By: Tommy “T-Rod” Rodriguez
Imagine this scenario: the year is 2020. In the span of about 18 months, one of your favorite rappers has dropped 12 projects, 14 counting a remix and instrumental album. Each of these projects seemingly came out of the blue, advertised with naught but the occasional single or promotional video.
Most skeptical music fans would be perplexed by this statistic. How can someone drop an album every one and a half months without losing some creative or artistic spark? There has to be some filler in there, someone has to be going through the motions…
But that isn’t the case here. If it isn’t obvious yet, the artist in question is Curren$y, one of hip-hop’s most consistent and prolific figureheads. After having enjoyed his past 12 albums and collaborative mixtapes, I began to question the very existence of the Louisiana Spitta. How can someone make so much music that simply hits?
After having listened to his latest album, the jazzy and intoxicating The OutRunners, I finally got the answer I was looking for. Read on and explore the genius behind Curren$y’s ridiculous work ethic.
1. Effort Sounding Effortless
Let’s start with Curren$y himself: the personality, the spitting, the writing. Spitta is the definition of cool: almost every bar he speaks is spoken with this quiet, unwavering confidence that bleeds into your speaker. Curren$y never seems to attack the listener when he describes his riches,: he uses flexing as a statement of fact. This all rings true because, well, Curren$y’s music stays true to his lifestyle. His verses are backed by slick wordplay, his flexes can be found in his own driveway, and his personal moments are genuine and speak to human emotion. Curren$y’s persona is magnetic; he’s the cool uncle that never spoke much, but still inspired you to get your bread up. He’s never loud or annoying when it comes to his success, staying lowkey and watching success pile up with a friendly demeanor and quiet confidence.
That very confidence bleeds not just into the wordplay of Curren$y’s writing, but the atmospherics and sounds of Curren$y’s music. Whether you’re listening to the breezy beats on Gran Turismo 2 or the slick grooves on a song like OutRunners’s “In the Coupe,” there’s something inherently exciting about the relaxed nature in Curren$y’s music. It sounds like Curren$y’s operating at two times the speed of everyone else with ease. His recognizable ad-libs and steady flow sound like they could have been performed in a backseat freestyle or laborious writing session all at once. His very style of music sounds off the cuff, but incredibly precise in how off-the-cuff it is.
Uh, white and yellow Airmax as I step out my Lac
Plus I smell like a pack, little cologne mixed with that
My partners always strapped, I don’t be on all that
They be wherever I’m at because they know how y’all act
I pulled up in a what’s this, I came out in a what’s that
Curren$y’s flexing on “New Thangs” is simultaneously nonchalant and prideful, a perfect way to attract listeners into his world.
Curren$y’s personality defines “easygoing,” something antithetical to the nature of today’s virality-focused hip-hop scene. This makes Curren$y’s music all the more standout and unique, drawing in listeners to hear his one-of-a-kind flow and sound as he cruises into the New Orleans sunset.
2. A Different Flavor with Every Serving
What seems to be the main problem with artists who drop a lot of music? After a while, it all sounds the same.
The toughest thing an artist can do is make every project sound distinct without sacrificing their core appeal. Most artists’ attempts to drastically shake up their sound result in failed experiments or alienation, while sticking to their usual blueprint makes listeners bored with the same old shtick. It’s unfortunate, but a lot of listeners are very fickle today and can give up when their favorite artist is doing the same old same old. In conjunction with this, not every artist is a Kanye West, able to change genres seamlessly; the key to succeeding is making each project similarly different. In other words, the same serving of music,, but with a different flavor
Curren$y’s discography is a perfect example of shaking up the formula while sticking to the core sound. His revolving door of collaborators and producers, ranging from Harry Fraud to The Alchemist, brings new ideas to every project. The influx of outside influences allows each project to take shape as its own unique beast: Alchemist produced records like Fetti and Covert Coup tend to be dark, focused on Spitta’s lyricism in a classic fashion. Other records, like Spring Clean focus more on a laid-back, modern sound…but they still stick to Curren$y’s core skill set. He’s able to morph his work to a classic rap sound or chilled vibe with ease, both with the inflections of his voice and songwriting approach (more on this later).
Producers aren’t the only collaborators Spitta works with; his relationships with other artists in the game are innumerable. Smoke DZA and Wiz Khalifa are two of his most well known collaborators, working with him to make stoner rap that soothes the soul on projects like 2009 and Prestige Worldwide. These are only a few of the names that help guide and supplement Spitta’s core sound: rappers like Rick Ross frequently pop in on tracks within Curren$y’s catalogue to reinforce the don status the Jet Life brand has granted him, and Freddie Gibbs helped him move lyrical and literal dope on Fetti, one of the best albums of 2018.
In rap, more so than ever, relationship building is important to making projects excel. Spitta is smart with this, using the opportunities his relationships offer to maximize the vibe and performance of individual songs and albums…while still pushing his own personal rap style to the forefront. Back at Burnies, Pheno Grigio…they’re all different records when it comes to sound, but they still have that Curren$y feel. Building a core brand and constantly branching out from it: that’s Curren$y’s brand in and of itself.
3. Appealing to All Audiences
So Curren$y’s albums have an effortless, magnetic personality and vary in sound between projects. So what? What’s the special marketing factor that lies beneath all of these projects?
The answer is simple and boils down to Curren$y’s core appeal: consistency. Not just in what he says and how he says it, but in the appeal of the albums themselves.
Curren$y’s albums and mixtapes are what I like to call “deceptive albums.” Few artists can manage the balance between surface level enjoyment and replayable content. Spitta’s albums always have both qualities. For example, Pilot Talk I-III can fit the mood for a good time or relaxing background music…but if you’re a rap head that looks for interesting song topics or bars, there’s plenty to find within that same trilogy. These albums, like many other albums in Curren$y’s catalogue, appeal to many audiences at once while not going out of their way to reach a particular market. Curren$y being himself sells the quality of his music.
Spitta always manages to keep his albums light and serious all at once, allowing the album to mesh well with whatever setting it’s played in. His music is the perfect example of how to appeal to any situation or audience without sacrificing artistic integrity or critical thinkers.
If you’re looking for a perfect encapsulation of the three themes I’ve discussed today, take a look at Curren$y’s latest album, The OutRunners. The album is simultaneously smooth and hard hitting instrumentally and lyrically: “90’ IROC-Z” is a beautiful jazz rap collaboration with Wiz Khalifa that serves as a soundtrack to midnight drives and an ode to the beauty of humans. “Gold and Chrome” brings a soulful edge that many Curren$y albums bring to the production table, but the addition of strings and horns decorates his lyrics on fatherhood as something almost heavenly. Hip-hop heads will get a kick out of the dirty “Riviera Beach,” where Curren$y invites Conway the Machine to bring in his trademark Buffalo lyricism to a smooth bassline. The album mixes in the old with the new, the usual with the unique…and it’s absolutely worth a listen.
Just like the majority of Curren$y’s catalogue. His consistency is embodied in his music, making damn near every album a fun and satisfying experience.
Stream The OutRunners below!
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