Let us begin by saying that Curren$y is one of our favorite MCs leading today’s internet revolution. You know what we’re talking about… albums covers that you’ve never actually seen offline, constant references to purple kush and a new rat pack that’s more tatts and blunts than suits and hats. Last week, the New Orleans MC celebrated the success of his first mainstream release “Pilot Talk” via Roc-A-Fella/Island Def Jam.
We chatted with Curren$y, born Shante Franklin, for the first time since 2006 about Cajun cuisine, trading the independent hustle for Def Jam’s ‘building’ and just how much weed he’s really smoking. As Curren$y would say, it’s that #jetlife.
PARLOUR: So as a New Orleans native where would you suggest we nab a good bowl of gumbo? We had some at the famed Dookie Chase recently and it was definitely microwaved …
Curren$y: Oh no! You got to watch where you eat your gumbo, can’t trust everybody’s. I went to someone’s house and had some gumbo, gumbo and hush puppies. It’s always better at someone’s house.
In recording Pilot Talk, we heard you ditched the south for a northern state?
Yeah, I actually recorded it in New York at DD172, the Creative Control studio, and before that at a studio in Woodstock, which is in upstate New York. When I first lined up with Damon Dash, we were up in Woodstock, then we got the building in Tribeca.
And you and Dame met because of some rambunctious teens?
Yeah, Dame was looking for who he should be listening to and asked his nephews who told him about me. After that he reached out to me and we became cool.
Some would say that Dame’s using you as his music meal ticket right now in his attempt to resurrect Roc-A-Fella, does that make you nervous?
Not really, I mean, I don’t know about that. Me and Dame are on our own shit, all those people that were down with Roc-A-Fella have been hustling longer than me. I mean, I’m glad Dame’s in the army with me but I have nothing to prove. I’m just going to hold it down, because I know I’m right, he knows I’m right … it’s proven.
Following Pilot Talk, what else do you have coming up?
I’ve got three more albums, Pilot Talk, Pilot Talk 2, The Muscle Car Chronicles which are really just cars made between 1970 and 1987, then Pilot Talk the movie and the soundtrack and then I got my Jets. The Jets is my group with me and my three homies Roddy, Trademark and Street Wiz. We’ve been friends for a minute. Roddy always had the vegetable of choice and that’s how we became friends and I know Trademark through my cousin Larry.
You mentioned an album about muscle cars, do you have a vehicle preference?
I don’t do Fords, or what I call them “fix or repair dailies.” I ride Chevys.
We’re just curious, how much weed do you really smoke everyday? Between you and Wiz Khalifa’s green-inspired tweets, we’re getting a contact high …
I have no clue, I’m four joints in right now (ed note: this interview took place at 2pm EST, 1pm in NOLA) and I’m about to smoke again. One day I brought a half an ounce to the studio to smoke with Bun B, but I smoked it before I got there so I ended up getting some more when I got to the studio. Whatever health problems are caused by all of this smoking, I’m enjoying myself so I won’t be too bummed about it.
In 2006, you were affiliated with Lil Wayne’s Young Money, and before that Master P, but left because “you wanted to rap and that wasn’t what they were trying to do.” How have you maintained without a traditional crew?
Yeah, that’s been my thing. I just wanted to rap and I did my own thing and I partnered with my own people.
We just returned from a stay in New Orleans and a local artist shared that it’s difficult to gain hometown traction there unless you’re Lil Wayne, true?
No, not for me. The message I have in my music … people smoke weed everywhere. I’ve always heard people say that about their hometown but you never know who that’s coming from. You can’t expect a lot if you just started rapping, but I can’t say that about me.
If you could tell us one song to listen to on Pilot Talk, what would it be?
“Audio Dope II,” I recorded that in Jamaica.
Did you sample the weed in Jamaica?
Naw, the weed out there is all natural, they don’t grow no purple kush. When I was out there I brought my own weed with me. No disrespect to whatever they got out there but I knew what kind of weed I like and I like mine to come from California.
Top five favorite songs?