Stoned Immaculate

It's difficult not to like Curren$y. Sure, his moniker is a little late 90s, but his sound has grown and evolved in to the perfect embodiment of a life devoted to the higher power of marijuana. It's a creative aid that hip-hop folk have turned to and been turned on by since the art began. Curren$y has ensured the longevity of the craze in no small way, in fact his releases work ferociously hard to quell the increasingly derranged teachings of one Lil Wayne, who's weed-fried brain is no longer helping the cause of indulgers and their specific brand of laid-back music.  Of course both aforementioned artists share a past and a similar path. He signed for Young Money in 2004, and it's now 2012 and we know that both Drake and Nicki Minaj are global megastars. So how did Curren$y miss his boat?

It doesn't appear to be related to work ethic. Since 2010 he has released 4 studio albums, including the brilliant Pilot Talk, and 4 mixtapes, including the absolute gem Covert Coup. It's through no lack of talent either. He consistently puts out high quality music. The answer lies within his sound. It's endearing to witness an artist with such strong stylistic intentions. There would have been no shame in Curren$y hanging around at Young Money whilst Wayne was blowing the world up, dropping in now and then for a guest verse as he had done previously. Imagine a Curren$y verse on Tha Carter III! But he moved onwards. His record wasn't being moved through the way he envisaged so he moved on. Admirable. Likeable.

So then there is his music. The first track on The Stoned Immaculate is the first single, features an uninspired Wale taking lead, we have to wait till 2:10 till Curren$y ad-libs 'let me find my lighter', something you feel is an essential part of spitting a verse for him. His first line, 'The engine in back of my car / I'm clearly in a different tax bracket now, dog', is unashamedly boastful. It doesn't, however, feel old or stale, it doesn't feel played out, and you find yourself relaxing a little because Curren$y can afford a Porsche Panamera. It sounds crazy but he's built up this likeable, relaxed, laid-back persona over the past 2 years, and you wish for him to do well.

Almost the entire record remains coasting in a comfortable 4th gear, or 8th probably in his Panamera. The exception is No Squares, a beat by The Futuristiks which tips the heart rate up in to 3 digits. Curren$y chases the beat, sounding more involved and alive than he does on most of his tracks. His extraordinary work ethic is certainly not unnoticed in his own mind, he raps 'I should be the "weed don't stop me from workin" spokesperson / cause I get it in Stoned / active like a sober person running'. Wiz Khalifa drops by for another guest credit (his second), and only serves to strengthen Spitta's verse by dropping a garbage one of his own. Apart from this blip, Curren$y is always in autopilot, as if he hears these beats and spends his entire day wandering around his house incessantly peeling off verse after verse. His delivery is so smooth, it's immediately recognisable and instantly gratifying. On Sunroof, the horns and pounding drums created by long time beat source Monsta Beatz, he slips in to the beat like his favourite pair of old sneakers. Even then way he effortlessly rattles through the sequence 'That's too new for me, I'm so vintage loaf, Cuban link, Yellow gold Brought a British auto / mobile cause I watch Layer Cake too many times'. It's not a dashing or awe-inspiring segment, but his flow does not even quiver, he pushes straight through, pausing after auto to add mobile to the start of the next line. If you blink you miss it, but it happens in almost every track, almost like laying smooth layer after layer of concrete over the rockiest of paths to create an unblemished one. It's astonishing that he can continue to apply such dexterity in his delivery, and over such a wide array of beats. If you listen to his early work with Wayne and co, even on the craziest and most far out mixtape tracks spitta lays smooth vocal, not flinching, just adjusting.

Despite this class leading ability, this release showcases the most diverse array of producers he's used in the last 3 or 4 years with The Neptunes, Bink! and even Big K.R.I.T. on hand. This is from an artist who's last 2 studio albums (discounting the awful Muscle Car Chronicles, and yes I'm aware it's the first time I've mentioned it and it will be the last) have featured a total of 4 different producers. The 2 Monsta Beatz tracks are pure Curren$y, but it's interesting to note that his personality and identity is forceful and strong enough to instill that 'Curren$y feel' on every track on the record. That's The Thing, with Estelle, is a weird, spacey number with a piano-driven base that manages to be undeniably Spitta, even as he takes on an honest and introspective role, 'I respect it if you left me but I’m glad you never do'. He lays down hard truths and exposes a more relatable side of his psyche, one separate from the marijuana and money that his brain usually deals in. On Chandelier his calm delivery hides one of the strongest lines on the record, 'Same player ways as mine, dog attitude with a feline' as he details a relationship where he was played, shown up. These gems are hard to spot but if you tune your ear in you can catch Curren$y in candid and honest moments.

This is essentially the challenge and the reward of being a Curren$y fan. It is true, you can put all of his albums on and wander around the house in a weed-induced stupour and you'll be perfectly happy to have the music blending and relentlessly playing. It's equally rewarding catching the odd moment of wit, bluntness or revelation mixed in among the weed haze. Armoire: 'I won a super bowl of hash / I saw the Mona Lisa blink / Not falling off my ass / Cause I lean like the Tower of Pisa on stained glass'. Seek and you shall find.

7/10. Good solid release. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Best Tracks: Showrrom, No Squares, Sunroof, Armoire

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