After releasing his official major label solo debut The Stoned Immaculate last month, inexhaustible New Orleans rapper Curren$y, aka Spitta, is back with Cigarette Boats, an EP produced by Harry Fraud (the man behind Smoke Dza’s stellar album Rugby Thompson). In my review of Rugby Thompson, I had some less than flattering words for The Stoned Immaculate, Curren$y’s first real stab at a crossover album. Curren$y delivered a solid batch of verses as usual, but the random big name guest appearances and glossy, overproduced beats put a bad taste in my mouth and left me wondering if Curren$y’s days of making elegant playa/pothead records with his rapper friends, and producers like Ski Beats and The Alchemist, were over. Curren$y’s smooth style usually made up for his limited subject matter, but his most recent material had me wondering if his lack of substance had caught up with him.
Not long after Rugby Thompson was released, Curren$y and Fraud announced they would be teaming up for a collaborative EP. Not only did the combo make sense, as Spitta’s appearance on Rugby Thompson was one of the album’s highlights, but it was a return to the one rapper/one producer format that has delivered all of my favorite material from Curren$y. I immediately had visions of a repeat of Spitta’s amazing EP with The Alchemist from 2011, Covert Coup. While it would be tough to match the creative peak that Covert Coup climbed to, Harry Fraud’s recent track record gave me confidence that Cigarette Boats could be a special EP. While Cigarette Boats clocks in at less than 15 minutes and only has five songs, not a second is wasted and both Harry Fraud and Curren$y contribute some of the best music of their careers. It almost feels as if Curren$y anticipated a degree of backlash from his major label debut and rushed to get a project out there to remind his longtime fans that he hadn’t forgotten about them.
Right from the jump Curren$y is in vintage form, laying one of his best verses on the opener “Leaving The Dock”. Curren$y’s laid back confidence and smooth delivery makes lines that might sound boring coming from other rappers stick in your head like mantras- “Fools hear our verses and rewrite that shit they scribblin’, bitches see my bitches and consider trying women”. Harry Fraud’s breezy synth beat rides out after Spitta’s verse and gives you a feel for the Vice City like vibes to come. Fraud’s stretched vocal sample and intricate drum pattern set the stage perfectly for Spitta and guest Styles P to trade wordplay rich verses on “WOH”. Styles shows he still has it, rapping “You ain’t real high, you mid-level/ smokin’ on that shit we let the kids peddle/ I made a couple ends off what those kids peddle/ Speak on my name wrong, you’ll see those kids’ metal”. On the wish-it-was-longer “Biscayne Bay” Curren$y glorifies material excesses over one of Harry Fraud’s best ever beats. Fraud recently spent some time with Rick Ross in Miami making beats, which makes me wonder if some of the tracks on this EP were born out of those sessions. Every track has an 80’s Miami feel without utilizing obvious Scarface samples or bordering on the cliché. Fraud’s resume is getting more and more high profile, but it is niche projects Cigarette Boats that are making him one of my favorite producers around.
Curren$y closes the EP with a collaboration with Smoke Dza on the plush playa anthem “Mirrors” followed by the late night burner “Sixty-Seven Turbo Jet”. The fully evolved “Sixty-Seven Turbo Jet” compares Curren$y’s grind as an artist to that of a successful hustler and features the addictive chorus, “Money in the floor case they kick in the door, Saran wrapped in the wall case they bring them dogs”. Curren$y ends “Sixty-Seven Turbo Jet” with the telling line- “The one’s that’s sleeping on it don’t deserve it”, an indicator that while Spitta may have signed to a major label, he doesn’t plan to abandon his roots, or his fans that have been along for the ride. Download/Stream Cigarette Boats for free below.
Written by John Bugbee