Curren$y delivers high times in Boston

A review of Curren$y at the Paradise Rock Club on May 30, 2012

, Contributing Writer

Seasoned hip-hop artist Curren$y, a.k.a. Spitta Andretti, all but tore down Paradise Rock Club to its foundation last Wednesday with his “Jet Life” tour. Flanking Spitta was a crew so deep they were practically a who’s who of contemporary rap. Legend Styles P performed beside Smoke DZA and Fiend, as up and comers Trademark Da Skydiver, Young Roddy, and Corner Boy P strove to prove themselves worthy of sharing the stage with such hip-hop heavyweights.

Curren$y, a preternaturally gifted rapper with Byzantine cul-de-sac verses, has carved a niche for himself within the boom bap “weed rap” sub genre of hip-hop (see Wu-Tang Clan, Wiz Khalifa, and Snoop Dogg) by being the most prolific stoner who also happens to rap professionally. Every time he takes his merry band of Jets on tour, he appears to be coming off a wildly successful string of albums and mix tapes. He’s been on this rock-steady roll since 2008, when he really came into his own as an independent rapper after parting with Lil Wayne and his Young Money crew. Since 2008, Curren$y has released four proper albums, a digital-only album, a compilation focused on his proteges (Young Roddy and Trademark Da Skydiver), and no less than fourteen mix tapes. As if this wealth of product is still somehow insufficient, he releases his new album The Stoned Immaculate this week.

Due to the sheer quantity of mix tapes, singles and albums that he’s released to the public, every Curren$y show is essentially a greatest hits night and Wednesday night was no different. Songs included trusted staples such as “Roasted” and “Life Under the Scope” as well as new hits like “Lean” off the #The1st28 EP, a recent collaboration with Styles P. The speakers rattled The Dise to its very foundations, alternating between blasting gorgeous background loops, hard-hitting banger beats, even some a cappella stunt-battle rapping. A highlight of the night was “Michael Knight”, the strongest cut off the second Pilot Talk, which Spitta delivered perfectly in his signature brand of precise nonchalance and insouciance.

Curren$y has a natural talent for wordplay, so it’s unfortunate that his four topics of discussion when he raps are about are pot, vintage Chevys, video games and sex. That’s really the only discernible chink in Curren$y’s stainless steel coat of armor: the man has cornered the market on colorful tales of remembering those times you got so high that you forgot. Unfortunately he’s done this to the point where, on certain verses, he verges perilously close to becoming a parody of himself, more currency than Curren$y. How long will he be able to release mix tapes about weed jars and Call of Duty battle scars before he burns out? Five years, a decade? Is it even possible for a rapper to burn out if the primary reason people listened to him to begin with is because he already is such an iconic burn out? Logic would suggest not, yet Snoop has pulled it off.

The company Curren$y keeps is mixed in talent and flow. The only rapper who wasn’t an official member of the Jet Life crew, Styles P a.k.a. SP The Ghost, was the star who shone the brightest aside from Curren. He balanced out Curren$y’s languid New Orleans haze raps with some classic New York City bangers, including “Blow Ya Mind”. That seminal track achieved its titled purpose and left many in the crowd even more dazed and further confused, if possible by that juncture in the night. Young Roddy, the Robin to Curren$y’s Batman, also impressed. His style was even more effortless than Curren$y’s, if only because he doesn’t make as concerted an effort. The only true sour (no, not diesel) note struck that night was by Corner Boy P, a technically proficient rapper who is just devoid of any spark, personality or soul. He projects the demeanor of a professional hit man who raps on his off days and tracks like “I Own It” off Fendi P 2, with its chorus “If I’m in it, then I own it (3x)” were almosy painful to hear.

However, Curren$y is who everyone showed up to see, and he performed at the top of his game. A champion for marijuana legalization, Curren$y has a languid, offhand manner to his delivery that appears gifted by Puff the Magic Dragon. This lazy charm makes his complex, looping rhymes look as easy as cutting through melting butter with an Exacto knife. And that’s his appeal – Curren$y makes world-class rap look too easy. He paints himself as a simple man in his lyrics too – “Spendin’ my cheese, smokin’ my broccoli / Dressed neat, left the hotel suite sloppy off the chopper tree” – but he isn’t fooling anyone in that respect. Kid is whip smart, and I don’t mean ghostriding.

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