Friday, December 10, 2010

Curren$y - Pilot Talk II (Album Review)

While the roach was still burning from Pilot Talk, Curren$y dropped Pilot Talk II four short months later on November 22nd.  One of the most refreshing and creative emcees in hip hop, Curren$y has also proved to be one of the hardest working; churning out music at a sickening volume with 10 mixtapes and 4 albums released since 2008.

From a conventional perspective, Curren$y’s creativity is paradoxical.  Every song is essentially about the same thing; potent weed, cuckoldry, and his affinity for jets and muscle cars.  However, his smooth, stream of conscience flow is so crafty that the limited subject matter never loses its novelty.  Referring to cops as “Carl Winslows” and dope songs as “crack lacerations” is what makes Curren$y truly unique.

It takes a very astute ear to catch of all of Curren$y’s punchlines as they are not thrown in your face, but rather insinuated through his effortlessly calm southern drawl.  Rhymes like “scribblin’ fire on the street car named desire” pays homage to both the classic film A Street Car Named Desire starring Marlon Brando and New Orleans; the setting of the film as well as Curren$y’s hometown. 

And at the risk of condescension, I will say that only a true rap aficionado can fully appreciate Curren$y.  On one of my favorite tracks on the album, “Fashionably Late,” he starts his verse with “New Orleans, the narcotics draped in metal and fiber optics/ ‘cause dog bitches attracted to shiny objects/but I guess y’all can kick it/Phife Dog, Q-Tip it/we all Souls of Mischief.”    The first line being a sampled rhyme from the Black Star classic, “Respiration,” which is also the same song that's playing at the beginning of the “King Kong” music video ( the first single off Pilot Talk).  The second being a pun on Phife Dog and Q-Tip’s (collectively known as A Tribe Called Quest) song, “Can I Kick It?”  And finally a tribute to underground Oakland hip hop group, Souls of Mischief.  Consistent with his goal to deliver quality hip-hop, Curren$y is always honoring the legends of the genre. 

In the original Pilot Talk, Curren$y worked almost exclusively with New York veteran Ski Beatz behind the boards and this time is no different.  To avoid sample clearance issues, Ski employed his band, “The Senseis” to simply rework the samples and tailor it to his vision.  The end result is 12 tracks of beautifully rendered live instrumentation that leaves one with lingering daze of an easy afternoon.  Chill nirvana.  The sounds are more aqueous; smoother and funkier than PT1 which fits Curren$y perfectly.  

A few features were left out (most notably, Erykah Badu and Jay Electronica) in order for the album to meet its release date, but even still Pilot Talk II will be one of the best projects of this year.  Early on Curren$y vows to “kill these beats humane fashion, painless,” to which he gets a resounding round of applause.  Mission accomplished.

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