Release Date: Jun 5, 2012
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Southern Rap, Hardcore Rap
Combine rapper Curren$y's stoned, slow flow with his general preference for light, loopy beats and you've got an “acquired taste” indeed, plus there's the full-on embracing of weed and head shop culture topped by a prolific nature that's been averaging right around two mixtapes and two commercial releases per year. Still, when it comes to quality control, Curren$y's been closer to his inspiration Lil Wayne than his other inspiration, Master P, and this well-designed multi-producer, multi-guest-shot album deserves a special place in the man's discography, being the first “official official” after some one-producer efforts and conceptual (Weekend at Burnie's was all '80s from its cover art to its beats) street releases. Cue the thing up and the rapper welcomes everyone by putting his crossover up front, offering the lazy but feelin' it, “What It Look Like” as an easy entryway into an album that's always in his cushy, kushy comfort zone, but always hospitable as well, with a hook or a Wale-type guest shot to keep things interesting.
With the internet’s rise as a marketing resource practically replacing street teams and aggressive advertising campaigns, the altruistic strategy of giving away free music (popularized by 50 Cent and Lil Wayne before their mainstream success) has become the standard means of attaining promotional buzz for touring and retail purposes. Hailing from New Orleans, Curren$y has built his Jet Life movement as a leading beneficiary of this branding method following unfruitful alliances as an underdog with his home town’s recording staples No Limit & Cash Money Records and a more recent allegedly soured relationship with Dame Dash’s BluRoc imprint. Having overcome numerous industry woes, his tireless determination, resilience and consistent work ethic have led to his first official major label release The Stoned Immaculate.
After building up a catalog of cozy, weed-friendly albums most artists would be more than happy to rest on, the prolific Curren$y punches things up on his second effort of the year (yes, the year) — and it might be the crossover he’s been on the cusp of for months. Behold the burnished production and radio-friendly guest roster (Lil Wayne, Estelle, Wiz Khalifa, Wale) and marvel at the overdue collab with Pharrell Williams, who knows exactly how to soundtrack his host’s sleepy flow. But don’t get distracted by all that fancy; at its core, The Stoned Immaculate still has the hazy comfort-rap heart that made Curren$y an underground must in the first place.
The first voice we hear on Curren$y's new album, The Stoned Immaculate, does not belong to Curren$y. It belongs to Wale, who informs us: "We blessed to be here/ It's a blessing for you to be here with us." This is not an auspicious start to Spitta's first major-label studio effort since 2011's Weekend at Burnie's. A distant universe ago, Wale seemed likable enough, but over the years his persona has curdled; he currently resembles the cartoonish Asshole Boyfriend character in your average teen sex comedy.
Curren$y :: The Stoned ImmaculateWarner Bros. RecordsAuthor: Steve 'Flash' JuonShante Scott Franklin b/k/a Curren$y has come a long way since starting out as a member of Master P's 504 Boyz group, a rather random collection of rappers from P's hometown area code. The group was thrown together at a point when No Limit Records was losing its luster and going through the first of several repacking and restructuring efforts.
For the past four years and change, Curren$y has been spearheading the internet-fueled, southern rap as inspired by ‘90s boom-bap jazz and turn of the millenium Roc-A-Fella elegance. It’s a sound that had a heavy influence on Wiz Khalifa’s most well-received efforts and turned Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group into something like a gangster-rap mecca. While Curren$y’s move into the big leagues has been marked with caution, a deliberate move with memories of his days at Cash Money and No Limit still fresh in his memory, it’s been hard to ignore his influence on the hypemakers.
While rap music and delays go hand-in-hand like sandy beaches and mai tai’s, New Orleans’ very own Curren$y is as punctual as he is prolific. After dropping some six records in 2011, he returns with his third effort of 2012, The Stoned Immaculate (his eighth studio LP, and fourth through Warner Bros. in under a year). Despite the intense schedule, this latest LP proves that a rapper can have both quantity and quality, especially oodles of the latter.
Curren$y may not have brought weed rap into the mainstream, but he set the precedent. Before Wiz Khalifa convinced Volvo-driving soccer moms to run out and buy their teenage sons Taylor Gang hoodies at the local Hot Topic, before Mac Miller scored a #1 debut on the Billboard charts, Curren$y was enjoying the success of his 2010 breakthrough Pilot Talk: an LP that, despite only modest commercial success, scored the New Orleans rapper invaluable cred with hip-hop snobs and mainstream audiences alike. Pilot Talk lacked the Euro-trance production and soulless Lil Wayne cameos of so many of 2010’s biggest rap albums: no frills, just lush, jazzy soundscapes and faded flows.
This year has seen a spate of strong releases from distinctive, detail-oriented rappers who subvert the usual brag-and-bluster formula with their obsessive focus on mundane particulars. First was Action Bronson’s Blue Chips, which fetishized food with the same mania Clipse reserves for cocaine, followed by efforts from Heems, Big K.R.I.T., and Killer Mike and El-P that have, respectively, fixated on pop-culture trivia, incipient activism, and radical paranoia. Into this pack falls the first proper album from Curren$y, the New Orleans rapper and former Lil Wayne No.
Curren$y has done more than a few tours of duty; he first surfaced with Master P's No Limit crew, then with Lil Wayne, with a nascent Young Money, and most recently with ex-Roc A Fella exec and Jay-Z business partner Damon Dash. Unfortunately, much like the other deals, Curren$y's dalliance with Dash hasn't worked out for the New Orleans-bred MC, with legal procedures against Dash currently ongoing. Not much of this strife makes it into Curren$y's musical output, which over his impressive mixtape production rate is fairly heavy on weed, women and cars, rote subjects elevated by Curren$y's down to earth charisma.
A contented celebration of success with weed as the toast of choice. Darren Loucaides 2012 Curren$y’s last major-label studio record, 2011’s Weekend at Burnie’s, largely epitomised his style: lazy, laid-back, cool as you like. But although it was just as much the soundtrack of choice for long nights of smoking, it was also stripped-down and frequently darker than this latest set, The Stoned Immaculate.
It’s the Curren$y album that Warner Bros. always dreamed of. High profile features from 2 Chainz, Wale, and Wiz Khalifa. Pharrell and J.U.S.T.I.C.E League behind the boards. Warm, inviting hooks from crooners Estelle and Marsha Ambrosius in place of a repetitive, moaning, Spitta (“Michael ….