Curren$y wasn’t always headlining Guerilla Union's “Rock the Bells;” however, from all the love he received, you couldn’t tell. When Curren$y exited his trailer for “Rock the Bells” in Mountain View, California he was greeted by a long line of people. Out of a cloud of smoke, he approached the line of various individuals. Beautiful women, members of Odd Future, and other notable industry peers—Spitta shook hands with all of them. The scene seemed almost presidential. He paused before running on stage, smoked a joint, and then went on to perform. For Curren$y, this was another day at the office. It wasn’t always like this though.
“I worked for a long time without recognition and without getting shit,” Curren$y noted. “When I did Fear and Loathing and all them mixtapes… When I was doing them tapes every month, I was doing that shit in my apartment. When I left Young Money—when I was cracked…lights getting cut off—all kind of shit. That shit was legit, but I had to keep doing what the fuck I had to do. You gotta work through that shit.”
Curren$y is proof that hard work pays off. When his deal with Cash Money fell through, he went back to the streets, releasing a mixtape a month for seven months straight. The buzz he generated allowed him to release independent albums, This Ain’t No Mixtape, and Jet Files, which then led to him releasing his Pilot Talk, and Pilot Talk 2, both in 2010, on Def Jam. While his continued hustle has landed him a label deal with Warner Bros. for his Jet Life Recordings imprint, as well as financial success, his grind has led to almost universal respect in the game. In a previous interview with West Coast veteran Mitchy Slick, when asked about whom he respects in the game, after giving props to the West Coast, he had the following to say about Spitta:
“We making the music. I ain’t jockin nobody else music, but I love… I ain’t gonna lie, me and my little nigga been talking about it as rappers. We do it all the time. I’m a Curren$y fan, and I fuck with Curren$y. I like that he’s a real nigga; he sound as ghetto as the ghettoest D-boy rapper but with all the elements of an emcee, so that’s what I fuck with.”
After rocking the stage at “Rock the Bells” in the bay area, Curren$y took time out to talk about grinding, Jet Life Recordings, New Orleans “Treme,” cars and sneakers…and, of course, weed.
Curren$y Talks “Rock the Bells” & His Jets Roster Of Artists
HipHopDx: So how many “Rock the Bells” have you done?
Curren$y: Man, I don’t know. I hope they not upset with me and take me off the bill for the next one. It’s just because we’ve done so many that I don’t know. I know I broke my mothafuckin’ fibula and my tibula, and I chipped a bone in my heel at “Rock the Bells.” I blew my whole left leg off three years ago. I know that much. I did not have insurance, so thank goodness I had a little bit of Rap change put away, and I was able to pay for the surgery. I would have just been permanently fucked up ‘cause I definitely fucked myself off that day.
DX: So what gave you the idea to do that deal with BitTorrent?
Curren$y: Just the fact that they could package the music with videos…how we did that Chef Menteur DVD…that full length. [I liked] the fact they could do all that, put pictures and make a bigger package than just doing a zip file. I still do all that too. That’s why when we released Barrels, we released it through BitTorrent, and I did it myself. I don’t give a fuck. I’ll just put a Hulkshare up. Then we did a Torrent deal, with some additional footage and additional music.
DX: So you just released Bales with you and Young Roddy. With that dropping and Roddy being a crowd favorite, why isn’t he out here?
Curren$y: He’s on tour right now. The good thing is, I got Roddy in a position where he can go on tour without me. Right now he’s on tour, and they got they own bus. He headlining “The Red Eye Tour,” and Cornerboy, and Mikey Rocks is on it some dates. He’s playing the next few dates, and he doesn’t have to be with me. I remember a time when Young Roddy didn’t have too much going on, and all he had to do is come to “Rock the Bells” with me. Now he’s on tour, doing his own thang, and he couldn’t be here with me. It’s a burden and a blessing.
DX: Who makes up the whole Jets roster?
