“With these lazy eyes, I’ve seen more than you could see in seven lifetimes”
Curren$y – “Flight Briefing” (Pilot Talk II)
Shante Scott Franklin aka Curren$y aka Spitta Andretti is a Louisiana rapper and the unlikely hero of our story. A journeyman of the rap game, Spitta never quite found a permanent home in the industry. His early career was marred by poor management, creative control issues and a general lack of promotion, which led to several false starts and rebirths at multiple big-name record labels. From his time signed to Master P’s No Limit Records to a brief a stint as a member of the 504 Boyz and finally a short time at Cash Money Records/Young Money Entertainment with Birdman and Lil Wayne, Curren$y pinballed his way across the early 2000s never quite finding the ideal creative environment. Because of his many ill-fated stabs at signing major contracts Spitta never released a debut album for No Limit or YMCMB. Much of his material from the early 2000s has and will never see the light of day.
“Done a dotted line tightrope walk/ Where the suits want results they don’t talk/ Dozens of songs locked away and rotten in a vault/ No one to blame it was solely my fault”
Curren$y – “Flight Briefing” (Pilot Talk II)
In 2007, Curren$y signed with Amalgam Digital – a small-time label based in Boston and subsequently released his first two albums This Ain’t No Mixtape and Jet Files through the label in 2009. These two projects were the first strokes of a rebirth for the yeoman of underground rap. Gone were the bars about chains, guns, and hoes. In their place, Spitta began using his delivery to serenade us with references of NBA 2K, flowery weed metaphors, and vintage Chevys, which com across as far more genuine and relatable.
Aside: Like watch this video and tell me Curren$y (then Currency) isn’t just set tripping in a Lil Wayne song. He looks restless and uncomfortable like he doesn’t believe what he’s rapping and he doesn’t want you to believe it either: “It’s a revolvin’ door, pussy goin’, pussy comin'” *heavy eye roll*
It wasn’t until Curren$y’s third album, Pilot Talk that the JETS truly began to take flight. Linking up with Dame Dash’s aptly titled CREATIVE CONTROL: DD172 imprint, Spitta and legendary beatmaker Ski Beatz (he produced this little thing) unleashed a perfect blend of weed raps mixed with lush live instrumentation and heavyweight features (Snoop Dogg, Big K.R.I.T., Mikey Rocks, Mos Def, Jay Electronica, and Stalley) to provide a serious exclamation point on Curren$y’s career. Pilot Talk was Curren$y finally being able to stand up and say “SEE THIS IS WHAT CAN DO!”
Just four months later in November 2010, Pilot Talk II was released. Thirteen more Ski Beatz-produced tracks replete with a feature from fucking Raekwon on the album’s standout track “Micheal Knight” (an homage to David Hasselhoff’s Knight Rider). Rarely are sequels better than the original, but PTII was able to take the formula of the original and make it even better. Curren$y effortlessly switches some serious to silly and self-aware in a single breath. Like these from “Silence”:
“So crafty, mastered the flow, Alaska cold/ silent foot assassin approach/ High when I stroll/ Not even leaving footprints in the snow, you know”
Curren$y – “Silence” (Pilot Talk II)
Or on “Flight Briefing” where the hook is simply a woman reading airplane security and safety instructions (As if Birdman or Lil Wayne would have ever let that shit happen). It’s all just so perfect.
A third and final installment in the Pilot Talk series arrived in 2015 to complete the trilogy. Now armed with his very own record label Jet Life Recordings Curren$y has been able to give his fans the one thing they’ve pined for since his days at No Limit: content. In the decade since Curren$y went independent, he’s released something close to 44 mixtapes (all free), 2 EPs (also free), and 12 full-length albums (oh, and the Pilot Talks were free, too.). In that time his, his music has bounced around various free blogs (Shouts, Dat Piff) and other music platforms, but Pilot Talk and Pilot Talk II have never been readily available for streaming in one consistent place. Until now:
At long last after almost 20 years of toil in an industry that can grind down even the most ardent of talents, Curren$y’s efforts to serve his day ones has finally come to fruition. His trifecta of aviation-themed hip-hop brilliance has finally found a home. And while the neverending flow of free music releases that he willingly and lovingly unleashed on his fans (very much a response to his early troubles of trying to get his music into the people he cares about most) will likely won’t ever stop. At least the creme de la creme of his work can now be experienced and enjoyed by every millennial whose parents credit card is linked to their Spotify account. Big ups, Spitta. The Jets are flying high.