Rap in the mixtape era is all about diversity. Because of the sheer number of rappers people can find on the internet, there are different styles and sub-genres for people of every taste. And since most of these rappers are still trying to get famous, a lot of these mixtapes are of album quality. Curren$y’s latest mixtape, New Jet City, is no exception.
Curren$y has been making album quality mixtapes for a while. Some highlights include Smokee Robinson, Return to the Winner’s Circle, and Verde Terrace. If you are unacquainted with Curren$y’s style, then it may take a while to get used to. Curren$y is not a lyrical rapper. He mostly sticks to lines about girls, cars, and drugs. You should not come into a Curren$y album expecting a journey or exploration of complicated themes. While Spitta definitely drops some cool, quotable lines, his writing is mediocre at best.
But that is not the reason to listen to anything Curren$y has ever done. Curren$y is all about the atmosphere he provides. He is easily the most listenable rapper I’ve ever heard. I could honestly listen to him rap for forty minutes straight completely A Capella. The way he mushes lines together is fascinating. Most rappers use a very staccato style. One line is separated completely and succinctly. Curren$y on the other hand uses a completely different technique, where the spaces between lines are less about drawing attention to the rhymes, and more about bringing focus to particularly interesting lines. A prime example of this on New Jet City is “Living For the City”. Curren$y’s style is hard to pull off, and there is no better evidence for this than the various Young Roddy cameos on the tape. Roddy is Curren$y’s protoge, and while he is very good at the mushy-mouthed style, he is clearly no Curren$y, and it shows that while Curren$y may sound like he isn’t trying very hard, his music is not so easy to pull off.
Speaking of cameos, New Jet City features quite a few big ones. The beauty of Curren$y’s style is that it makes his guest spots feel all the more important. Even if his guests are mediocre, the contrast they provide makes the verse they drop all the more interesting. Take for example, Jadakiss on the early tape track “Clear”. Jadakiss hasn’t dropped a good verse in years. In fact, I was ninety-eight percent sure he had died. Yet the force and ferocity he provides on “Clear”, while not necessarily all that fierce on your standard mixtape, sounds all the more so on a Curren$y tape. Trademark drops a very great feature on “Coolie in the Cut”, and for his voice is so prominent on the song it might as well be his. Wiz Khalifa drops his best verse since Kush & OJ on “Choosin”. Juicy J stops by to make another ridiculous and pleasantly over the top verse on “Three 60”. And even Juvenile, who has been for all intents and purposes dead in the water since who knows when drops a sick verse on the tape.
The tape also features great beats. They’re all pretty typical Spitta fair, with lots of piano and Houston influenced beats. Of greatest notice is “Mary”, with probably the best beat on the tape. An airy vocal sample and a great piano hook ride over a staccato, hard, Lex Luger influenced influenced drum machine. But what sets the beat apart is the subtle horns in the background that hint at a deeper terror. “Mary” is honestly one of the best beats Curren$y has ever rapped over, and he does an admirable job. However, for those interested in more standard Curren$y tracks, check out “Purple Haze”, “Living For the City”, and “Sixteen Switches Part Two”.
New Jet City is one of Curren$y’s best releases to date. It doesn’t add a whole lot new to Spitta’s arsinal. It doesn’t bring rap into a brand new dimension. But there’s no denying that New Jet City is one of the most relaxed, chill, and fun releases in a while. Curren$y has been doing this style of music for a while, but New Jet City compacts the whole experience and focuses on the best parts of all of his past tapes. However, if you enjoy New Jet City, I highly suggest looking into Curren$y’s back catalog. He is one of the best rappers in the game today, and you can get most of his music for free.