Curren$y, The Stoned Immaculate
It’s the Curren$y album that Warner Bros. always dreamed of. High profile features from 2 Chainz, Wale, and Wiz Khalifa. Pharrell and J.U.S.T.I.C.E League behind the boards. Warm, inviting hooks from crooners Estelle and Marsha Ambrosius in place of a repetitive, moaning, Spitta (“Michael Knight, Michael Knight, etc.”). Groomed and manicured records which clock in at 4 minutes in length as opposed to your traditional 2 ½ minute Curren$y song. It’s all here. So what does it all add up to? Curren$y’s magnum opus, or the “sellout” Spitta album? Maybe somewhere in between.
The Stoned Immaculate leads off with the LP’s underwhelming first single, “What It Look Like,” where MMG’s obnoxious second banana, Wale, stops by for a cameo of mediocrity. A fluttering harp courtesy of BINK! traps Spitta in the Wale vortex, leading him to abandon his sense of humor and keen sense of observation for dull show off rap.
Spitta finds his comfort zone a few tracks later on the “Showroom” with passing references to iconic cinema ("Can’t violate the jet code without penalty/Even family let go, Fredo you killin’ me,”) and clever nods to his prolific catalog (“I work hard, got bloggers thinking that there’s 10 of me, dropping record after record like them bitches slippery”). It’s a gem of a backdrop from Cardo, a melodic flute crossed with reverberating helicopter chops that make a welcoming home for Spitta’s sedated flow. Other standouts include “Chasin’ Paper,” and “That’s The Thing.” On the former, an auto tuned Pharell sings to the melody of The Five Stairsteps “O-o-h Child,” and “That’s The Sing,” sees the N.O. native take on a love song alongside Grammy winning R&B songstress Estelle.
The problem with The Stoned Immaculate isn’t that Curren$y couldn’t do a “mainstream” hip-hop album successfully. He can, and he does so here. It works just fine and follows the blueprint of most major label projects today. The thing is that, in doing so, Curren$y loses some of the magic that makes him a true original. Creatively, this album doesn’t reach the levels of works like Covert Coup or the Pilot Talk series. Having said that, The Stoned Immaculate will likely end up being Spitta’s most commercially successful release to date, a combination of the momentum he’s built and the impressive list of names associated with the project. And perhaps that’s what Curren$y (and Warner Bros.?) were looking for. They even marketed the release as his “debut album,” with Spitta following suit and calling The Stoned Immaculate his first “real” album. Longtime fans will know better. —Neil Martinez-Belkin (@Neil_MB)