Verde Terrace Mixtape
By Brian Riewer | 9 September 2011
The most ironic verse from Curren$y’s breakthrough album Pilot Talk (2010), and the one that best informs his mission statement, is on the track “Breakfast,” when he utters, “Add that to these underground rap dollars / Refused the majors and stayed real, I kept my promise.” No matter what he said, Spitta was signed to Universal subsidiary Def Jam—which in case you don’t know is very much a major record company, upon the release of the album which featured said track. The point is not that he lied—the earlier versions of the track were written and released when he was still unsigned, meaning the declaration was true if somewhat hypocritical—but that he still acts as though that were true, as if he’s still busting his ass to get that one big break. Dude’s released seventeen albums and mixtapes over the past three-plus years, a simply staggering amount of material for anyone to produce, pothead or not; that big break’s long broke.
If anything, Curren$y’s gotten more adventurous since inking his second major record deal with Warner Bros. earlier this year, having used the Alchemist for Covert Coup and Monsta Beatz for Weekend at Burnie’s after leaning on BluRoc Records’ in-house producer for most of his first two Pilot Talk albums. DJ Drama is his third for 2011, offering a refreshing change of pace from the Ski/Monsta Beatz swampy production to something a fair bit closer to the paradigm of mainstream rap instrumentation than to what Curren$y’s been exposed since ditching Weezy’s crew.
“Run Dat Shit” has the kind of tension that requires a knife to cut through; the revolving piano segment builds the track’s stress to ever unnerving levels, this capped by Spitta spitting, “And they still trying to build a case, want me to pay / For murdering all of these tapes, what can I say?” It’s topped only by the city-clomping, “General Patton”-copping monstrosity behind “Car Talk,” providing a distinctly terrestrial counterpart to Curren$y’s flighty Pilot Talk series. Still, an assortment of soft rock beats with which Spitta’s become synonymous are present, but Drama is able to make the move keenly from bangers to slow jams, the jump from the shredding guitars of “Pinifarina” into “Hennessy Beach” and its smooth sax/keyboard combo foremost coming to mind.
Ever the model of consistency, Spitta keeps the subject matter to his largely retread conversational interests, throwing out the occasionally stunning metaphor amongst the subdued bravado of a thoroughly self-confident, high-as-fuck rapper. “She keep her phone in her lap / When I call she comin’,” he intones to remind you he’s fucking your girl in the same matter-of-fact, weirdly intimate manner in which he explained the same situation in “Flight Briefing.” Mentions of how his windows are never tinted abound as well, weaved into boasts about the quality of his weed in comparison to yours; that he’d “kill beats and send flowers to the wake”; that he always “keep[s] [his] style straight like 9:15.” These are the topics discussed in his last dozen or so releases, repackaged yet again in fresh verbiage.
While being consistent and prolific to a stunning degree are largely desirable qualities to have as an artist, what Verde Terrace represents most is that Curren$y is beginning to run into the negative side of these qualities: his shtick is starting to feel tired. From “similar topics repackaged in fresh verbiage” we’re getting closer to, with each successive release, “the same shit we heard like a month ago.” It’s common to be overexposed to a single song or album—but rarely is it a problem that an artist is producing too much new music to properly digest and appreciate.
Chastising the guy for working too hard is a rather bizarre position to be put into, as if I’m bitching at my butler for bringing me four servings of caviar instead of three. But, like, could you ease up on the caviar, Curren$y? A mere four months between late April and late August Spitta dropped two albums and a mixtape, leaving this latest one, Verde Terrace, seemingly just commonplace in its ubiquity. His works’ pervasiveness is turning cannibalistic, and it’s a shame; this is an excellent mixtape, but it’s difficult to appreciate fully with all the Curren$y currently flooding the market.