Curren$y: Right now, it’s me, Roddy—Trademark is still around, but Trademark is in the cave right now working on music. People think he’s dead, and people think he’s in jail, but he’s just…he’s Trademark. Y’all know how he is. I talked to him, and he’s all good. He’s in an undisclosed location working on Flamingo Barnes 2. Cornerboy is working on his album. He didn’t title it yet, but he’s already five records in. Casso…some of the new people you hear on the Red Eye tape. Fiend still working, but right now we focusing on getting Roddy’s project together.
How Lil Snupe’s Death Affected Curren$y
DX: I feel like we cant talk about New Orleans, or rather Louisiana, without honoring the memory of Lil Snupe…
Curren$y: That fucked me up. The reason being—I didn’t even know homie that long—I had just met him that year. When I met him, I saw a lot of what had to be on my face when I first started doing this shit. When I first started hanging with Master P I started seeing the actual shit from the Rap. I was seeing the Bentley from the Rap, and sitting in that shit at the age I was at… Knowing I could possibly get to it if I just stayed around and did what the fuck they did. I could see that in his face.
He came to New Orleans and hung out with me because I do Jet Lounge every Wednesday. He’d get one of his homies to drive him out here, and we’d hang out. I just remember one time riding, and it’s crazy, ‘cause I had this exact same moment. C-Murder had a green Bentley Arnage, when he dropped CP3.com. I sat in it, I touched the dash board, and I said, “Yo, I’m definitely gonna have one of these. I have to get some shit like this.” Mind you now, fast-forward way to now, and I’m at my car wash. Me and Mousa got Street Customs, and Snupe came over there to smoke one with me. I’m like, “Let’s run to the crib so I can get some more gas.” So we riding, and homie’s like, “Man, I gotta get me one of these big motherfuckers.” We was in my Bentley, and I was like, “Man, you definitely gonna get it. You in the position—way bigger than anybody could imagine being in. Don’t even worry about this, because you gonna have more shit than me.” That’s what I told him, ‘cause we in the game, and we been in the game longer. So I can see the future, and I’m like, “Don’t trip off this. You need to start looking at what come out next year. You set up my nigga.” And a mothafucka hated on him. Just how we see it, another mothafucka see it, and they not as happy about it as we are.
DX: It’s a sad situation, because the dude who killed him was like 30…
Curren$y: Yeah, and the mothafucka know what’s in line for you and what you about to touch. That’s the same reason mothafuckas looked out for me. I was on the set, and mothafuckas was like, “Yo, shorty, take it in, ‘cause whoopty whoop standing out here, and niggas bout to let him have it. You need to get inside.” Niggas will tell you that…they’ll tell you that in the club, like, “Come stand by us in case it go down.” That kind of shit ain’t supposed to happen, because mothafuckas who older than you supposed to look out. That was some jive shit. I don’t give a fuck, and I’ll talk about that shit forever. Homie still my fucking avi on my Twitter right now. I ain’t never take my picture down. The shit was that fucking whack. Right now dude supposed to be at “Rock the Bells.” He just fucking had his video and had the tape running…had everybody showing love on the tape. There’s no way he wouldn’t have been on one of these stages. What the fuck? That’s what the fuck that happened for, ‘cause a mothafucka… That shit in your mind is like, “That’s the little homie, and he’s gonna make it.” It’s in another mothafucka’s mind, like, “I just wish…I just wish something.” And as soon as they get an excuse, they let that bitch ass shit take over them, and that’s the kind of shit that happens.
DX: On a more positive note, you say you have Jet Lounge Wednesdays. A lot of stuff has changed, since Katrina, but you stayed there and held it down. What all goes down in New Orleans?
Curren$y: Absolutely, and I’m trying to make it shit to do. I remember, when I didn’t have no scratch. It was a grip of shit to do, and I couldn’t buss ass at it. I got a motherfuckin’ Ferrari and all kind of shit now, and it ain’t shit popping in my city, so I’m fuckin’ throwing parties. I got the car shows we do every month we do called “Cars and Cuts.” It’s me and my homie Fee from YM motors, so that’s Jet Life and Young Money putting together right there. That’s free. You just bring your whip, and as long as you don’t come through riding raggedy…you pull up clean, park and it’s all good. We got a DJ, we got food and shit, and we do that every month. I do Jet Lounge every Wednesday. You can come through, you hear the kind of music that you hear in your crib when you cleaning up. You hear the kind of music you play when you riding to the club—not necessarily the club joints, ‘cause it’s called “Jet Lounge”—so you come in and you kick it. That’s the kind of shit that I’m trying to put together.
