I’m going to tell you something that might shock you quite deeply – I think the rapper Curren$y likes smoking marijuana. I’m not saying this because he’s black – I’m not some mad racist who thinks that it’s still only jazz men who puff the herb. Curren$y states on numerous occasions throughout his new album, Pilot Talk, that he likes smoking weed – in fact, the album artwork revolves around a city buried underneath a rather large amount of weed and a car in Curren$y’s garage with its trunk stuffed with green. So, Curren$y likes weed: I’m not racist, great.
The album largely revolves around the rapper documenting his love of da ‘erb alongside other stuff – the recurring motif that stays with you after the album is Curren$y surveying the world through the windows of his private jet. Doing this should really be laughable – I like weed and I’m rich – but this album just sounds so frigging great that Curren$y could tell me that Emperor Palpatine is really the hero of the entire Star Wars trilogy and I’d believe him. His delivery is natural, and, though he never feels like he’s engaging in breathless, vocal virtuousity, his rapping is more than the sum of its parts. Curren$y doesn’t feel like he’s playing to a persona even when he’s regaling us with tales of his wealth – if anything, you’re inclined to believe him the more you listen.
It’s difficult for rappers to juggle the fame and fortune while staying true to their roots – rap is littered with great artists who end up on the scrap heap. Ice Cube is a good example of one such – every now and again he’ll guest on a song and pull something out so brilliant that you wonder why he relegates himself to cinematic shite that destroys the character that he took a decade to build. Curren$y manages to keep his boy-next-door appeal, even when he’s talking about jets and losing his Nintendo DS but not giving a shit (presumably because he can get a new one, what with all the money and stuff).
A great example of this, and possibly the best song on the album, is the second-to-last track “Address.” When he says on the chorus that “Ain’t nothing changed but the address,” you’re inclined to believe him. Following on from the great tradition of smooth G funk popularized by Warren G, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, Pilot Talk goes down so nicely that you’ll be pressing replay once the CD stops spinning. Credit really has to go to producer, Ski Beatz, for turning out one of the best sounding rap albums, musically speaking, since Dre’s 2001. The music backing up Curren$y and his various minions is so gorgeous that it’s easy to get lost in it all – there’s a seductive mix of live music and processed beats, and everything is so well layered that it cries out for a good pair of headphones to truly drink it all in.
Tracks to check out on YouTube are “King Kong,” “Address” and “Life Under the Scope.” You’d better hurry, though – part two of Pilot Talk (with the imaginative title of Pilot Talk 2) is due out on the Nov 16.