With Dr Dre’s Compton eclipsing everything else in hip-hop this past week, you could be forgiven for snoozing on some of the other new rap releases that have slipped under the radar.
Curren$y, one of the game’s most prolific emcees, quietly rolled out a seven-track EP, Cathedral, last Wednesday, produced entirely by New Orleans’ Chase N Cashe. It follows Even More Saturday Night Cartoons, released in April, which itself dropped just a couple of week after yet another full-length studio LP, Pilot Talk III.
That relentless release rate has become a hallmark of Curren$y’s career in recent years, one that has helped him attain a cult-hero status among fans. After a few false starts on the No Limit and Cash Money labels around the turn of the millennium, the man also known as Spitta Andretti later resurfaced on the independent circuit – churning out a steady stream of well-received mixtapes, EPs and full-length albums, his trademark lazy N’Awlins flow belying his tireless work ethic.
So to mark the release of Cathedral, and salute that renowned work-rate, we dig back into the Curren$y’s weighty back catalog to bring you 14 Spitta sure-shots.
“I’m Just Dope”
(The Jet Files, 2009)
Over a ridiculously dirty, sticky bass, we find the “hero unsung, champion uncongratulated” Spitta borrowing lines from Goodfellas as he spells out those JetLife origins to an unnamed female acquaintance: “She like, ‘What you involved in?’ I tell her construction/’Cause I really am, I built this whole empire from nothing…”
“Scared Of Monsters”
(This Ain’t No Mixtape, 2009)
On which Spitta’s rhymes drip battery acid as he rides in the time-travelling Back To The Future’s DeLorean. Throw in Tupac’s tears, a Californian Kama Sutra enthusiast, and Monsta Beatz’s trippy, stripped-down production, and it remains one of Curren$y’s strangest works.
“Flying Iron” featuring Fiend
Frequent collaborators and former No Limit Records alumni, Spitta and fellow New Orleans native Fiend display impressive chemistry on this classic reworking of Charles Bradley & the Menahan Street Band’s ‘The Telephone Song.’
“Audio Dope II”
(Pilot Talk, 2010)
With some slow-rolling steel drum samples hooked up by Ski Beatz as a backdrop, consider this Hot Spitta’s self-assured spin on the ol’ ‘rap game/crack game’ concept: “Money can be made out a rhyme/I can do it on the dime/Kick the shit out the beat until it die/Call CSI…”
“She Don’t Want A Man”
(Weekend At Burnie’s, 2011)
‘She Don’t Want A Man’ finds Curren$y in full reflective mode, putting down that spliff for a hot second to relay a tale of being tangled up with a married woman. Tapping into his considerable storytelling prowess, Spitta fully nixes any lingering notion that he’s just another weed rapper.
(Covert Coup, 2011)
On paper, Curren$y’s main topics of conversation – weed, women, cars and clothes – may seem like well-worn topics. To an extent, it’s true – Spitta’s subject matter can be fairly one-dimensional. But delivered in that unmistakable N’Awlins drawl, over this luxurious Alchemist-crafted beat (at a point when the renowned LA producer was enjoying a storming creative resurgence), it makes for compelling rap music.
“Scottie Pippen” featuring Freddie Gibbs
(Covert Coup, 2011)
“Showin’ no signs of letting up/Still kick you in the head like I think you on the verge of getting up…”, rhymes Spitta, before comparing himself to Cobra Kai and Cobra Command “spitting venom” – later adding how he’s “on that Popeye spinach”). Going toe-to-toe with Gangsta Gibbs, who brings the realness with lines such as “I’d rather be counting stacks than stuck in the county washing dishes”, it makes for one of the tougher, more hard-edged cuts in Curren$y’s catalog.
“The Jet Business”
(Verde Terrace, 2011)
Curren$y casts a watchful gaze over his whole operation, “switching the style up and letting my mini-me’s run that,” while money piles up against an ocean view backdrop. With the beat for Beanie Sigel & Jay Z’s ‘It’s On’ soundtracking the whole shebang, it makes for some vintage JetLife mood music.
(The Stoned Immaculate, 2012)
“Funeral services for this beat,” declares Spitta, leaning like the Tower of Pisa as he and JetLife pals Young Roddy and Trademark Da SkyDiver set out their rap hustle over Monsta Beatz’s block-rocking Middle Eastern-flavored production.
(Cigarette Boats, 2012)
The short-and-sweet five-track Cigarette Boats EP was a perfect pairing of Harry Fraud’s blissful, pastel-shaded Miami Vice theme music (among his best beats to date) and Curren$y’s hazy, blunted flow. La Musica de Harry Fraud!
“Leaving The Dock”
(Cigarette Boats, 2012)
Simply put, Harry Fraud lacing Curren$y with an awesome, brooding backdrop built around a sample of the Electric Light Orchestra’s epic ‘Another Heart Breaks’ remains one of the great hip-hop moments of the 2010s. A modern classic.
(New Jet City, 2013)
Spitta Andretti steps out in full chest-puffed-out stuntin’ mode alongside fellow weed enthusiast Wiz Khalifa and Rawse the Bawse, as the pumped-up, widescreen Lex Luger production hits the spot.
(The Drive-In Theater, 2014)
Hilary’s ‘70s soul-jazz groove ‘The Wanderer’ provides a smooth, summery soundtrack for Spitta’s effortless flow and Blaxploitation-themed verse, which packs in references to OGs, apprentices and Cochise from Cooley High.
(Pilot Talk III, 2015)
Another muscular riposte to his detractors, ‘Lemonade Mimosas’ – from this year’s fine Pilot Talk III – sees Curren$y thumbing his nose at the haters, as he rolls to the bank with “no tint on the windows/Sharks in the fish tank chilling…”