Over the past month, hip-hop has remained predominantly dry — there have been two great albums and others that teeter between good and dull. Unfortunately, a lot of the dryness has come from big-name artists who delivered mediocrity since the end of August. From Drake’s Certified Lover Boy to Meek Mill’s Expensive Pain, the onslaught has left my brain feeling numb from empty verses with poor executions. And sometimes, you want to kick back and relax to music that embodies relaxing moods. So for the tokers, Curren$y has released his 12th LP, Still Stoned On Ocean, a follow-up to the 2016’s Stoned On Ocean — he delivers an elegant blend of witty-introspective raps on production, sounding like the producers were making them beachside. Still Stoned On Ocean is what some rap fans may need as a break from big releases.
A release by Curren$y is extra value in their musical wallet. Curren$y is consistent, with every project delivering at worst four to five new songs to add an ever-growing discography, specifically when he works with a producer. It isn’t always the case, as one could have someone specific mixing the project. Still Stoned On Ocean is mixed by Dre, half of Miami Hip-Hop producers Cool & Dre, giving the project a needed gloss — transporting us to a calm area. Despite Curren$y’s reflective nature, he takes you to cloud 9 with dreamy production and kick-back flows. As it repeats, you’re taking in the lyrics and the simple-elevated meaning behind them. Though the subject matter is the least of Curren$y’s worries, he makes sure the rhymes stay tight and letting Dre take control.
Dre mixes Still Stoned On Ocean to act like one consecutive sequence without an inherent 1-3 second pause in-between songs. To Curren$y’s credit, years of releasing and improving this craft have made consistency feel like a natural talent. And like I’ve mentioned in my review of Hitler Wears Hermes 8 B Sides, the DJ/Mixtape dynamic excels when traction arises from a series, letting the DJ give the songs a fluidity from start to finish. Curren$y is no stranger as Still Stoned On Oceans improves the production value. Dre’s polishes off a different set of layers, making sounds feel like the hip-hop equivalent of listening to the beach through a conch shell.
From “Game Tape 2” to “Brian De Palma,” Curren$y and Dre approach the transitions carefully. The cohesion entrances you through a systematic wavelength of calmness and heightened elevation, especially for the stoners. Handled by a few producers like 808-Ray and Smitty Beatz, the production contains that southern Miami feeling — wind blowing in your face on a 72 Degree day, as your blunt or joint simmers down, and the twinkly pianos and smooth production that envelops your relaxing moods.
Other times, it delivers a blend of melodic instrumental layers underneath film samples that emboldens the context. And throughout most of this project, Curren$y is reflective of his life and rapping like he is high in the clouds. The two features levy similar energy, giving Curren$y something to work off of, like Jim Jones, in the song “The Beach.” Their flows take you sky high, almost forgetting Curren$y and later, Fendi P, are rapping fluidly over the production. It’s an album that works on many levels, especially for the chill-out zone. It’s rare for a project to give a consistent vibe while hitting hard at various moments, which Curren$y does as Still Stoned On Oceans comes to a close.
Unfortunately, like most Curren$y projects, the choruses miss more than they hit, and despite continuing on Still Stoned On Oceans, it isn’t much of a detriment to on here as it breezes by swiftly. There are few times where it doesn’t escape you, like on “The One,” which is a repetition of the phrase “you’re the one,” before reaching the final verse, hollowed in laziness. And as much as Spitta Andretti tries, his focus is on his verses. A few choruses take you back like on “Brian De Palma,” where he spits “Like Brian De Palma wrote it/Notable poet who The Source never once quoted.” It leaves you in thought, even if it’s simple.
For fans of Curren$y, he delivers one of the best projects — from him — this year. Throughout the year, the projects felt a bit short-sighted, except for the production. That is the beauty behind Still Stoned On Oceans, despite some minor problems. The production buoys elegant consistency polished from the mixing from Dre — you’ll find something to kick back on this new LP.