New Orleans native Curren$y has seen a lot. After running through deals with No Limit and Lil Wayne and Baby Birdman’s Young Money/Cash Money, the self-proclaimed Hot Spitta decided to do things on his own terms. In 2008, he hustled online with highly downloaded mixtapes like Independence Day and Higher Than 30,000 Feet. The buzz he created helped Curren$y earn a spot on XXL’s 2009 Freshmen cover (which dropped in December 2008). After the look, things began moving slow for Spitta, who went on to drop two digitally retailed albums with Amalgam (This Ain’t No Mixtape and Jet Files) in 2009, before hooking up with former Roc-A-Fella Co-CEO Damon Dash. Now, as part of Dame’s Creative Control/DD172 collective, Curren$y seems to be finally taking off! Since being on XXL’s Freshmen cover, what has the past year and change been like for you?

Curren$y: I think I turned it up at the end. It got crazy at the end. You did turn it up. What were the difficulties for you after the cover in the beginning?

Curren$y: I think once I started moving around a little bit more, I realized that I could do more for my city if I got out of it. I was trying to do everything from right there and that was closing off a lot of access to shit I needed to reach more people. So once I started moving around a little more, I made more connections and shit and I was able to get my hands on more of the shit I needed. Me spending more time in New York definitely turnt that shit up. When did you decide that coming to New York would be a benefit for you?

Curren$y: I came out here like around September or October [2009], spending more time out here. Instantly I started seeing the effect of what I can do and the shit that I can get done as opposed to the amount of shit I get done when I shoot back to [New Orleans]. Once I noticed how much shit I was getting done in New York, I moved out here and started staying with my homeboy. Then once that shit started happening with Dame, I moved out here so I can be close to the Creative Control offices. Now I can shoot videos whenever I want to. What exactly is your situation with Dame? Is there a contract involved?

Curren$y: Honestly, I don’t know outside of me how the business is run, as far as DD172, but [with] me and dude, there is no physical, no black or white, nothing on no paper. It’s just understood, nothing had to be said, so it’s been all good. That’s the same situation I tried to have anywhere I was. It’s never been no confusion, I always wanted to be on the real nigga standards: If I fuck with you, I fuck with you. So we got that understanding. I have companies, he has companies and I gave him percentages and shit. Like I got Jets International, I got this line I’m about to do with New Era and shit and he got like 10 percent of that shit. It’s just some homeboy shit. It’s crazy because it’s like I known him forever, but I haven’t. I’ve only known him for exactly how long you’ve seen me around him. But it’s just like it was understood. We both been through a zillion fuckin’ bumps and bruises in this game. At this point, it’s like fuck that shit, we just hustlin’. You’ve been attached to both No Limit and Cash Money, so I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of things that you may not have liked businesswise.

Curren$y: Absolutely. I’m not upset about any of it. You’ve never heard me say nothing fucked up in no direction because all that shit was learning experiences that’s making me sharper right now. Many speculated that Lil Wayne was throwing shots at you on the “Do’s and Don’t’s of Young Money” skit off Dedication 3. Why’d you choose not to respond?

Curren$y: There were some questionable statements on there. But for one, I didn’t hear my name. People in New Orleans were like; “I think dude was talking about you on Dedication 3.” I heard the shit and even as I’m hearing it I was like, Nah. The stats didn’t match me and then I’m like, That shit didn’t have nothing to do with me, so I didn’t give a fuck. And then I didn’t hear my name; I feel like if they had problems with me, they would say me. That’s commendable, because even if it wasn’t about you, another rapper may have ceased that opportunity to create a bigger buzz.

Curren$y: They would’ve used that. That ain’t even my angle. Muthafuckas would love to have a feud with the biggest in the game. Niggas would’ve jumped off the bridge ASAP to go back and forth with that nigga. I’m straight; I got a whole bag of light bulbs. I got my own light. You’ve collaborated a lot with Wiz Khalifa, how did it feel to see him on the 2010 XXL Freshman cover?

Curren$y: [Laughs]. My brother on that cover. That’s tight. That’s some real shit, that made my shit that much tighter. That’s my dawg, so that’s some shit that we both did that other muthafuckas ain’t do. What’s the chemistry like between you and Wiz?

Curren$y: We just met. We hadn’t ever physically dapped each other until we were like three songs deep into How Fly. We put the tape out in August, we started working in May, so I met him like in May [2009] and we kicked it. After we got like two ounces of weed in, we were like 100. Pictures of you wearing the Roc-A-Fella chain recently surfaced on the Internet. How did that come about?

Curren$y: When I let Dame hear “Vision” off of Smokee Robinson and in the midst of me talking about shooting a video for the shit, dude was just like, “Man.” And he gave me the rose gold chain, but that was just for the video. So I gave it back to him and he was like, “Nah. I want you to have that because this is some real nigga shit.” So I just wear it for him, just off the strength and that’s the big homie. That’s some shit that he put together, regardless of what happened, we know what hand he played in that shit. And we know what hand that played in our lives. Everybody was a fan of Roc-A-Fella. And dude put that together. So I wear that just on the strength to let niggas know that I fuck with homie. What’s the next project we can expect for you?

Curren$y: I’m putting Pilot Talk out. Right now it’s slated for March 23, but the mechanics of the manufacturing might delay it by a week or two. I’m not sure. It was produced by Ski Beats entirely, except for one track, “Prioritize,” which was produced by Nebsy Phelps. How you are you going to put this out?

Curren$y: It’s going to be for sale and not just digital. This will be physical retail for people to go and pick it up in the stores. It’s going to be a Jets International/Blue Roc project. [Blue Roc] is Dame’s new imprint. —Rob Markman