Don’t be alarmed if you’ve never heard the name Curren$y. While the rapper has been in the conversations of many hip-hop enthusiasts for the past couple of years, and it’s true that he’s been actively appearing on the major music scene since 2000, Curren$y has in no way hit the mainstream. In his smooth, meditative major label debut, Pilot Talk, Curren$y takes his first big step to doing just that.
For many years, Curren$y was a sidekick, second fiddle on the then brand-new Lil Wayne headed label, Young Money. It was only when his former mentor threw him a bone that he got the opportunity to display his talents. After his Young Money era, Curren$y followed the blueprint set by many rappers before him, rising to relevance by releasing a string of free albums, at one point releasing the mixtapes monthly. This exposure led him to form an alliance with fellow self-proclaimed pothead, Wiz Khalifa, and to join forces with Def Jam. All of the sudden, Curren$y was back in the public scope, setting the stage for Pilot Talk.
Pilot Talkis actually Curren$y’s third studio album. The album opens with the rock influenced “Example,” which features heavy electric guitar and sets the album off on the right foot. Curren$y brags that he’s “an example of what can happen when you quit being afraid to gamble.”
The album features executive production by Damon Dash and Ski Beatz. Though it is a hip-hop and rap album, Pilot Talk features silky instrumentals that often times mesh effortlessly with Curren$y’s raspy but tranquil voice. This tactic best heard on gems like “Audio Dope II,” “Breakfast,” and “The Day.”
The latter is by far the best track on the album, and Curren$y enlists some help from hip-hop legend Mos Def and the rising Jay Electronica.
While most songs are packaged well and shed adequate light on Curren$y’s effortless flow, lyrically the album lacks—tremendously. He pushes himself to what is probably his full lyrical potential in “Life Under the Scope” with less than amazing lines like, “Incense and fresh linen/I spit a complex venom/The real n**gas it strengthens/The fake n**gas it kills them.” Occasionally, Curren$y fails to even rhyme line to line, like on “The Hangover,” “Prioritize” and “Chilled Coughphee.”
Curren$y and his Smokers Club Tour makes a stop at the Loft (1374 West Peachtree St.) on Saturday, Oct. 16. Other acts include Big K.R.I.T and Smoke DZA. The all-ages show costs $15 in advance, or $25 at the door.