Article by J.D. Thrasher
Photos by Jordan Beckham
In the spellbinding New York City evening, Curren$y seemed unfazed. That evening, he was scheduled to shoot with JENESIS Magazine photographer Jordan Beckham. The shoot was in Times Square and as Curren$y posed among a backdrop of passing yellow cabs and bright lights, his fans came running.
“I fucking love you, man!” screamed a young man with his girlfriend. This is the type of reaction you would expect a man who is more popular than the common word (currency) he adopted for a stage name to cause.
Curren$y paused the photo shoot to take photos with fans snapping iPhones and small pocket cameras. He was calm and relaxed, as you’d expect any marijuana-friendly rapper to be.
His fans seemed happy and I wondered if being accessible and nice to fans was what kept his fan base healthy through the years.
Early in his career, Curren$y was signed to No Limit Records. He was part of the 504 Boyz. He left No Limit to sign with Cash Money Records and Young Money Entertainment. It was here that most of the world was introduced to Curren$y.
“Where Da Cash At?” featuring Remy Ma and Lil Wayne was a breakout hit in 2006. However, Curren$y left Young Money and became an independent artist, having been signed to labels like Amalgam Digital.
“I got a lot of game from all those situations. It’s a blessing to have gone through all of those situations,” said Curren$y from outside his hotel after the Times Square photo shoot. Curren$y is now signed to Warner Bros. Records and has his own record label, Jet Life Recordings.
“When I was at No Limit, my plan was to bring everybody to P,” Curren$y said. With Jet Life Recordings, Curren$y has the opportunity to be the boss something that was a career goal.
Curren$y, is set to release his next album, “The Stoned Immaculate,” in June. The work features collaborations from Pharrell, 2 Chainz, Daz Dillinger and Wale. In an MTV interview, Curren$y explained his rationale in working with big names.
“I’m trying to get more attention to my crew also,” Curren$y explained to journalist Rob Markman during that interview.
For Curren$y, rap music was a way to make money and be successful. So, every time he received a record contract, it was his intention to bring a few homeboys with him. Now with Jet Life Recordings, he is the owner of a company and can help even more people.
Before that, though, Curren$y released several projects, including “How Fly,” a collaborative effort with Wiz Khalifa. The two rappers developed a friendship and frequently worked together. The partnership spawned many comparisons of the two rappers.
“Yo, people do that and we [Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa] laugh about it. All I ever wanted to be was to be like AZ; a hard underground nigga who never switched up, and my dawg, he wanted – BANG (opens arms)- the fame. He got it. I couldn’t do it, though,” said Curren$y with a smile.
Although modest, Curren$y definitely has star power. Big D, vice president of promotions at Universal Republic Records, worked with Curren$y when “Where Da Cash At?” first dropped and had accompanied him on a few promo runs. Everywhere they went, fans knew the words to Curren$y’s songs.
“The ill thing was, we’re on the road, and we go to places like Wilmington, Delaware and Richmond, Virginia and he’s performing on stage and the crowd knows his shit word for word. After that, I thought, ‘yeah, this kid is something special,’” said D, who stopped his car when he saw Curren$y standing outside of his hotel.
To get that type of audience response, where the crowd knows every line to every song, you need to be relevant. Curren$y maintains that working with rappers and releasing music for fans keeps an artist relevant.
“I’ve never gauged my success by the radio,” said Curren$y.
Although, he is not chasing radio, Curren$y consistently releases quality projects.
Recently, Spitta collaborated with Styles P for the “#The1st28” mixtape. Veteran rapper Styles P, who came to fame with hip-hop group The Lox, taught Spitta how to count bars.
“Before [Styles P] helped me, I would just rap and naturally time myself,” Curren$y said between head nods to passersby. Curren$y, a veteran rapper would gracefully spit perfectly measured bars for featured spots without knowing the music theory behind.
He also revealed that his recording sessions are natural. He goes to the studio when he feels inspired; he is not chained to a schedule.
At the very end of my time with Curren$y, it hit me why Curren$y has been able to build a strong fan base and maintain longevity: he’s relatable. The entire day he wore a blue Billionaire Boys fitted with a hoodie to match. Big security guards did not flank him; his management team and rapper Smoke DZA only accompanied him. And except for an impressive timepiece, that was not too gaudy, and a Louis Vutton belt, Spitta was modest.
The fact that Curren$y isn’t on billboards or starring in blockbuster movies, means his connection with his fans is that much stronger. Curren$y’s fans aren’t influenced by anything except his music and his personality (see earlier I mentioned Curren$y stopping to pose for every fan).
If the theory holds true that real recognize real, then Curren$y’s fans most certainly recognize him. After jumping from labels, being embroiled in a lawsuit with Damon Dash over the rights to release music, and other obstacles, Curren$y is able to “roll up and get paid,” a phrase he frequently tweets. He was able to capture success without compromising his morals.
At the end of the day, Curren$y is just a kid from New Orleans who was fortunate to grow up and live out his dreams. As he progressed in his career, he paid it forward, giving opportunities to others, creating a domino effect.
As the interview came to an end and Curren$y and crew were set to retire to their rooms, I received a text from Small Eyez, a rapper from Atlanta and longtime Curren$y fan. Small Eyez wanted to know how Curren$y treats writer’s block.
Marijuana solves any writer’s block ‑‑ specifically his favorite strain OG Kush, Curren$y said. Curren$y said he smokes everyday and it works every time.
“The green doesn’t ever not work,” said Curren$y, staring at the city lights.
Follow Curren$y on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/#!/CurrenSy_Spitta