New Orleans rapper and Hip-Hop connoisseur Curren$y thrives on making music on his own terms. With his “Jet Life” mantra about living life to the fullest, the savvy rhyme spitter (why do you think they call him “Spitta”?) is focused on a lyrical devotion to the truth and authenticity. It’s because of this ethos that the man born Shante Anthony Franklin has transcended any regional rap stereotypes to become a favorite of bloggers, critics, fans and everyone in between. Now aligned with Warner Bros., the plan is to let Spitta be himself, but have even more people get acquainted with the Jet (Just Enjoy This Sh*t) Life.
Inspired by a litany of Hip-Hop heavyweights including Slick Rick, Snoop Dogg, Camp Lo, DJ Quick, A Tribe Called Quest, OutKast and 8Ball & MJG, by 2002 the young Curren$y took his talents to Master P. signing a recording deal with No Limit Records, as a member of the 504 Boyz. Only two years later, he switched over to Cash Money Records, becoming the marquee artist of Lil Wayne’s then fledgling Young Money Records. The experience with the hometown labels taught him not only how to be a team player but about the type of artist he wanted to be.
“I was in other places, the verse before would be about possibly decapitating somebody with a shotgun and boatloads of cocaine,” recalls Curren$y. “So young me was like so I shot him too and I got two keys out of the ten. Then I would try to sneak in, But I did get the newest Jordans and this that and third and try to still be myself.”
Curren$y went on his own in late 2007 when he formally left the Young Money fold. An album called Music To Fly To was recorded for the label but never released. After walking away from the Young Money Records, Curren$y began releasing mixtapes (Life At 30,000 Feet, Independence Day, et al.) to let fans know his talents didn’t go to waste when he was sitting on the shelf. Off the strength of his mixtapes, Curren$y earned a spot on the 2009 Freshmen cover of XXL Magazine (December 2008 issue), labeling him as one of Hip-Hop’s most promising acts.
Labels began sniffing around for Curren$y’s services around this time, but he preferred to remain independent. “The rap game, I didn’t know the politics of it until I was completely dolo in making the music that I make. I started going to meetings and realizing how the machine was set up.”
Spitta was increasing his music business IQ but was still adamant about not compromising his art. “Any song that an artist give you, if there’s a world for him out there it’s going to do what it do,” he says. “It doesn’t have to sound like whatever’s popping on the radio. It has to sound like that artist because that’s what people want.”
The New Orleans native moved to New York City because he felt that the creative energy there would only help him bolster his movement. “It was just smarter for my hustle to be somewhere where everything is right at my fingertips,” he says. “It just so happened that the city was fucking with me. I felt the love the whole time and I still do. When I got out here to New York I was able to be with so many people absolutely on the grind, I could shoot a video every day, and they wanted to do it. Once I got all that work done, people [back home] came out of their shells and said I can do this. Now I’m assembling a team in the city of people that are talented and I’m working with them as well.”
To call Curren$y’soutput of music prolific would be an understatement. In 2009 Curren$y released This Ain’t No Mixtape, via Amalgam Digital, and the same year released another album, Jet Files. He also aligned with ex-Roc-a-fella Records head honcho Dame Dash and his new DD172 venture. The result was in 2010, Curren$y would again drop two albums, Pilot Talk and Pilot Talk 2, via Dash’s DD172 label with distribution from Def Jam Records. Throughout this time Spitta was receiving acclaim for his music and videos, as well as making moves with lifestyle and streetwear brands like Married to the Mob, LRG and Rocksmith. An avid automobile fan and collector, he also has a couple of car clubs (Boxed Sets with Chuck English from rap group the Cool Kids, and Cruise Life in New Orleans with his manager).
Yes, Curren$y is living the good life, but don’t make the mistake of calling him some type of stoner rapper. “When you rapping about weed and kicking it, how pissed off can people be with you dog?,” he observes. “If that’s really what you doing. Just don’t be a studio chiller. Everybody wants to get on with this fucking weed rap. It’s not weed rap. There’s no stoner rap. It’s not a genre, that’s bullshit. Anybody that’s doing that should be kicked in the balls because that’s some gimmick shit. Four bars ago your barrel was smoking dog and now you’re smoking a doobie.”
What continued to smoke is Curren$y’s work ethic. Now aligned with Warner Bros. (“It’s like Street Fighter Championship edition, four more characters, Ryu and Ken got different colored suits now, it’s crazy. [laughs]”), he did not slow down in the slightest releasing four critically acclaimed mixtapes, Covert Coup EP, Muscle Car Chronicles, Weekend at Burnies and a Gangsta Grillz mixtape with DJ Drama titled Verde Terrace.
In 2012, Curren$y poised himself for his debut album release. The Stoned Immaculate was released by Warner Brothers on June 5, 2012. Curren$y explained that The Stoned Immaculate was more complicated to record than his previous albums and noted that he’s finished off past projects in only a few days. “Just from working with more people. I did more traveling than I usually do when I’m working on a project. I did Weekend at Burnies in Miami with Monsta Beatz in two days. With this one I moved around. I was in L.A. with Daz, in Miami with Pharrell, and I recorded some of the records in New York and shit. That’s really the only difference, the music and my mindset is still the same,”
The album was released to critical acclaim, landing at No. 8 on the Billboard Top 200 and #2 on the Billboard Rap charts, featuring guest appearances from artists such as 2 Chainz, Pharell Williams, Wiz Khalifa, Estelle and Big K.R.I.T., and more. Following the release, Curren$y performed live on BET’s 106th and Park and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
In July 2012, Curren$y continued to display his lyrical prowess with the release of a new mixtape, Cigarette Boats, a five-song EP, produced by Harry Fraud. Curren$y continues to tour in support of the The Stoned Immaculate at the end of 2012, while making preparations to release his next releases, as well as the highly anticipated Live in Concert record, recorded with friend and confidante Wiz Khalifa.
The charismatic Curren$y is living, breathing example of that tried and true quote from from Confucius: “Picking a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
“I hit the ultimate lick. I watch basketball like, ‘Yo, they’re getting paid to play’,” says Curren$y. “This is the equivalent. Yeah, it’s work. But the trade off is pretty G’d up.” Now that’s the Jet Life.