yes, this is the one tradition on my tumblr I actually intend on keeping. I simply post pictures of my favorite albums (and mixtapes) from the last four months, with no captions nor anything else because that’s why I write genuine reviews. These last four months have produced some amazing music, and below I post some of my favorites that stay on (near) constant rotation. Also, I’m including anything from the first week of October (which is why Flockaveli will be on here).
Ya’ll ready know Spitta’s backstory, so let’s just get to the music here. Pilot Talk is a hard album to critique; not because it doesn’t leave anything to be written about, or that it’s so blunt (no blunts were used in the production of this album - easy-widers and bamboo were, certainly) that it leaves no room for expression. The bottom line is that Curren$y’s major label debut is just so much goddamned fun, that even if it weren’t so refreshing and easy to listen to, it’d be impossible to hate.
Curren$y reminds me a lot of the rap I grew up listening to. While he may have been born and raised in New Orleans, the MC who now calls New York his second-home shares a lot more in common with Ghostface, Cam’ron, and Big L than he does with Master P, Juvenile, and the Big Tymers. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have the N’awlins drawl, or the charisma of those artists; it’s just that his mildly abstract flow and rhyme scheme is more similar to those who were raised in Harlem than anyone who came from one of New Orlean’s infamous Wards. The chunky soul production provided is more reminiscent of The Blueprint and Supreme Clientele than it is of Ghetto D or 400 Degreez. Despite that, Curren$y takes both influences from both cultures and makes something unique out of it that’s all his own.
In a lotta ways, this album reminds me of Devin The Dude (who guests on the hilarious Chilled Coughphee) and his own Just Tryin’ Ta Live. It’s an album for smokers by smokers, but anyone can throw it on and Just Enjoy This Shit. His flow is like a blunted combination of Devin’s syrupy-drawl and Redman’s funkadelic eccentricism, with an ability to weave in and out of beats that would smother inferior rappers with ease. This is evident from the intro, Example, which isn’t a very long track, but more than serves its purpose for setting the tone of the album. Over Ski’s beat mixed with live instrumentation, Spitta encourages his listeners to take more risks in life, and maybe one day they’ll be able to get down with the planes too.
Audio Dope II is the superior sequel, in my opinion, to the good, yet lusterless original from Smokee Robinson. The clunky drum and bass provided by Ski Beatz sounds like a more Northern rendition of something Drumma Boy would provide to Young Jeezy, and Curren$y rides it with ease, going along with the concept that his music is a narcotic. With the insane amount of times I’ve listened to this album since yesterday, I’ll certainly agree with that.
King Kong was the first single from Pilot Talk, and remains my favorite song. When I first heard this track, as anyone who followed me when I started this blog would be able to tell you, I really wasn’t a fan. Granted, I’d also heard a very lo-fi rip of it, so that could’ve been the reason. Since then, it’s grown on me immensely; the bubbling synths really give you the feeling of being a 20-story ape atop the Empire State Building, swatting pilots outta the sky. Curren$y’s lyrics tell the story of the Jet Life like only he can; stuff like the view from my rockin’ chair you would not believe are the type of imagery intwined with boastfulness that only someone like Curren$y can provide.
Seat Change contains one of the best Snoop Dogg verses in recent memory, and although this song originally contained Wiz Khalifa before sample-clearances forced Spitta to alter it, Snoop more than fits in here. He nearly steals the show with his double-time flow, but Spitta isn’t letting that shit happen, reciting a hazey verse of his own equally great. The two hippies are a perfect fit for this Ski Beatz gem, and this isn’t even the best the album has to offer.
Breakfast is the first of few non-Ski Beatz produced songs on here, and the Mighty Mos Def provided the instrumental for this track (as well as the strange interpolation of the Karate Kid theme at the end; I get the connection, but I mean, really?). Regardless, Spitta goes in on this track, which was remixed for the album, and sounds much better on it. The fact that Curren$y can make rapping about playing NBA2K on his Xbox more interesting than most conscious rapper’s political anthems and gangsta rapper’s drug tales is just a statement made by Curren$y’s charismatic persona.