DX: New Orleans has always had a live music scene, even going back to the birth of Jazz and all that. How do you feel about it now, with artists like yourself, your Jet Life artists and Jay Electronica?
Curren$y Speaks On New Orleans’ Live Music Scene & “Treme”
Curren$y: What’s good about it is that through the Rap, it’s still a lot of live instruments and hardcore, to the core musicians. It’s some people that don’t even rate us as musicians; you know what I’m saying? But, fuck them. There’s some people that are that way, and, there’s enough “real musicians” in quotation marks, doing they thing. Trombone Shorty—that’s not Rap music. That is from a horn, and that’s him doing his thing. Rebirth Brass band still doing they mothafuckin’ thing. Lil Rascals… These bands like tour and play live music in clubs. Just how we go around and pick up racks to rap, they go, they play they music, and they pick they money up. They be in the airport just like me, and they from the city, and it show you that it didn’t go nowhere. When you see New Orleans in movies, the first thing you see is either a alligator or somebody with a mothafuckin’ saxophone just walking down the street. It’s not like that, but there’s definitely a presence.
DX: Have you ever got a chance to see the show “Treme?”
Curren$y: Man, they should reach out to me!
DX: How do you feel about that? It’s always interesting to hear what people from these actual areas, just like “The Wire” and Baltimore…
Curren$y: They should reach out to me. I flip through it, and I’ve caught it just on occasion. I saw their interpretation of our Mardi Gras, of the parade, and how that go down, and I… I didn’t know about the look of that. I guess it’s because it’s TV, so it can’t be as grimy. I’m just like, “They missing some dirt.” These people were all kept, but it’s all walks of life at Mardi Gras. You not gonna see everybody so well to do. It’s what it is, and nobody gives a fuck. You gonna see somebody who grew up on St. Charles and is rich, [or somebody that] grew up behind the gate and they’ll be fuckin’ drunk, second lining with somebody my momma didn’t want me hanging around. It’s all good that day. That day. They gotta bring that in. I would like to see more of what’s going on in the streets. I know they don’t need to make it a crime thing, but just to make it realer for the characters to show the struggle for motherfuckers to still be good in that motherucker when it’s not too many choices but to do the wrong shit. You got these people in “Treme” that—and they good people—but you gotta show some of that other side, just to show how hard it is to be good. With that being said, anybody from HBO that hear this or go on HipHopDX, fuck with me about that “Treme” shit. I’ll pull up on the set and tell you, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, yeah, no…” [pointing around as if to judge things] I’ll bring some of my homies, and we’ll tell you what’s real. I’ll get my mom to fucking cook ya’ll some food, and we’ll do it New Orleans style.
DX: So, Pilot Talk 3 is the next move, right?
Curren$y: Pilot Talk 3 is on the radar, but right now, I’m doing New Jets City: Directors Cut. I may release a follow up to Stoned Immaculate. I’m gonna do Pilot Talk 3 in a second; me and Ski been talking.
DX: So what makes an album Pilot Talk? You’ve done two in the Pilot Talk series, but since then you had Weekend at Burnies. What is it when you make an album that’s like “This is Pilot Talk?”
Curren$y: Just that I work with Ski. I feel like I wouldn’t be able to do Pilot Talk without getting a beat from him. Due to situations, and things being the way it is, it probably wouldn’t be like him doing the majority of it. I got so many relationships that I developed through my hustle. I gotta make sure I eat with Harry Fraud, Alchemist and Monsta Beatz, so I’ll be able to delegate work to everybody, and we can put together a hell of a project. But if Ski’s not involved, it wouldn’t be able to be Pilot Talk 3. He just texted me about sending some beats. As long as he send me some heaters, we might be working on it right now.
