Album Review: Curren$y’s Covert Coup

“Covert Coup” is Curren$y’s first project under the Warner Bros. umbrella and any fears that Hot Spitta would conform to industry demands are put to rest within the first few lines of the album’s opener “BBS”. This that gold BBS flow/Classic Nike Air tags on the original 4’s,” he calmly retorts.

 This time around however Curren$y turns to legendary producer and fellow marijuana enthusiast Alchemist to mold the album’s sound. While his style is in stark contrast to the jazzy offerings of Ski Beatz who produced Spitta’s critically acclaimed 2010 albums Pilot Talk 1 & 2, his chemistry with Curren$y is evident. Curren$y’s laid back rhymes about weed, women, sneakers, and muscle cars mesh perfectly with Alchemist’s soulful east coast boom-bap production.

 Fresh off a three year jail term longtime Alchemist collaborator and Mobb Deep front man Prodigy joins the pair on “The Type”. As usual Prodigy’s matter of fact gangsta rhymes fit perfectly alongside Alchemist production and offers a break from Curren$y’s sometimes repetitive subject matter. “Scottie Pippen”, Curren$y’s menacing collaboration with Freddie Gibbs, also delivers a change of pace midway through the 10 track album with Gibbs delivering yet another rewind worthy verse to add to his list of scene-stealing guest appearances. “Scottie Pippen”, “The Type”, and “Blood, Sweat, and Gears”, a track featuring No Limit refugee Fiend are the only songs that extend over the three minute mark. Despite the fact that he offers only one verse per song the formula works perfectly in this case and the songs blend seamlessly as the album progresses.

 Curren$y’s genius lies in his ability to take somewhat limited subject matter and make it refreshing. Once again he manages to pull it by combining a healthy dose of classic hip hop with his own unorthodox rhyme schemes. On the EP’s standout cut “Ventilation” he uses a laid back flow to demonstrate his lyrical skill over Alchemist’s intoxicating production, “If you don’t know where to put it at don’t ride with it/ Cause they’ll try to lose you in the system for some weed in my city/ In the heart ain’t no love or no pity/ Looking for charity?/ That dog don’t hunt don’t come in the woods with it.”

 Unfortunately, avid Curren$y listeners will be familiar with the verses on three tracks as they were featured on his Hot 97 freestyle a few weeks prior to the album’s release. Combined with the official leaks of three other tracks to build anticipation for the release this leaves loyal listeners with only a total of four completely new songs. While Curren$y albums rarely feature more than 15 songs, this is especially short even by his standards. In addition, uninspired contributions from Smoke DZA on “Life Instructions” and Fiend on the aforementioned “Blood, Sweat, and Gears” leave much to be desired.

 Overall, Curren$y fans will find more of the “Jet Music” they’ve grown accustomed to and newcomers will find a concise, unmistakably hip-hop album for their enjoyment. Alchemist’s subdued production is solid, if not spectacular and provides a backdrop for a very cohesive album. At the very least hip-hop fans will have something to enjoy on a very special holiday.