Monstabeatz, the main producer for Curren$y’s This Ain’t No Mixtape, lends his hand for his only production credit on the album, Roasted. This MF DOOM-esque instrumental (complete with livin’ like a villain imagery in the chorus) is perfect for Spitta and his Jets compadres Young Roddy and Trademark Da Skydiver to jump on. A perfect smoking anthem, even if Spitta’s little homies aren’t quite the rapper he is.
Ski Beatz returns behind the boards for Skybourne, and ever since I saw the trailer for this song, I can’t stop picturing those two parking valets from Ferris Bueller cruising around in Cameron’s dad’s Ferarri everytime I listen to this song. Skybourne is a lot like a sequel to Big K.R.I.T.’s No Wheaties, as it boasts the same rappers (Curren$y, K.R.I.T., and the Curren$y-lite Smoke DZA) and also features sample heavy production. It’s a respectable follow-up to that song, and a dope posse cut in general.
The Hangover is one of my favorite joints from the album, and features Mikey Rocks from The Cool Kids. These two stoned-philosophers spit about, well, partying, and the lurching that generally comes included with it the day after. Never have I heard a song about hangovers seem so whimsically, but fugg it, it’s Curren$y. He can make anything sound delightful.
The Day is the first recording from Center Edge Territory, the trio of Curren$y, Mos Def, and Jay Electronica. Ski provided some boom-bap for Curren$y and Jay to spit over, and Mos to uh, sing through an echo-filter over. That dude’s just getting stranger everyday. Regardless, it’s a dope song, although not the grandiose statement some fans were waiting for. Jay easily steals the show, as expected, but Curren$y holds down the fort on his opening verse.
Prioritize (Beeper Bills) is reminscent of early Mobb Deep to me with Nesby Phips’ instrumental. The anxiety-laden beat sounds exactly like something Havoc would’e laid down on The Infamous or Hell On Earth, and Curren$y tunes his flow accordingly for this song, making this one of the more maniacal tracks in Spitta’s discography.
Following up the album’s darkest jam is its lightest; Chilled Coughphee with Devin is about as lighthearted as you can get. The beat is on some stoned Mr. Rogers shit; Devin and Curren$y are clowning like some motherfuggers on this joint. You don’t get rap this charming these days often, so I appreciate this joint even more for not taking itself seriously (and ending before it can wear out its silly welcome).
The album closes with Address and Life Under The Scope, two joints which have been floating around for most of the year. Address is as dope as it’s ever been; Spitta glides across the beat like Tom Cruise in some socks, and the beat, with an understated gothic choir and aquatic sound effects/finger snaps is mesmorising. Stalley does his thing on here, earning his guest appearance, although never touching the verse that Curren$y laid down before him.
Life Under The Scope has been remixed and remastered from it’s earlier incarnation, and for the better. Ski Beatz’ re-crafting the beat did a lot to help the original, slightly barren recording, and this track is the perfect way to close out the album. Containing some synths reminscent of a night out in Miami in the 80’s and some hi-hats, along with a twinkling piano, this joint is just, simply, perfect. Curren$y handles solo-duties on here, and he’s more than capable of a rapper on his own despite the fact that most of this album features guests. That fact only makes Curren$y’s solo moments even sweeter.
Bottom line is, Pilot Talk is flawless. It may not be album of the year, but it’s definitely a contendor for it, and may end up there when the year closes. Curren$y isn’t the best rapper alive, but dude is pretty fucking great and engaging with his flows. Ski Beatz is a monster on the boards, and he should get producer of the year with this shit. It’s not an instant classic, but again, it’s pretty fucking close, and I believe it’ll leave a legacy; this is no flash in the pan release. Buy Pilot Talk. Support Spitta for all the free music he’s released and all the shit he’s been through over the last 10 years or so in the music industry. He deserves it. If anything, the album’s artwork is the best you’re gonna see all year.