The only point of worry with “Pilot Talk”, the majestic official debut album by Curren$y, which we gave a positive review a few months back, was that it might lose freshness with time. After listening to it and sharing lazy afternoons with this record, we remained doubtful that the concept and musical union with Ski Beatz could pull it off again and keep pace with time, consolidating its particular and limited point of view. As we’re dealing with such a confined formula within the concept of weed rap, both on the musical and, above all, the lyrical sides, we feared that the couple would simply repeat themselves and lose that spark of fun, brilliance and ease, with the even more problematic addition of having waited only four months to release the sequel.
“Pilot Talk II” persists in the vein of its predecessor, but on first hearing we notice two things in its favour. One: the formula remains exciting, fluid, lively and fresh, without a trace of tiredness, repetition or saturation, in spite of the narrow time frame we mentioned earlier. Two: although the two albums are very much alike, on this one there are new ways, new ideas and sonorities that help it breathe and stop it becoming congested. There’s no fear of this collapsing. In fact, Ski Beatz, who ratifies all the positive words and praises we at PlayGround have been dedicating to him over the course of this year, stresses his most climatic, atmospheric and relaxed facet, but while on the first album the main influences were psychedelics and rock, here the productions are jazzier, making the musical cocktail even more intriguing and groovy. The difference in quality is hardly perceptible: the first part is only better because of circumstantial aspects, like the surprise of first contact, some A-list cameos and the presence of more hits, but only a little more. They are two sides of the same coin.
A subgenre facing extinction, with hardly any representation these days, weed rap has found in Curren$y its best possible ally and representative. The New Orleans rapper has the ideal profile for any follower of the genre: a lyrical universe full of references and nods to marijuana, and a very talented, ingenious and lyrically gifted MC, whose power lies in the rapper’s abilities and creativity when it comes to writing lyrics and rapping, independent from the things he rhymes about. We’re not dealing with another chronic loon who raps, but a very good creator of situations, lyrical games and lexical resources, with smoking as the inescapable red thread. Add to all that Ski Beatz, who is in excellent shape, almost obsessed with putting out music (and that doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon).
As said, “Pilot Talk II” sounds jazzier, and the groove is more relaxed. In comparison to its predecessor, you could say that this album is even lazier, featuring forty minutes of fascinating, lazy and thick rap. The instruments Ski Beatz uses to enrich his beats are more present on these productions, and the keys and crispy guitars play a bigger part, although never too big, with padded rhythms and the feeling that both are even more comfortable when they slow things down and become drowsy. On the opposite side of Kanye West’s epic hip-hop or beefy boom bap, in the midst of the whirlpool of releases, grandiloquence and ambition to conquer the world of the new records appearing on the market today, Curren$y’s album is the discographic equivalent of those moments when the top executive, stressed-out to the max, says to himself that he needs a break and leaves the office to go to the gym or a bar to be with his mates. “Pilot Talk II” is a break from everything, it’s sitting down on the sofa, skinning up, turning on the PlayStation 3 and wasting a few hours playing NBA 2K11.