Curren$y – Pilot Talk

Shante Franklin, a.k.a Curren$y, is a rising star in the hip hop world. However, it’s taken him the better part of a decade to do so despite not only a cover story by XXL, but also several appearances on other artists’ mixtapes and albums (most recently on Wale’s Back to the Feature). Major labels, for whatever reason, didn’t find anything for Curren$y; however, with Pilot Talk, his first album with Def Jam, he seems to be unperturbed by this fact. Despite lacking the eloquence or lyrical fortitude of his peers, Franklin chooses to develop a charismatic personality that develops easily over the length of Pilot Talk.

In terms of style, he doesn’t stray too far from his contemporaries, although he typically stays in the Dr. Dre slow jam range. Most tracks on Talk can be classified as a modern look at the G-Funk genre of the mid-90s, with G-Funk king Snoop Dogg’s appearance being a testament to this. The album develops easily thanks to a relaxed, but immediate pacing, with “Example” being a particularly vital jam that leads into more tame material like “King Kong”.

Guest spots are abound, but it’s the big names that surprise the most: Snoop Dogg contributes a few bars and Mos Def probably could have done his spot over the phone, but he even manages to rope in mad man Jay Electronica and underground old-timer Devin the Dude. Oddly enough, they don’t sound out-of-place or there simply to build profile, but they don’t sound like they need to be there either. Call it a mixed bag, with lesser-known’s contributing the more potent verses, like Stalley and Rocks.

Lyrically, the album is all about Curren$y and his persona-building, with tracks like “King Kong” or “Skybourne” being all about the ego. His name being Curren$y, there is also special attention paid to the green, both the Jets and money. It all works, especially with the lackadaisical charm Franklin emits with his slow drawl of a voice, although don’t expect the repeating “fool” and “Jets” to endear itself for too long.

Pilot Talk is easy to recommend: it’s well-paced, its beats are basic but effectively bass-heavy, and Franklin has charisma. As far as hip hop this year goes, Big Boi has nothing to worry about, but Curren$y makes a good showing on his major label debut; Pilot Talk is sure to silence detractors and pave the way for Franklin’s own “flyer society” to take to the skies.

Trevor “I hate closing line puns” Johnson


1 Comment

  1. 10/01/10: Week-long Break is Over. Back to Work. « Avery Island: Musical Opinions From Music Geeks said,

    […] Curren$y – Pilot Talk by Trevor Johnson […]

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