Jim Morrison is dead. Fucking sad, but true. Though, when he did ‘break on through’ to the other side in 1971 in that bathtub in Paris, Morrison left an indelible mark on music, pop culture and so on and so on, despite the fact that The Doors are consistently, and sinfully, left out of the conversation when discussing the ‘greatest rock group of all-time.’
Shante Scott Franklin, also known as prolific New Orleans rapper Curren$y, was born ten years later in 1981 and is continually left out of the ‘best rappers working today’ conversation. So, with Morrison’s hangdog shadow looming over music forever, as it should, and Curren$y’s place in the forever ‘underrated’ category, it only makes sense that Curren$y—who has garnered a cult following around his aviation-inspired collective/lifestyle/sound (Jet Life) similar to those of us ever-devoted to Mr. Mojo Risin’—would find a kinsman in the spirit of Morrison.
Now, despite all of the Lizard King’s necessary substance indulgences (yes, necessary), The Doors released six of the greatest albums in rock music in five years. And this same level of quality productivity can be attributed to the seemingly perpetually stoned Curren$y, who claims he should be the ‘weed don’t stop you from working spokesperson.’ The Stoned Immaculate, which takes its name either from a lyric in “The WASP” off of L.A. Woman or from the same lyric in the song “Stoned Immaculate” off An American Prayer, is Curren$y’s ninth project in the last two years. Damn.
With that much material, you might assume that all of it couldn’t be as potent as the ground green leaves inside of Spitta’s raw papers. But you’d be wrong. Just about all of Curren$y projects have been straight ‘audio dope.’ The Stoned Immaculate is no different.
As with all Curren$y albums, the soundscape is of the utmost importance here. Though Curren$y has put his predilection for working primarily with one producer on hold (see Covert Coup or Piliot Talk I and II), each of the producers on this project — notable high-profile beat smiths include The Neptunes, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, and Big K.R.I.T. — have done their utmost to capture his o.g. kush aesthetic.
Bink!’s lush piano suite ‘What it Look Like’ is perfectly tailored to Curren$y’s sound. Unfortunately, while Wale is good for a hook, his overly emphatic ‘wordplay like a motherfucker’ comes off as bemused navel-gazing when compared to Spitta’s laid-back and understated intricacies. Big K.R.I.T also provides some of the album’s best production on ‘Jet Life.’ Everyone on the track sounds like they are rapping while snorkeling in the bong water—could be the next big thing. But, while K.R.I.T.’s laconic hook is purple haze perfection, one wishes Wiz Khalifa had ‘miss[ed] this jet.’ Though, Cardo’s production on “Showroom” is the standout on the album as it straddles the line between the Alchemist’s edgier production on Covert Coup and Monsta Beatz’s ‘elevator music’ stylings on This Ain’t No Mixtape.
Ultimately, like Morrison did, Curren$y knows that his ‘reputation proceeds [him].’ Thus, Curren$y gives us the same tropes/themes in his lyrics on this album. Though, it is all with the same candidness and inventiveness listeners should expect from the Jet captain at this point. For Morrison it was death, whiskey, Freud, women and many more poignancies this review does not have the time to address. For Spitta it is Jet Life — weed, women, cars, money, and more status symbols that are forever a part of the genre and our rampant consumer culture — which is just another way of saying it’s not the ’60s anymore. Unfortunately, Morrison isn’t coming back. So, for now, in 2012, maybe Spitta and The Stoned Immaculate will have to do.