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Curren$y - New Jet City

I've been listening to Curren$y's newest offering whilst running. This may seem extremely counter-productive, as Spitta's dulcet, weed-haze music seems like the antithesis to a high intensity work out. It actually provides the perfect escape. The instant you switch on his music you join his world, a wonderful fantasy land where all anxiety seeps away and you're almost meditative such is the hypnotic nature of his drone perfect flow. My problem is I suffer quite badly from anxiety whilst exercising, the pain in my chest is in no way related to the effort I am putting in at the time. My mind races much faster than my legs. New Jet City has been the perfect answer, it's gotten me through more than a few tough spots.

Much is written about the man's propensity towards a pre-determined sound. Whether Curren$y sets out directly to achieve this goal on each project, or whether it comes in to being as part of his process is unclear. I've spoken before about his lyrical dexterity and his ability to ride more difficult production. You just have to listen to him on Lil Wayne mixtapes of the late 00s to see the guy has a god given gift for flow. The amazing thing is he doesn't appear to shift and alter his flow to suit a particular beat, the way say Jay-Z can do effortlessly, rather he lets the beat form around his own unique style, a style which has gone untampered since his debut. New Jet City is no different in this sense. Yes, the production is slightly more adventurous (Lex Luger?), but his previous record The Stoned Immaculate had a smorgasbord of variety compared to his Monsta Beatz and Alchemist fetishes.

New Jet City is an odd collection. It isn't particularly coherent as a release, which is understandable as it is a mixtape. But it's a misadventure when compared to previous work, especially studio albums. This variety would be tolerable and even enviable if it weren't for Curren$y's lack of energy. I am aware he is not Waka Flocka Flame, but on The Stoned Immaculate he was incisive, calculated, humourous. On NJC it's almost as if the weed has finally caught up. On the title track opener the first line is a quote 'This is the fruit of our hard work', and whilst I'd never accuse any artist of not putting their heart in to a project, I feel as though this is under-performing.

Over the top of Clear, with Jadakiss, he drops 'Bitch wake up to a nose full and sneak out on old dude / He been on to her moves but he play it cool / Knowing better than to trust a bitch' which is a line I've heard so many times in a Spitta track. Rick Ross even out-raps him on Choosin. Now that is a worry.. In fact the guest's do little to showcase Curren$y as a rapper at the top of his game. Juicy J slides in on Three 60 and drops the hottest verse on the record, and Juvenile even drops in to deliver a superior verse: Glock next to my johnson, big dog on my function / Ice game like hockey, I'm confident and I'm cocky'.

On the best track on the record, These Bitches with French Montana, Spitta makes up for his thus far lacklustre performance by matching an on point Montana comfortably, 'Disappearing with your broad at three in the morning / Penthouse, hotel room cards / Big dog, underground rap star, I can't lay down too long baby / Plus I know your man's at home going crazy / And in my world you know the game ain't waiting.

The odd thing is that none of this matters. New Jet City is an excellent mixtape. Whereas previously I have found Curren$y to be incisive, insightful, intelligent, witty, quick, and with a gift for the dryest punchlines in the game, this release highlights none of those qualities, or if they do exist they do so sparingly. And yet the production, whilst disjointed and varied, produces a stellar atmosphere, and the guests offer enough to keep interest high without detracting from the main event which is Curren&y oozing honey all over whatever beat he is presented with. The love song Mary flows brilliantly, nothing he raps is groundbreaking, but it hits home. Drive is heavy, his delivery on hooks on this release goes really hard, 'It's either how you died or who you killed'. Coolie in the Cut THUMPS. Living For The City is mid 90s Premier mixed with 808s era Kanye and it thumps too. Such an odd combination, yet it all works.

6.5/10. A disappointment in the sense that Curren$y appears uninterested for much of the tape, except when he is spitting hooks. However the production and the guest spots save the release and make it extremely listenable. Let's hope the workload isn't catching up.
Best Tracks: Three 60, Mary, These Bitches

I'm surviving in the game where many don't win
But loser ain't my name mane, that's one of them

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