Imagine a world without Jet Life. You can’t, and neither can Curren$y.
At 37, the beloved Louisiana rapper, better known as Spitta when he’s really in his pocket, has a decades-deep discography of albums and mixtapes that rivals your top five favorite rappers’ discographies in volume. But it hasn't always been about rolling weed and cigarette boats for the veteran MC.
In late 2004, following a stint with Master P's No Limit Records, Spitta signed with Lil Wayne and Cash Money Records, which, if you remember the early 2000s, made it seem as if Curren$y was about to strap in with Lil Wayne and hike up to the top of the world. Instead, Curren$y faced a slew of album setbacks, next to no promotion, and his single, “Where da Cash At,” never took off. Four years later, with Wayne and Young Money on the cusp of ultimate success, Spitta left the label.
While it would be reasonable to expect him to be bitter, that couldn’t be further from the truth. On the contrary, Curren$y can’t imagine a reality where he didn’t forge his own path in the underground.
“If I didn’t go do my own thing—nah,” Spitta told DJBooth following a lively show in Arizona. “Because then there wouldn’t be Jet Life, and I couldn’t imagine a world without Jet Life. What would happen to people? What would happen to all those people who came to smoke weed with me in there, if there was no Jet Life? What the fuck would they be doing? Yeah… nah. I don’t ever think about that shit.”
There’s no bad blood between Spitta and Wayne, either. Per Curren$y, “Me and Wayne fuckin' kick it all the time. But, nah. Jet Life.”
As we know, Curren$y’s label fallout has allotted him space and creative control to carve out a smoked-out lane in the underground. His cult following is admirable, and far less toxic than you’d expect for a man with this dedicated a fan base. Spitta is charismatic as they come, but his success is also due in large part to his consistency. Project after project, including his most recent offerings Parking Lot Music (release on March 28) and his 4/20 Air Freshna EP, Curren$y boasts knocking production and focused, unctuous flows that reek of swagger.
How Curren$y is able to consistently release such quality tunes at such a blistering rate without burning out we may never know, but why complain about a good thing? With a seemingly airtight release model, it’s easy to wonder if he worries for Wayne, considering his music has been under Birdman’s lock and key.
“I think at this point, everything is just learning,” he says of Wayne’s situation. “He learned hella, hella lessons. I don’t think you regret anything that you learn from. I wouldn’t feel like he would regret it, because he learned it. That’s game he got now. He’s still got time left.”
As for a Wayne comeback? “Fuck yeah, fuckin' right,” he assures. “It’s in the process right now. You can’t wipe him out of the fuckin' game. There’s words he made up that people use. You know what I’m saying? You can’t wipe him out.”
Amidst his Lil Wayne praise, it’s a wonder if Spitta can comprehend his own legacy. His concerted fanbase knows his music top to bottom, but with such an expansive catalog and the advent of streaming, it's easy to wonder how much of the market is simply missing Curren$y’s best—or Curren$y, period—because of sample clearance issues across most of his mixtape catalog. Excluding deluxe editions, Spotify currently only has 15 of Curren$y’s projects available for streaming. Yes, “only.” As for getting those clearances, Spitta has yet to consider it.
“That’s a move that sounds pretty good,” he admits. “There’s original records on Fast Times [at Ridgemont Fly] that I didn’t think we could do anything with, that’s why I was putting the tapes out every month. So if we could cash out on some of that shit and build like a ragtop ‘58 or something, that’d be cool. My manager right there, I know he heard it. He don’t trip, we gon’ see what we can do.”
A world with thousands of hours of Curren$y tracks, on-demand, right at our fingertips? Hip-hop may not have earned it, but we sure would appreciate the music.
Additional reporting by Ethan Merrill.