Mixtape Review-The Drive In Theatre by Curren$y
After reviewing music from the New Orleans juggernaut Curren$y for years I’ve become guilty of a cardinal musical sin. I realized after my second listening of his new mixtape The Drive In Theatre that he had spoiled me. The run of projects he has had in the last few years were at such a high level leaving songs burned into the permanent playlist of my mind that anything new was bound to leave me shrugging and saying “this is ok but…” it was on that second listening I realized that couldn’t be said about this one. This one is terrific.
The Drive In Theatre is so functionally symbolic. It’s largely(7 of 14) produced by Thelonius Martin who doesn’t load it with boom bap or ugly grit. Instead he fuses the large swells of sparkling orchestration to its narrator in a way that brings to mind 1950’s era Frank Sinatra already feeling like he’s maturing into a world not at all like him. Who else but Spitta would use the image of a Drive In as the theme to his mixtape? Most rappers want to portray their sound as futuristic and cutting edge, by contrast, Spitta uses this project as a reminder that like the Drive In experience once he’s left the game no other MC will be able to give you anything like what he brings to the table.
Curren$y is older than Jeezy ad-libs this is a guy who guys back years and years. While his tone of voice may be a dope head whisper the imagery is startling in its crispness. On the Introduction when a woman asks him to stay after he’s spent the night with her he doesn’t give us the HA HA follow up line instead playing with eye popping imagery “Can’t harness the lightning or predict when its striking…”
The most interesting theme that runs throughout The Drive In Theatre is the Godfather films. Clips from all three run in key moments and Curren$y connects to the story, rapping from Michael Corleone’s perspective on Fredo (or merging it with his own relationship to doutbters) on my favorite verse of the tape “How could you hate your brother when I’m just like you? Except I did what I said I would do, erase the hate and let the sun shine through. Abide yourself fool you can live out your dreams too, imagination can create the truth. Every brick that built my mansion will provide the proof (Stolen).”
This is not the craziest line on the mixtape, elsewhere he claims to have a jump shot as smooth as Cochise which is a pretty wild image, but repeat that last sentence. Imagination can create the truth, holy crap, if Common said that on his next record it would be the smartest thing he’s rapped in ten years.
Of course all the beats are smooth, subdued and living in clouds of weed smoke. Of course the guest verses from Smoke Dza to Action Bronson to B-Real are amazing. That’s to be expected. The B-Real song ET is something you have to hear; somehow they seem right at home together. Somehow everyone sounds comfortable next to him. As muted and playful as he is Curren$y is just as much a sneaky genius plotting the best music in the marketplace. The Drive In Theatre is that monstrous slow burn grower mixtape that I can’t get away from, shaped by slick professional diabolical hands; crafted by someone who creates everything so carefully that sometimes I find myself missing the detail.
Stream or Download The Drive In Theatre below: