“Suckas act like, my flow wasn’t Jim Morrison in his past life.” And so arrives Curren$y’s long awaited rap-rock fusion Muscle Car Chronicles, a brainchild of producer Sean O’Connell during Spitta’s stint at Dame Dash’s DD172 label. DD172 was also behind the well-received Blakroc project, which featured the likes of the RZA, Jim Jones, and Ludacris rapping over instrumentation courtesy of blues rock duo The Black Keys. Spitta’s no stranger to working with an eclectic group of producers, but it’s safe to say that MCC is probably his biggest step outside the box.
There’s no drum machines to be heard on MCC. The live instrumentation is an auditory treat in a genre that’s dictated by sampling and 808 kits. Electric guitars, deep bass lines, frenzied piano, organs, and crisp drums amount to a body of work that feels almost like a live album (percussion duties are handled by former Mars Volta drummer Thomas Pridgen). Audio leftovers from the recording process are interspersed throughout, contributing to the record’s intimate feel.
Per usual, Spitta coasts through the release with ease, as if rapping over rock cuts were just business as usual. A nonchalant drawl that melts into whatever sonic landscape it finds itself, and a keen sense of observation have always made Curren$y a fascinating listen, even when he’s just talking about checking out of a hotel or ostracizing some chicks from his doobie circle.
The New Orleans native tips his hat to the late Jim Morrison, front man of The Doors, on “The Strangest Life,” even showing a more reflective side than fans are used to with lines like “This is, the strangest life that I have ever known, I wonder if my parents give me benefit of the doubt or do they think it’s more than weed I’m on.” Curren$y’s flip of Master P’s classic on “Bout It 11” is a great nod to C-Murda and Spitta’s own days as a No Limit foot soldier. Originally remixed on his 2010 mixtape Smokee Robinson, the track is bolstered with the supporting cast of live instrumentation.
With most of the songs around 2 minutes long and the entire album clocking in at under 20 minutes, MCC comes across more like a jam session amongst friends than some sort of crossover album with grandiose career aspirations. It’s Lil Wayne’s Rebirth done organically, never screaming “Hey look! I’m making a rock album!” or “Check out my Travis Barker guest spot.” It’s unlikely Curren$y went into this endeavor to go along with some sort of new image he was trying to cultivate (Weezy?). He probably just did it because he thought it sounded cool. Oh, and it does. —Neil Martinez-Belkin (@Neil_MB)