12 March, 2014@6:41 pm
Overall the new Curren$y joint The Drive-in Theatre is a solid throwback to the smoked out hip-hop albums of old, but it doesn’t feel complete. Curren$y solidifies his place in the game with solid wordplay and metaphors, while conveying the pimp and hustler southern player lifestyle through his choice of subject matter. His silky smooth flow belies vocal vigor unseen in many of the mainstream rappers who resort to shouting all of their lyrics.
Upon first listen, the quality doesn’t jump out at you, as it feels like it is missing something, but subsequent listens reveals it’s like those rap albums of old: the gangster movie samples, the calling-out incompetent MCs. Oh right, this is what hip-hop used to sound like, unconcerned with making a glossed over radio hit, just bringing the smooth flow and bangin’ beats. Overall the production is superb, nothing ground-breaking, but a reminder that a great horn sample and a competent MC can elicit more emotion that even the loudest synth laser beam and screaming.
Curren$y receives help from several guests, but none more appropriate than Dr. Greenthumb himself, B-Real. On “E.T.”, their collaboration is the dopest beat on the album, reminiscent of some old Juggaknots or Boogie Monsters. B-Real kills this verse and you hope that the Impala kid from down south is going to kick it up a notch, and he does for almost an entire verse, but then he just fizzles off like a spliff left burning in the ashtray.
The other standout tracks on the second half of the album are “El Camino” featuring Mary Gold, “Fo”, “Usual Suspects” and the bonus track. Most of the guests fail to really add anything significant, beside a different vocal timbre. Curren$y clearly has the talent to carry an entire album, hopefully next time he will.
Overall The Drive-in Theatre is a good album, and inconsistent though the tracks may be, they are leaps and bounds above the majority of what is out there right now in the form of authentic hip-hop. The one thing that is consistent is the quality of Curren$y’s flow and his ability to present the listener with an experience. The listener develops an understanding that not every song coming out of the South is made for the clubs, and that there is such a thing as a conscious hustla.
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