After over a decade in the rap game, Curren$y’s first major release, The Stoned Immaculate, is not horrible. But his raspy distorted voice and minimal verses keep it firmly in the low-key, stoner end of the rap spectrum. Curren$y’s voice is one of the most striking aspects of the record; at times it almost sounds like his tongue is too big for his mouth. But while his voice–off-putting at first–becomes tolerable after repeated listens, his rhymes often leave something to be desired. Though his skill as a rapper is evident throughout the album, it’s often feels as if Curren$y doesn’t have anything to say of consequence.
That distinctive voice isn’t actually heard until about 2:00 minutes into the opener, “What It Look Like” featuring Wale, and although Curren$y gives it great energy and effort, it doesn’t take long to realize that the clever wordplay ends with Wale’s verse. “Privacy Glass” is one of those perfect stoner tracks that gives off the sonic imagery of weed smoke and pimped out Chevy Impalas. And the beat is smooth to the point that Curren$y’s rhymes unfortunately wallow in the background. “No Squares” doesn’t actually get good until Wiz Khalifa’s verse begins and once again on “Jet Life” Wiz steals the show which kind of makes you wonder why Curren$y would enlist a fellow stoner rapper who raps about the same subject matter but better.
“Capitol” featuring 2 Chains is one of the LP’s better moments. Curren$y’s flow balances with this beat effortlessly, 2 Chains’ bars are stellar and Curren$y finally delivers a hook that stays with the listener. “Sunroof,” one of the catchier tracks, features busy drum-pad sound and an eloquently-layered trumpet sample. Following suit, “Chasin’ Papers” featuring Pharrell, moves with uncommon smoothness for the club or the ride and Estelle drops in with amazingly vocals on “That’s the Thing.”
Overall, even a few brights spots, a host of big name guest features and hard-hitting production isn’t enough to boost this record above average. The New Orleans rapper’s drowsy vocals and weed-focused lyrics often make him sound high; a spirit that animates The Stoned Immaculate, but ironically prevents it from soaring.
-Andrea D. Wilson