Curren$y has been bubbling on the New Orleans underground circuit for quite a while. Although dealings with Master P’s No Limit Records were met with brushes of success, it took eastern exposure on behalf of music mogul Dame Dash to put the man dubbed “Spitta” into a more prolific arena. After a slew of independent releases and recognition from XXL, Mr. Dash acquired Curren$y as one of his flagship artists for the newly revived Roc-A-Fella brand (now coined BluRoc). The duo decided to take it back to the essence on Spitta’s major label debut, Pilot Talk, with production tracing its roots back to Dash’s early business partner, Jay-Z. The album is comprised almost solely on production provided by Ski Beatz, most renowned for his work on Reasonable Doubt. With undeniable chemistry between Curren$y and Ski, the two manage to bring out the best in each other’s work throughout the course of Pilot Talk.
Ski sets the album off with an epic vibe as a melodically overdriven guitar guides Curren$y smoothly over the beat. Curren$y chalks his success up to taking chances, boasting, “I’m an example/ of what can happen when you quit being afraid to gamble/shook the dice and rolled/when n*ggas like you would’ve stayed shook and froze.” Ski Beatz brings back a similar guitar sample with precise execution on the Snoop Dogg assisted “Seat Change.” Touching on relationship quarrels, Curren$y spits about leaving a girl behind, while masking it in the metaphor of an occupied seat. He goes on to use the album’s lead single, “King Kong,” to prove why he’s worthy of being called Spitta. Boasting like Denzel in Training Day that “King Kong ain’t got sh*t on me,” Curren$y transitions from equally lavish bars such as “holding the title with the precision of a hunter’s rifle/shots fired/the forest too quiet/trees ignited/fall back baby girl, let me get high chick.” In the midst of this, the album does have some blunders. “Audio Dope” is smoked out, but the production is not particularly impressive. In addition, it’s apparent that Curren$y’s drawl is both his biggest strength and weakness. At times he just slurs through words without enthusiasm while at other times it works perfectly with his delivery.
Listeners of Curren$y expect intoxicants to be the theme of most of his songs, and he delivers on that. While Ski Beatz steps aside, Monsta Beatz provides a solid production on “Roasted” featuring well-placed appearances by Trademark and Young Roddy. Spitta uses some intricate wordplay to brag, “the hearts of women melt/when trilla lyrics are felt/Olympic swimming in bitches, Michael slash Leon Phelps.” Getting high comes into play once again on the aptly-titled “Skybourne.” Ski returns with a soulful sample reminiscent of ’90s Outkast, as Smoke DZA and Big K.R.I.T. also remain on topic, with DZA delivering some cleaver one-liners (“make a living off Sour D/they lied, money really do grow off trees.“) “The Hangover” is anything, but head-pounding. Backed by an uplifting beat, Curren$y laces the track with a dope flow while The Cool Kids’ Mikey Rocks remains laidback as ever. The album’s standout track, “The Day,” comes with the assistance of Mos Def and Jay Electronica. The fans get to hear a preview of the newly-formed trio, Center Edge Territory, as the New Orleans natives, Curren$y and Jay Electronica deliver over a Ski beat. Mos Def actually lends his hands to the production on “Breakfast,” which sounds inspired by the likes of MF Doom and Madlib. The song doesn’t pack a serious punch despite a rendition of The Karate Kid’s “You’re the Best Around.” At this point, Curren$y reminds us what his “Priorities” are. Although most of the track is about inhaling large quantities of tree, Spitta insists, “some people are like sheep/I got no mercy for the weak/especially when n*ggas next to me ain’t ready to eat/I put them in position to get them, I’m getting me.” Fellow pothead, Devin The Dude chimes in and clowns over a humorous sample on “Chilled Coughee.” Curren$y goes on to brag about the amount he blazes in style alongside Stalley, with successful results. The album’s closer stays in the same vein and isn’t anything extraordinary.
Pilot Talk has a much larger feel to it than Curren$y’s earlier work, as it should. Although the topics can get monotonous, listeners should understand what they are getting into based on Curren$y’s track record. Standing at a light thirteen tracks, Curren$y has managed to compile his best work onto a single album rather than releasing a large body of mediocrity. In this day and age where rappers saturate the market with a debilitating influx of mixtape releases, it’s good to know that Curren$y recognizes quality over quantity has more meaning than just dealing with the Chronic.