Give Them Their Roses - Curren$y

This series will highlight specific artists/albums in an attempt to give people their roses while they are here to smell them. There are times where we as fans may take some of these works of art for granted to an extent, so this is to rectify that notion.

Labelling New Orleans-based legendary rapper, Curren$y, as just a "weed rapper" is doing the man an extreme disservice. It’s severely limiting his content to what is just a fraction of what he chooses to rap about. The artist nicknamed "The Hot Spitta" (or just Spitta) provides rhymes about his everyday life, motivation, details about the benefits of being independent and staying true to yourself, his extensive car collection, the women he interacts with in his life, and everything in between. And yes, weed is included in that algorithm. The former No Limit and Young Money signee has made a big name for himself in the past 11-12 years with an extensive collection of mixtapes and albums that all contain his signature seemingly awkward flows and rhyme cadences over smooth, airy instrumentals that give his rhyme style ample room to breathe and exude his cool all over it. His charisma shines through on every instrumental he picks to the point where he has earned the highest of respect from his contemporaries and legends before him (more on that later).

Shante Franklin is a product of his influences which ranges from Devin the Dude, Pimp C, Camp Lo and Scarface. He takes certain elements from each of these guys (the stoner raps from Devin, the bluntness and cool from Pimp C, the ability to practically create his own language like Camp Lo and real-life game giving of Face) and incorporates a new style and way of rapping to it. To the unaware ear, it may sound like Curren$y is just talking over beats and rhyming on occasion (that was a weak critique that I had of him before he really clicked for me). Around the time when the "blog era" really started to pop off (a period of rap where internet blogs were beginning to break new artists and mixtapes became an online thing exclusively), I kept hearing him featured on projects from fellow up and coming artists such as Wale, Big KRIT and Wiz Khalifa (whom he released an entire collab project with in 2009 with How Fly). In 2011, he dropped Covert Coup – a mixtape that was solely produced by legendary producer, The Alchemist. That immediately sparked my interest because I know what Al is going to bring but how is this New Orleans emcee going to rock over his beats? It was literally a match made in Heaven. Spitta's style had not fully clicked for me yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed how he flowed over soulful instrumentals.

Over the next decade or so, he continued to expand his discography and become one of the hardest working independent rappers of his era. I would typically check them out when they dropped and could get at least a couple of songs from each tape that would stick for me. In 2020, he dropped his third project with acclaimed producer, Harry Fraud, called The OutRunners and this was the moment that Spitta finally really clicked for me. Specifically, the song “Gold and Chrome”, where he raps about his newly attained fatherhood status, wishing joy and prosperity for his son in the form of riding in old school cars like his dad did before the world closed (due to the pandemic). He also spits about how that pandemic affected his life and his community, even stating that he lost a friend to the deadly virus. He states that it hit him even harder around that time because we were also dealing with civil unrest as a country following the murder of George Floyd by police officers. It was a poignant song that is climbing the ranks as one of my favorite songs ever. This song/project was so great that it inspired me to go back and revisit his past projects and they hit even harder now that I have fully adjusted to his style with a more mature ear this time around.

Curren$y’s hip-hop range for a Southern rap artist is quite vast when you really analyze it. He has rapped with legends such as: Raekwon, Styles P. Jadakiss, Prodigy of Mobb Deep (R.I.P.), Juvenile and Devin The Dude. He has spit among nearly all his blog era contemporaries such as Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Freddie Gibbs, and Mac Miller (also R.I.P.). In recent years, he has even collaborated with rappers that are establishing themselves in this most recent generation such as Lil Yachty, Larry June, Cordae and Guapdad 4000. You would be hard pressed to find a rapper that has made noise in the past 10 years that has not worked with Spitta in some way, shape or form. Any rapper who has had the opportunity to do multiple projects with The Alchemist has to be properly respected. While he has not attained the mainstream sales that some of his peers have experienced, his status as an independent rapper with a sustained legacy that spans well over a decade has established him as great inspiration for generations to follow.

Written by: Alandre Davis | Twitter @Dre__843
Edited by: Dithekgo Mogadime | Twitter @DithekgoM

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