DX: You’ve done independent projects, and you’ve done projects on a major label. Why is it an artist like you would chose to do projects with a major?
Curren$y: Because if they make it make sense. You stay independent long enough until you can prove to a major that you could exist with or without them. Then, at that point, they gotta hustle with you different. They kinda gotta let you know what’s in they hand a little bit, because your hand is just as strong as theirs. Once they realize that you a machine just like they a machine, they’ll approach you, let you know what’s going on and then you can make it make sense. We were able to get together on merch and different avenues to pick up checks.
DX: Another one of those motivational items is a car. I know you like Chevy’s, but what’s your favorite car?
Curren$y: In general, 1996 Impala. There’s no way around it; it’s the best car in the world. I got three of ‘em, and I can’t handle that shit. But my favorite car at the moment, that got my heart, my investment is the El Camino. But I got a 1976 Caprice that I just put hydraulics on. I’m just riding around listening to Eazy-E, riding on three wheels and shit. They don’t have many of those in New Orleans, so I’m just having a good time. See, this all goes to that material shit, and motivation, because I had a ’64 Impala before. When things got rough, and I was hustling and shit again, that’s the first thing I had to do to get back on my feet to hustle. I had to chuck the low rider. That’s what you do. That’s really why you get all that shit in the first place. You look at it like on the street shit. You hustling, buying all this jewelry, and soon as something go down—one of your homies go to jail or something—you get rid of the Rolex. You get your man out, and y’all fucking get right back on, get two of them bitches and it’s all good. It’s really the same, if that’s really what you was doing… If you really know that shit, you apply it to the music, and you’ll be unstoppable. I ain’t sell a motherfuckin grain of coke, of powder, a bump. I ain’t sold a bump, but I watched enough of the shit, and I know what’s good. I know where I grew up at, and I know where I grew up around, and it’s the same hustle. That’s why I handle it like this. That’s why I refer to myself as an audio dope dealer. This shit really is my bricks, because this what I got. This my hustle.
DX: Earlier in the game, people were looking at you as one of the main sneakerheads, right now; you’re rocking the True Blue 3’s….
Curren$y: Exactly, and this is not no mothafuckin’ this year shit; this is the ’09 release. They were only fucking available overseas and of course at Flight Club. These are those. I got three pairs of those, and I got the ‘01’s, but I’m not gonna rock those to “Rock the Bells” and perform in them.
Curren$y Compares Sneakerhead Culture & Dog Breeding
DX: Are you still into the sneakers, or is it the fact they do the multiple releases in the same year?
Curren$y: The fact that they doing all that shit, bruh. I seen fire reds, and Laney highs and shit that I got in the box in the refrigerator. They just reproducing this shit like it’s nothing, and it gets like pit bull puppies. I say that, because when pit bulls became popular, motherfuckers was mating brothers and sisters, and just whatever the fuck to hurry up and sell the puppies. Everything getting like pit bull puppies—music and everything. I just don’t like that. That’s what happened with that shit. What I buy, all the time, is white on whites. Mids, lows, and if I can get highs with the Velcro strap you can take off, I buy them. That’s all I cop.
DX: Since you mentioned puppies, you also have bulldogs right?
Curren$y: I got two French bulldogs. I got Staffordshire terrier, which is like your normal pit bull. I got two American bullies, and I’m thinking about an English bulldog. I’m fucking dog crazy, and ain’t nothing I can do about it. Shout out to the mothafuckin’ puppies.
DX: I’ve seen them on your Instagram….
Curren$y: They run my Instagram.
DX: Those and model cars?
Curren$y: It’s either those or model cars. I’m trying to get down with a toy company and fucking get my own model car set up.
Curren$y Analyzes His Bond With Wiz Khalifa
DX: So, recently, you became a god father, how is that?
Curren$y: Yea man, for “The Bash.” That’s my little man right there. Have people seen him? Do they show pictures of him?
