Curren$y Explains How Underground Hip-Hop Makes Dollars & Sense
New Orleans, Louisiana veteran MC Curren$y is an underground sensation who has made a name for himself by staying out of the way, and in his lane. The laid-back lyricist most associated with classic cars and smoking herb seemingly never gets caught in drama. Instead, he has built a booming brand through releasing more music than just about any rapper on his level. His new collaborative effort Fetti—alongside Freddie Gibbs and entirely produced by Alchemist, is a testament to a catalog that has been in constant demand for upwards of a decade. Spitta recently sat down with the Rap Radar Podcast to discuss the album, his loyal following and a desire to maintain his status as an underground king.
While he’s had stints with labels No Limit, Cash Money, Young Money, Blu Roc/Def Jam, and Warner Bros. Records, Curren$y has made his most critical strides as an independent artist on his Jet Life imprint. That approach has served him well.
“I wait my turn,” he insists. “I never was on [Master] P’s bumper like, ‘Listen to this.’ I was there because of the homie. When somebody asked me what I could do, then that’s my turn. I never was on they bumper about [my Rap career or solo interests]. I used to pass out t-shirts.” In the early 2000s, Spitta was part of a 504 Boyz lineup. He joined P, Silkk The Shocker, Magic, Choppa, T-Bo, and Krazy ahead of 2002’s Ballers album, which cracked the Top 50 on the charts.
While earning a significant wage was an objective, Spitta never obsessed over it, because in his mind, it was just meant to be the way that it is. Like with No Limit later years, that was the case during a fruitless period at Lil Wayne’s Young Money. “Where Da Cash At?” was a successful record, but the anticipated album never followed. At 21:44, Spitta talks about “rolling the dice” and having faith in a higher power, which in turn ensures appropriate rewards from the universe. “I believe if you roll the dice like that, that proves you have faith in a higher power, in the universe, and something will work out for you. Otherwise, it’s all a lie. If you roll the dice and exhibit faith, it’s going to have to give you something in return.”
He continues, sharing his first interaction with Jadakiss at (22:02), where the LOX rapper acknowledged his Rap skills, but was more impressed by his determined spirit. “He was like, ‘You can rap and all that sh*t, but you was like, ‘Nah, I’ma do my own thing,’ and then you just did that sh*t!’” Spitta, who was rumored to have turned down an offer to be a Maybach Music Group artist in the early part of this decade, was a front-running example for an artist who does more independently.
To this day, Curren$y has no qualms sharing his music with the faithful masses, knowing his efforts will always come back to him. “I put [music] out, and if they get it for free, they get it for free,” he says. “But when I’m in they town, they can’t bootleg that. You gotta come off that $20 or $30.” Curren$y’s tours and spot dates have led him to a collection of an estimated 35 cars and several N.O. properties. During the Rap Radar interview, Spitta even admits that he bought an early-2000s model Bentley because it was the year that he thought he’d get one. The Rap industry had other plans.
The new father recalls an era when he recorded a string of mixtapes that are, to this day, considered classic material by many. His explanation is vivid, as he describes the 700-square-foot apartment and makeshift booth that helped him create improvisational magic. Among the items he used to record were a mic taped around an overturned chair, a tube sock and a wire hanger for the filter.
“Some people give me the credit I’m supposed to get, but I don’t give a f*ck about that,” he says, describing his impact on culture. As for collaborations, it’s something he’s all but perfected. Take the How Fly project with one Wiz Khalifa for example. “It changed the game. It changed how people smoke. It changed how people dress. It changed music,” he says with unbridled confidence. “That’s why a lot of those young dudes give it up to me.” Alluding to how comfortable he is with his place as an underground legend, Spitta shares another exchange with Talib Kweli where the Brooklyn rapper complimented his “Push Thru” collaborator (a song that also features Kendrick Lamar) about how loyal his fans are.
“You like the best and the worst buddy, because the people who listen to you, don’t want to hear shit else,’” the veteran says. The truth is, Curren$y’s overall trajectory and unwillingness to switch it up for the fetti, is a direct refutation of a verse made famous by one Shawn Carter:
“I dumbed down for my audience to double my dollars / They criticized me for it, yet they all yell ‘holla’ / If skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be lyrically Talib Kweli / Truthfully I wanna rhyme like Common Sense But I did 5 mill’ – I ain’t been rhyming like Common since.”
Like JAY-Z, Curren$y is invested in his community, playing with several of his passions, and releasing music strictly on his terms.
Elsewhere in the interview, Spitta breaks down the intricacies of working so closely with Alchemist.
#BonusBeat: Today, Spitta released “Flatbed Ferrari”: