Curren$y-New Jet City review
So many rappers have claimed a link between their lyrics and the novels of Donald Goines. I don’t think any of them do it as a shallow reputation boost, Goines is still the biggest selling African American author in history…a jailed genius who spun ghetto landscape into Shakespearean tragedy. For those who grew up with Daddy Cool and Whoreson its a standard you shoot for. Curren$y’s mixtape New Jet City which dropped on super bowl Sunday is the closest thing to Goines you can find(outside of early Ice-T).
It gets its name from the movie New Jack City which is a pretty clear rise and fall story, Nino Brown and his crew take power, ruin themselves with it and pay the price. The New Orleans MC has always been able to spin specific images that grip you from a laid back drawl, conversing this time about peanut butter colored leather and brown liquor but it’s the tiny fragments of concern and contemplation that texture the experience. On Clear for instance, Jadakiss weaves punch lines like “You ain’t got enough bars, bad service,” but the line that sticks the most is Spitta’s own sports metaphor gone street “Speed kills and them newer cats is mad quick.” A lot of New Jet City is bragging but even that is Jay in ’96 great “We on Yachts waving, champagne cases, cocaine traces found seeping from the speakers when the bass kick (New Jet City).” It’s not just the conversational form he’s honed over the years or the high level of wordplay he brings its meticulous relaxation.
This year has already had a few high profile mixtape flops that made me reconsider the countdown mechanism on these mixtape websites. As I stare into the ticker waiting for the tape to be released I build unfair expectations, the hype takes hold and the product never stands up to it. Curren$y should have fallen into that trap; this project features guest verses from Juvenile, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, Kiss, Styles P, multiple Lex Luger beats, Harry Fraud. It seemed bound to be epic and came out subtle…with one exception.
New Jet City orbits around the third track(Choosin’) a song which features both Khalifa and Ross alongside one of the best Luger beats in recent memory. The stomping bass and hand claps are complimented by a chorus featuring two car sound effects made by Curren$y. It’s the type of song you could listen too every day and not get sick of. The rest of the tape is nothing like it. Luger contributes the wonderfully heavy footed Coolie in The Cut but King Thelonius is the production core giving everything he touches a soulful propulsion. Living for the City might be the dopest track of them all and its only two minutes and ten seconds long. This is what I mean by meticulous relaxation. As stoned and unconcerned as he seems to be he is exactly that amount controlling mastermind. It’s no accident that this has the most subdued Juicy J verse we’ve heard in years, a fourteen track maximum with at least one barely over one minute long. He’s not a gifted smoker but an artist controlling every element of your headphones canvas.
Upon first listening you might sit back and lightly remark how good it is, seven listenings later it’ll be different. You’ll get how seriously he takes this, how serious he is about smoking, women, and a life of personal determination bound for success with no second option. “Impressed with how I dress and this ain’t sh#t B I’m just chillin’ I’m never stressed never let em see me sweat (Three 60).” He never does but we can feel that he will and were rooting for him. It’s the same we all felt reading Donald Goines main characters.
Stream or Download New Jet City below: