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Curren$y, “The Stoned Immaculate” – Album Review

Jet Life Recordings/Warner Brothers (2012)

Though he’s touting The Stoned Immaculate as his studio debut, even the most casual of observers could point out that NoLa-based MC Curren$y has been recording music in studios and releasing that music for profit since at least 2002. In fact, if you’re willing to take Wikipedia at its word, it would appear that The Stoned Immaculate is actually Curren$y’s eighth studio outing. A series of blown release dates, record label squabbles and unfortunate forestallments of momentum may have scuppered Curren$y’s previous releases, but at the end of this lengthy wait, Curren$y has produced an album of greater cohesion and maturity than his talent would have allowed for back in 2002.

As opposed to previous releases, on which Curren$y relied heavily on producer/collaborator Monsta Beatz, The Stoned Immaculate culls its musical constituent from a murderer’s row of infamous beat-makers. Tracks by Big K.R.I.T. (who also contributes a guest verse), Pharrell and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League adapt themselves to Curren$y’s sultry, lackadaisical style, creating a seamless sonic pallet eerily well suited to the man’s talents.

Atop this fabric of downtempo funk and perma-fried dub, Curren$y invites a shocking number of hip-hop’s foremost heat seekers to ply their trade. Of the album’s 13 (non-bonus) tracks, 10 contain guest verses from the likes of Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz and Wale. His impressive friends serve as yet another reminder that Curren$y has been at this for a while, and that his extended stay in the waiting room has not been wasted.

The Stoned Immaculate provides evidence aplenty of Curren$y’s comfort with his loping lyrical style. Though he occasionally lists toward the thematic wasteland of pop hip-hop’s perpetual money lust, Curren$y tempers this predilection with the melancholy observations of a ruminative stoner. On “Chasin’ Paper” (which, btw, features an impeccable hook courtesy of Pharrell), Curren$y raps, “Chasin’ that paper like it stole something of mine / It did though, friends killed over small bills.” “Capitol” includes the following bit of cleverness, directed at Curren$y’s imitators, some of whom went on to much greater renown while the man himself was waiting in the wings: “Watching these n***as borrow game…consider those my rebel kids / Clashing with they father figure, they know they want to be just like him.”

Despite his mumbling flow and above-board preference for weed, the temptation to compare Curren$y to Snoop Dogg is nearly nonexistent. Lurking behind Curren$y’s Jet Life shout-outs and odes to the tinted window is a hunger foreign to all but the earliest of Snoop’s recordings. A solid decade of frustrations would have sapped the energy from a lesser talent, but Curren$y spent his wandering years building a reputation amongst his peers and sharpening an already impressive lyrical sensibility to a murderous point. The Stoned Immaculate suggests that bitterness resides somewhere amongst that struggle’s motivating factors, but in this case, the creative and commercial payoffs look like they were well worth the wait.

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About the Author


Shane Danaher's affection for pop music has peppered his adult life with a variety of aesthetically rewarding and financially disastrous decisions. After moving to Portland, Oregon for college (because that's where he heard Modest Mouse was from) Shane has wound up participating in the music world in roles ranging from 'drummer' to 'promoter' to 'bathroom floor scrubber.' He has toured without money, written about almost every band ever to have come out of the Pacific Northwest, and one time traveled all the way to Los Angeles just to see a catch hip-hop show. He currently resides in Portland, where he writes about hip-hop, pop and rock music for a variety of publications. He still plays drums. He wants to meet Kanye West.

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