Jermaine Dupri and Curren$y would appear–to the naked eye–to be on opposite spectrums of Hip Hop’s hierarchical landscape. JD, a multi-platinum producer, artist, and executive with accomplishments in multiple genres and decades – while Curren$y (although a very talented rapper with a solid catalog) is as independent and “to himself” as they come. Which is why when the two linked up to create a joint album titled For Motivational Use Only, initially there were more questions than answers.

For more context on this mysterious new bromance, look no further than track #5 on Curren$y’s 2021 project Collection Agency. The track is titled “Jermaine Dupri” because Curren$y wanted to mimic the same motivational aura he claims JD’s 2001 MTV Cribs episode gave him at a young age. JD heard the track, linked up with Curren$y and the rest is Jet Life / So So Def history.

The album only spans 22 minutes across 7 songs which helps and hinders.  The brevity helps fans listen and digest easily but the short runway doesn’t allow any chemistry between the two to flourish. Now, they don’t need to be inseparable best friends to make a good album, but it does feel a bit forced, at times awkward, and perhaps rushed.

The intro track, “So So Jets,” tries to get listeners on-board with this cross collaboration right away as JD doesn’t waste any time talking his shit, asking the listeners: “Y’all keep makin’ all these hip-hop lists, excludin’ me?” It’s a fair question coming from an executive and producer that has been steadily giving the world hits since he was 19. Furthermore, he seems to also be speaking for Spitta here, who can be criminally underrated when it comes to the ever debatable “listicles.” Perhaps being chronically over-looked is something the pair bonded over and fueled the creation of this album.

The beats are solid and the rhyming is up-to-par, but there just simply aren’t enough exciting moments for listeners to rally behind. Sure, Curren$y has always had a very relaxed, stoner-esque flow, but things get even more dull with some of JD’s pairing beats. “Essence Fest” is groovy to start but loses momentum quickly and, despite having harder hitting drums, “Screens Fallin” is a quick skip. Throughout the project Curren$y is so laid back he’s damn-near horizontal.

There are two features on the project – one significantly better than the other. 2 Chainz appears on “Off The Lot,” which is similar to the rest of the album; cool, calm and a little sedated. Chainz’s verse sounds mildly pacified to match the underwhelming beat. “Never Fall Off,’ on the other hand, is perhaps the best track on the album. JD gets busy on the song’s production, finally giving at least one song a heavy bass and snappy 808 drum pattern.

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Curren$y delivers an expectedly solid verse but T.I. takes off his stand-up comedy hat and replaces it with a perfectly tilted Braves fitted, absolutely dunks on the entire album with his featured verse. He bobs and weaves through the beat, switching his flow and tone on the tun of a rhyme. “You know TIP bought gas, never hit-hit brakes/If he did, then it must have been a big mistake/What a big disgrace, for goodness sake” is said with such ferocity, listeners might think the king of the south might actually be back on his throne.

After the dust settles on “Never Fall Off,” Curren$y delivers the most important and enriching song on the album entitled “Fortunate 500.” While still getting some subtle flexes off, Curren$y mainly focusing on delivering financial literacy game with lines like “I heard that you should buy a company every chance you get, pinpoint the downfalls and revamp that shit” as well as “My son know the difference between a start-up house and what a mansion is.” Of course this is all performed over a silky smooth beat to the point that Spitta sounds like an old, wise man dishing out free game to all that will listen. These moments are great reminders that Curren$y is a top notch rapper with a conversational flow that should be praised, despite its underwhelming tone at times.

JD and Curren$y are legends in their own respects. No one should doubt, question or even think otherwise. That, however, doesn’t excuse them from putting out a lukewarm joint album. The dull moments heavily outweigh the exciting ones and listeners might be more inclined to just revisit the artists’ solo catalogs after the 22 minutes is up instead of hitting replay on this project. This is supposedly only the first installment of a series – so there could be improvement on the next offering. For now, it is recommended that listeners go elsewhere for any type of motivation.