Curren$y got big things popping but the hustle isn’t stopping. After releasing two full length albums in 2010, he recently signed a major label deal with Warner Music and is preparing for another album. In the meantime, he joined forces with the Alchemist for the Covert Coup tape, a streamlined project that serves to keep his name warm and to give him a look with different production. The work is consistent with his recent output: crisp rhymes over sharp beats built for late night drives and smoking sessions.
Alchemist’s production ranges from slow grooves to slightly beneath mid-tempo. There’s nothing high-powered, or adrenaline feeding beat-wise, but there are some groovy compositions and layered pieces that display his varied skill. In particular, “The Type” featuring Prodigy features a consistent rhythm that is thrown askew by atmospherics and forward movement that creates a manic feel without disrupting the track. Prodigy’s hardcore sensibilities add a grit that the laid back Curren$y lacks.
On the higher end of the energy scale is “Blood Sweat & Gears” feature fellow No Limit expatriate Fiend. The track with Fiend’s RBX-like baritone boom makes you wonder what the hell Master P was thinking not pushing these guys in favor of Silk The Shocker. Guitars and live instruments bring Curren$y back to his strength on the Smoke DZA-helmed “Life Instructions.” His free-flowing improv flow floats all over the electric guitars and provides the grease for the pistons that power the track.
Alchemist lifts and cuts the drums from Barry White’s deeper on “Smoke Break.” Spitta is on them girls, flossing just enough to give your main squeeze reckless eyeball syndrome. Lead single “Scottie Pippen” is the fastest record of the bunch with guest Freddie Gibbs delivering a rapid-fire verse. Smoked-out haze follows on “Ventilation.” Curren$y muses over muscle mars, self-sustained honeys and biters that take your style and act like they created.
The tape is solid all the way through. Curren$y sprinkles in pop culture references throughout and litters his tracks with Easter eggs of connectivity. Video games, lines from movies, hood reference and sitcoms like “Martin” are found all over the work, making it at times accessible and relatable to heads while perhaps going right past the people who aren’t intimate with the topics. In other words, if you remember some of this shit, you connect instantly and if you don’t, you’re like what the hell is he talking about. While that may present a problem as he tries to expand his fan base, retro Jordans, muscle cars, weed and Outkast fans (“bust raps like b-boys bust gats, we the type of people that don’t bury the hatch”) all have a legion of consumers that can pick out Spitta’s references as soon as they hear them. Covert Coup is well sequenced and while the speed doesn’t vary too much, the beat variation is varied and you don’t get too many similar sounding songs. It’s a worthy appetizer as you wait for the full course meal.
out of 5
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