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Weekend at Burnie's

[Jet Life Recordings / Warner Bros; 2011]

By ; June 28, 2011 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Another day, another Curren$y album. Less than two months after the release of Covert Coup – a considerable offering – the New Orleans rapper is out to top himself, again. With the first two installments of his Pilot Talk series dropping last year, some thought the irrepressible MC would slow down a tad. If Weekend at Burnie’s is any sign, he’s only gaining traction.

Working with the Alchemist on Coup extended beyond Curren$y’s usual bag of tricks. This time around, Spitta’s back where he arguably feels most comfortable: Burnie’s relies almost entirely on the production of steady collaborator Monsta Beatz. This is the duo behind the entirety of This is Not a Mixtape, a record many fans consider even stronger than the more widely recognized Pilot Talk, and they handled all of the work here, save a few scatter shot additions. It seems the makings of the perfect Curren$y album: his favored producers let loose across an entire album, all drawing inspiration from a classic stoner movie. What could go wrong?

Nothing, it turns out. The results are just about as great as expected. Perhaps more than ever, the rapper paints the world of the faded, the dense and the spacey are a labyrinth for Curren$y’s creation. Add to this Monsta’s likeminded production, and you’ve got a near guaranteed recipe for greatness. With his tireless output rate, Spitta makes himself a hard man to best. No other MC seems capable of stockpiling such a discography so quickly (at least, without watering down) making Curren$y’s efficiency both a gift and a curse. While he outworks essentially all comers, Spitta’s zealousness makes each release less of an event, with arguably less of an impact. Beyond this, with multiple great releases dropping a year, the MC cuts his own work against himself, forcing him to best a constantly expanding buzz. Unless a release manages to catch on – really catch on, with the mainstream – one can only follow the other, and the varnish will gradually wear thin. It could get a guy famous – or run him into the ground.

As of Burnie’s, there’s no reason to fret. Against all odds, Spitta’s done it again: outdone himself. This may not be Curren$y’s best album yet, it’s too early to call, but if it’s not it’s certainly the next best thing. Perhaps feeling at ease having returned to his own corner, perhaps freed by a movie concept closer to his life than fantasy – whatever the reason the MC has crafted what may be his most cohesive work to date. Not all of it is just weed and women, either. “She Don’t Want a Man” ranks among Curren$y’s harshest material, reflecting on a girl all too aware she’s making the wrong choices, Spitta’s tone straddling between pity, revilement and sadness, making it a unique offering. Needless to say, the vast majority of the material is far more, shall we say, vibrant. Tracks smoothly ooze into the next, creating an album that flows so naturally you’ll hardly notice the seams. The dazed, slow groove on “Televised” slides into the smooth, quietly jovial “This is the Life”, the equally chilled group effort “On G’s”, picking up slightly again for “Money Machine”, complete with borderline trance-inducing chanting. In short, pick any part of this record, pull it apart and you’ll result with a borderline flawless, shapeless mass, set to jump to the top of your most played list.

There’s not much Curren$y could have done better here. For longtime fans uncertain of Spitta flirting outside his circle, well, if the results of Covert Coup still didn’t change your mind, then here’s Weekend at Burnie’s. Most assume Curren$y releases so much material in a scattershot attempt at collecting buzz. Is he? Most rapper’s putting out as much material would have lost energy by now, or at the least compromised, but Spitta only seems all the more himself with each record. He’s been through the funnel, through the Young Money grater, and – thankfully – thought more of himself than the recent YM stars seem to. He’s said it himself; he’d rather stay in the underground. His reasoning isn’t too complicated: he wants to be able to make music he actually likes himself. Weekend at Burnie’s is perhaps the strongest evidence of this yet.


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