Why you should buy Weekend at Burnies

It isn’t any secret, I think Curren$y is the best emcee doing his thing right now.

Here is my short list of why y’all should embrace the Curren$y Spitta and buy his new record Weekend at Burnies.

Vancouver rioters after the NHL loss. Gotta admit these guys would look a lot more cool flashing the 'jet plane' hand sign, right?

1.  Awkward hip hop fans need something better to do with their hands.   We know that most people who listen to hip hop are really awkward rather than cool (myself included).  (Hop hop artists, on the other hand, are quite cool).   Hip hop offered many non-gang affiliates the chance to have something to do with their hands.  Almost all of  the ‘west coast,’ ‘east coast,’ pistol signs, or mimicking of supposed crip twisting of fingers is a terrible look.

Admittedly, most of us know Curren$y’s hand sign (which mimics the flying jet) as the ‘hang loose’ hand sign.  In Hawaii, it’s known as shaka — a polycultural vaguely corporate ‘greeting with the aloha spirit.”  Hey, there are worse things to throw up.

2.  Curren$y and his crew seem to be working hard to get better.

I love the arrogant rappers, but it is refreshing to hear someone simply confident in their abilities.  Curren$y writes rhymes that don’t alienate the listener with cleverness.  He models working at his craft — practicing writing better smooth rhymes.  As a result of their work, he and his jets crew: Young Roddy and Trademark the Skydiver, are getting better at not only rhyming, but also sounding better.  Witness the enjoyable punch lines and nicely timed pause in Trademark’s verse on “Still” above.

3.  Weed songs vs. coke songs or representations of wealth in a depression.   Curren$y rhymes about smoking pot.  A lot.  Living in Humboldt county, this isn’t all that strange to me.  Lets put Curren$y’s rhymes about cannabis in the context of the prevailing hip hop culture for self-expression about substances.

You could argue that expressing love for particular substances is part of selling yourself as an emcee.  Most commercially successful artists have identified substance use as part of their image through lyrics and album covers.  In the case of most so-called gangsta rappers, the discussion is often tied to cocaine trafficking (Gucci Mane, Clipse, Young Jeezy, Dipset, Jay-Z, E-40, Eazy-E, Ghostface Killah, and so on.)  This creates a fascinating language used most often to communicate wealth.  Lifestyles of the rich and famous articulated in bricks, kilos, birds, scales, Tony Montana . . .

In the artificially inflated economy of the early 2000s, these cocaine rhymes matched up nicely with the garish wealth of a society manifested in colonial wars and represented by an expressly “business-friendly” government.  Those years also meant the rise of a massive police state, prisons, and new laws against gang offenses.  One reason we keep alive the stories of outlaw dope dealers in rapping is because we live in a society that is increasingly controlled and policed — the idea that some people get to get away with it is immensely reassuring to non-outlaw folks.

Don’t get me wrong — Curren$y is still selling status, wealth and power in his rhymes.  Curren$y isn’t rapping about selling drugs, instead he rhymes about how much he has to smoke.   I think he has adjusted to the economic realities of a society in a depression and provided a slightly more inviting series of symbols for that power.

4.  He sounds good, and has a back catalog worth examining.  If you get Weekend at Burnies and find it works for you, here are the rest of my Curren$y recommendations in order.

First –> mixtape: Independence day

Second –> mixtape: Covert Coup

Third –> album Pilot Talk II

Fourth –> mixtape Fear and Loathing in New Orleans

Fifth –> mixtape return to the winners circle

sixth –> mixtape Smokee Robinson

seventh –> album Pilot talk I

You can easily add in the other affiliated projects, I like the “Jet Life to the next life” mixtape, and the wiz/Curren$y mixtape “How fly.”

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Filed under capitalism, hip hop, prisons

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