Putting out two albums in one year is not easy, but making them good albums is even harder. Rick Ross did it last year and stumbled with minor to serious injuries, and Curren$y, a new acquisition of Atlantic Records, just did it this year, following up April’s Pilot Talk III with this month’s Canal Street Confidential (Dec. 4). Atlantic is a daughter company of Warner Music Group, and Curren$y has done business with Warner in the past. Previous “Spitta Andretti” albums Weekend at Burnie’s and The Stoned Immaculate were both released in cooperation with WMG so Canal is simply another make-up of their relationship, just under a different name. Unlike Pilot Talk III though, which was purely a Jet Life Recordings project, Canal has that major label finish smell to it vis-à-vis its lack of artistic risk taking, but it’s classic Curren$y and that’s the only thing that matters in this groovy, mostly appetizing and easily digestible LP.
With pal Future not in the chorus but in a verse, Curren$y kills with swagger in “Drive By” over an industrial dance beat and teaches his pupils how to think ten steps ahead of the gold diggers in “Everywhere.” “How High” gets ‘her’ in the mood, and “What’s Up” with K Camp is set aside for some good old maxing, relaxing and macking. Can you see the trend? So far, Curren$y has mostly played the player card, and that’s mainly how the rest of the album plays out too, with a few rare exceptions that is. With buddy Wiz Khalifa in “Winning,” he celebrates career-arrival but makes the mistake of equating personal pleasure and gain with success, and “Bottom of the Bottle” is just a sexy, low-key New Orleans party with NOLA friends Lil Wayne and August Alsina. After riding around in “Cruzin,” S. Andretti puts it together for his main lady in “Superstar” with help from Ty Dolla $ign, and in “All Wit My Hands,” he wraps up his business by getting busy with braggadocio ironically enough.
Conservatively Curren$y, Canal Street Confidential twinkles with all his stylish wonders, but obviously, in the short time he had to conceive of it, he had few amazingly fresh ideas because it is short on new notes and sounds. That said, Canal is traditional Curren$y in all his spectacular, nonviolent ways and mannerisms and that’s really saying a lot. He is always mindful and careful to infuse his verses with dynamic lyrics and warm welcoming feelings, and he has accomplished that plus created lasting value in this new album. One might say he sounds winded or is and always has been just another grinding rap styler with ghetto sensibilities, but here like before he is simply a strong emcee with unique style that can be enjoyed by literally everyone. Vocally, he may not challenge himself greatly and the beats (by Purps, Cool & Dre, Cookin’ Soul, etc.) may not force him to either but with awesome vibes and sweet rhyming, Curren$y again proves here why the value of his musical currency always stays high.