DX: They don’t show them that much…
Curren$y: [Laughs] It’s nuts; it’s so crazy. I knew him, and nobody had known him. I didn’t even know that. I’m so fucking high and in the clouds, I’m like, “Yo, I’m gonna fuckin’ Instagram him,” and they was like, “Nah, Nah,”….and I was like “I’m just joking”…I didn’t know. That’s my little man.
DX: With you and Wiz, going back to How Fly, it’s like a cult classic. Are you guys looking to make another project?
Curren$y: Yeah man, all the time. How Fly was the beginning for us. I always tell people we was definitely going half on a plate of orange chicken, and like half on an ounce…or maybe we’d just smoke and not eat. It was definitely the beginning.
DX: How does it feel for you to be here now, and him where he’s at?
Curren$y: What’s crazy is this is exactly what we wanted. You can hear all through our music, this is exactly what we wanted. [Wiz Khalifa] wants, wanted, to be a fucking planet…and by god, he is. He’s a planet. Me, I wanted to build a low rider, be in the cut, and just do my shit. I’m at Rock the Bells; they always reach out to me. I’ve progressed, and I realize what time I used to be on compared to when I’m on now. All that shit is dope. It’s love. I couldn’t have wrote it out better for two people that’s brothers in the game. We came into it together, so we don’t have to get caught up in none of this fake ass shit, like, “Do you fuck with him?” That’s like legitimately who I came in the game with as far as when it really turned good for me. In light of me becoming my own boss and getting my own situation set up, all my other situations are in good standing. Me and Wayne hang out all the time, and me and Baby cool…everything’s good.
DX: What about the legal issue with you and Dame?
Curren$y: We working on it. I look at it like, that shit was miserable. That shit was miserable for me to be going through. I’m sure it wasn’t no fun for Dame—especially like seeing our faces on shit all the time for this, when you used to see us so fucking close about shit. But, there’s matters of money and shit. I did rap; I did make songs and rap on them. I saw the records on shelves. I just know, if we cook up a fucking brick and it’s gone, we got some bread. If I left it at your house, and it’s gone… Fuck dog, what’s up? If nobody came and bought it, and it’s still gone, you still gotta figure out how you gonna get me mine.
DX: Speaking on another situation, how are you and Terry Kennedy?
Curren$y: We’re not. I haven’t spoken to homie in however long, just because that shit was unwarranted. So flat out, I don’t know nothing about it, and that’s why I never got in it. I was like, “I’m smoking and chilling, so whatever. You know me, and you been around me long enough just now to know me. I’m 100.” It wasn’t nothing I could do. At that point, if I don’t know what it’s about, it’s no point in me getting in it, ‘cause I could never win. I’ll never even win. It’ll always go on. I don’t wish bad on nobody, but we hung out a good bit.
DX: As far as smoking and chilling, I know you’ve been to Colorado, and I know you’ve been to Washington. How do you feel about weed being legalized?
Curren$y: What’s crazy about the shit in Washington is I got popped two miles outside of where it’s legal. They fuckin’ ran on the bus, took my driver to jail and they took all us to jail. The first thing they told me when I got in that mothafucka was, “You know y’all was two miles away from where it was legal?” They was like, “If y’all just would have rode two miles with them following you with the sirens on, it would have been legal.”
DX: You’re out here in California right now messing with the Cali stuff. Do you think marijuana is gonna be better in Colorado and Washington?
Curren$y: I hope. I know how to find gas anywhere I go. It’s a search when you get in certain places. No disrespect, but for my taste, and what I smoke, I gotta hit a select mothafucka when I get certain places. I’m like, “Yo, where the gas at?” Just like in New Orleans, it’s not just gas growing out. You gotta hit the right motherfucka about it. Hopefully, it gets uncontrollable out there.
DX: So who are you messing with in the game right now?
Curren$y: I still listen to Max B, and Earl Sweatshirt is tight. I fuck with the fucking Doris. Everybody else is my friend, so I don’t want to get into it. Nipsey Hu$$le. Chip the Ripper—that’s the kind of shit I listen to.