Perhaps Hip Hop’s most affable stoner next to Snoop Dogg, (with respect owed to a soured deal with one-time Rap mogul Dame Dash) Curren$y has risen from a mildly interesting Cash Money Records prospect to a self-made name. A highly unpredictable case of independent success, he’s become a surefire inspiration to a world of aspiring onlookers. With staunch advocates buying into an overall brand including his “Jet Life” slogan and the widely touted Pilot Talk series, Curren$y tours on the merits of consistent albums and mixtapes, a loophole allowing him to shirk the effects of piracy on record sales. Presently placing himself at the mercy of Atlantic Records, Canal Street Confidential is his second LP of 2015 and concurrently his first commercial release in years.
Usually known to take a more mellow approach in his work, Canal Street Confidential is Curren$y making a swift departure from the norm. Whether adapting with the times, experimenting outside of his comfort zone or jumping in murky waters to play industry reindeer games, Spitta risks confusing (if not altogether disappointing) his trusting audience. This year’s highly favored mumble-mouthed codeine captain Future sounds coolly lavish as usual (albeit a bit indecipherable) on “Drive By,” but the problem lies in Curren$y appearing out of place on his own body of work. Another glaring example of this flaw is the R&B banger “Bottom Of The Bottle” where fellow New Orleans natives Lil Wayne and August Alsina are most notable. Primarily working with 808 Mafia affiliate Purps, the tracks are of professional quality, yet the majority are a poor fit with the performances Curren$y is capable of delivering.
Curren$y’s attempts at switching up his poise and chill demeanor fall short, but for a small portion of Canal Street Confidential he remembers where his bread is buttered. A tandem worthy of comparison to Redman & Method Man, he and kindred spirit Wiz Khalifa join forces on the slowed up “Winning” to celebrate their shared passion for marijuana and getting ahead in life. Highlights appear towards the project’s tail end including the electric interlude length “Cruzin,” and “Superstar” where Curren$y and Ty Dolla $ign find inspiration over a funky bass line and booming drums. The trap-tinged high adrenaline “Boulders” is what works most in his favor, but unfortunately fans suffer through long spells of mediocrity before things improve.
Largely unmemorable and full of cameos that only wind up watering down Curren$y’s potential for excellence, Canal Street Confidential is a textbook case of an artist with a cult following attempting to make use of a greater budget. Possibly the result of label interference, he trades innovation for collaborations that neither guarantee new fans or manage to impress believers. While he toys with the idea of making catchy hits, it’s at the cost of damaging his well-respected track record to date. Curren$y has certainly done enough right over the years to not be written off any time soon, but he’s at his best when sticking to his guns without catering to the masses and corporate interests.