Curren$y - The Stoned Immaculate

Posted June 6, 2012
Tags: Curren$y,

I’ll admit that at first I dismissed Curren$y as just another weed rapper, and by “weed...

The Stoned Immaculate Album Review

I’ll admit that at first I dismissed Curren$y as just another weed rapper, and by “weed rapper” I meant someone who only rapped about weed, and only sounded dope rapping about weed if you happened to be higher than a satellite. And then I learned a little bit about Spitta’s role in hip-hop history – the man was around for both the decline of the No Limit empire and the rise of the Young Money empire - and I decided I had to actually give his music an open listen. What I discovered was an emcee who, although reportedly in possession of lungs deep enough to make Wiz Khalifa cough like a rookie, was also in possession of a truly unique flow and some deceptively deep lyricism. Then a project with Alchemist, Covert Coup, completely sold me on Curren$y and just like that, over the course of a few months, I’d gone from dismissal to legitimate anticipation for his new album, The Stoned Immaculate.

Between the mixtapes, free projects, indie releases and delayed albums Spitta’s got a catalog thicker than an Alabama stripper, so while it may sound odd to hear Curren$y refer to Stoned Immaculate as his first official album, it’s essentially true. This is the first time he has used a major label backing to secure guest features, clear samples, etc. and the results are…well…not that much different than everything else Spitta has done, and that’s a good thing. While many worried that Warner Bros. would somehow push Curren$y towards the mainstream – would we be hearing a Chris Brown hook and Red One beat on Immaculate? – those fears have proven to be largely unfounded. True, Immaculate may be a little more polished, it may have some slightly higher wattage star power lighting it up, but throughout the album Curren$y is the same supremely relaxed, women in tube socks loving emcee that earned him his loyal #JetLife following in the first place.

Case in point, lead single What It Look Like, a track that just feels bigger and bolder than much of Curren$y’s previous work. While a sparkling B!nk beat and a Wale verse are surely the reason Look Like was chosen as the lead single, Spitta’s a strong enough emcee to bend the track towards him, instead of vice-versa. Similarly, you have to imagine we can thank the major label effort for Marsha Ambrosious’ appearance on the more traditionally smooth Take You There. It’s a solid effort but nonetheless leaves Curren$y sounding just slightly out of place; that hook was clearly meant for some “girl I’ll buy you anything” verses while Spitta delivers some far less romantically inclined offerings. To a lesser degree the same can be said of the relationship narrative That’s The Thing featuring Estelle, but if the worse you can say about Stoned Immaculate is that some tracks don’t quite work because Curren$y refuses to switch his style, that’s not such a bad thing.

At the risk of sounding predictable, The Stoned Immaculate is at its best when Curren$y returns to the foundation he built. Jet Life sounds a little more soulful than usual thanks to a K.R.I.T. beat and hook but from the Wiz verse to Spitta’s even paced flow, Jet Life is smoke and ride hip-hop at its best. On a similar tip, Chandelier finds Curren$y covering some seriously wide ranging ground, touching on both his part, his present and his admittedly hazy present, and I defy you to not feel like you’re in a zone after a trip through the atmospheric Showroom. And last but not least, while Pharrell’s presence on Chasin Paper may at first seem like something brand new, the two have been working together for years and the familiarity allows Chasin Paper to truly sound like a collaboration, not just Curren$y over a Pharrell beat. "Immaculate" may be pushing it, but you’re going to have to look hard to find some serious flaws on this album.

I wish all album reviews were this simple, but ultimately it’s just not that complicated. I won’t pretend to be able to speak for the hardcore JetLife supporters, but if you’re already a fan of Curren$y I have to imagine you’ll at least enjoy adding Immaculate to the collection. And if you’re not a Spitta fan there’s a solid chance that Immaculate will, if not convert you to a full-fledged fan, at the very least respect the man. Sometimes it takes a minute for folks to come around, especially if they’re grizzled hip-hop album reviewers, but Curren$y’s been making too much dope music for too long to be dismissed as a mere weed rapper.

DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins

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Posted June 6, 2012
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