Priest Andretti (2012) – B
It’s perhaps the most Curren$y thing ever that of the three full length tapes he released in 2012, it was the mixtape that was the best; surrounded by friends and weed, he sounds more at home than he did surrounded by suits on The Stoned Immaculate or on the one-off curiosity Muscle Car Chronicles. I was tempted to give it a ‘B+’ despite a few notable flaws (especially the back-to-back “Max Julien” and “Motion”: the former has some nice instrumental stretches but effectively ends at the 3:35 mark but goes on for almost two minutes more; the latter has a nice woodwind-based beat but isn’t worth 6 minutes) but the last stretch of the tape (starting with “2 Much”) is almost a complete write-off. Almost: Big Duke teases out a nice string line after a few bursts on “For Seasons” (and King Chip’s pseudo-boast, “I’mma do this whole verse without no punch lines” almost comes true until “Me and Spitta smoke too much to not have dread locks”). But elsewhere, Noreaga tells about that time he had two girls eat each other out on their monthlies on “Boss Dealings” and Curren$y sounds like he was recorded on a cheap mic on closer “Light Snax.” So a hard ‘B’, but there’s plenty to like. Beats-wise: the elastic bass and smack of the drums (occasionally a beat that sounds like it was hit on the bottom of a garbage pail) of Fiend’s “Trip to London”; Cardo’s nocturnal and sparse keyboard loop on “Stainless” (both pretty and ominous at the same time); Harry Fraud’s woodwind on “Payroll,” picking up in speed during the hook. Lyrically, everything we’re used to, including the occasional funny (ie. “Weed so strong you need a weight belt to hit it”). But stuff that we’re less used to, including getting serious on “Trip to London” (This real shit is tragic homie, them automatics is actually clapping / We gon’ have to pour liquor if you can’t move a lil’ faster”).
Cigarette Boats [EP] (2012) – B+
Curren$y raps over five lush beats from Harry Fraud; other than Styles P’s verse on “WOH” and “Biscayne Bay” begging for a hook to transition in and out of the verses, ain’t nothing wrong with this record. The first two tracks use soaring notes that send me back to Pilot Talk‘s “Example”; there’s an exotic tint on “Mirrors”, plus a horn interval serving as transition (though I think a three-note one would’ve worked better?); “Sixty-Seven Turbo Jet” deploys a nice sample during the choruses. Curren$y does what’s expected, and sometimes more: rhyming “the carbon fiber” with “Alcantara whatever” in the greater context of the full verse is the EP’s finest detail despite all of Fraud’s good work.
3 Piece Set / A Closed Set [EP] (2012) – B+
It’s hard to recommend Curren$y EPs, especially one that’s 3 songs and less than 10 minutes like 3 Piece Set / A Closed Session – his is a style that’s best for smoking something, hitting play and not worrying about changing tapes – but this one’s a goody, and were it five songs, I’d say better than Cigarette Boats. Thelonious Martin pairs him and Young Roddy up with some really lively beats: peppy horns over a liquidy keyboard foundation on “Pick N Roll”, and then emphasizing the latter (plus vibes) for “Yella Cab” (I wish Curren$y relaxed his flow to match; he’s louder and his lines are more cluttered than usual). But the best of the bunch is “Can’t Get Out,” not only to hear Curren$y go Ghostface in terms of detail and style (“Think when Frank White send the hit on Chinatown Larry / Jumped out of that black-on-black, rat-a-tated / The enemy’s main bitch was the first one that he let have it”) but also because Thelonious Martin sits on a surprise until Young Roddy’s verse. You know, as if this one – his seventh release in 2012, on Christmas eve – weren’t surprise enough.
Here… [EP] (2012) – B-
Wherein Curren$y proves that his laid-back approach and Southern drawl sounds good over anything, even other people’s beats. (As if we needed proof.)
Even More Saturday Night Car Tunes [EP] (2015) – B-
Barely two weeks after completing his Pilot Talk trilogy, Curren$y threw this one out to cap off his Saturday Night Car Tunes trilogy: nothing wrong with this one, but results are slight, even when he’s doing opposite sides of the spectrum like the cloudy opener “Cars” (wherein Curren$y sounds like he’s spitting in the next door room) and banger “Do It For a G” (with unimpressive verses outside of the humourous intro where Curren$y suggests he needs a full feature film to capture how he pulls up on the street). It doesn’t help the slightness that “Rhymes Like Weight” – the best song here, with Cool and Dre supplying a beat with a high-pitched guitar soaring over watery keyboard chords – will find a new home on a different EP just one year later (Stoned on Ocean).