Dig Baton Rouge

Jet Life

By William McCray Sutherlin

Shante Scott Franklin, better known by the stage name Curren$y, will return to the Varsity Theatre stage on August 4.

“If you stick to your guns, stick to what you’re saying, then, in the end, the universe will give it to you, because you believed in yourself. You can pretty much just create your own world; if you don’t like it, then just make it how you want it to be.”

On his last trip to The Red Stick, Baton Rouge Police didn’t take too kindly to his smoking habits.  They detained his tour bus and charged him with possession of an illegal substance, forcing him to walk to the Varsity Theatre.  This minor hold-up didn’t phase Curren$y, who took the stage to a “Jet Life” chant and shared a smoke on stage with an enthusiastic fan.

That sort of brashness is a hallmark of Curren$y’s career. The New Orleans born rapper turned entrepreneur has been making big moves both musically and fiscally (now worth an estimated $7 million) for over a decade.

His career began in 2002, signing with Master P’s No Limit Records.  After signing, Curren$y blew up.  His track “Get Back” with the 504 Boyz, produced by Donald XL Robertson, made it on the “Malibu’s Most Wanted” soundtrack, giving him instant nationwide recognition.

In 2004, Curren$y appeared on five songs in Master P’s Good Side, Bad Side album.  Even though he was signed to No Limit Records, he put down several tracks with incarcerated friend and infamous lyricist, C-Murder.

After working with C-Murder and being featured on the late Soulja Slim’s album, Years Later, Curren$y signed with Cash Money Records and Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment.

He was featured in Lil Wayne’s Dedication, Dedication 2, and The Suffix while with Young Money.  After releasing a mixtape titled Welcome Back in 2004, Curren$y created clothing imprint turned music group, Fly Society with skateboarder Terry Kennedy.  He remained with Young Money until late 2007 and went on to release a slew of mixtapes in 2008.

Cranking out so much content, he’s bound to repeat a theme or two in the process.

“I feel like I’m only supposed to rap about my life and what I’m doing,” he said. “And all I’m doing is getting high and chillin’, so that’s it. If I [recorded] some other shit, I’d feel lost. You gotta rap about your life.”

This simplistic approach to songwriting has captivated many a rap fan, and made him a phenomenon amongst heavy smokers.

In 2009, Curren$y signed with Amalgam Digital and released two albums. His debut album, This Ain’t No Mixtape, was produced by Monsta Beatz, and he later released Jet Files.

His third album, appropriately titled Pilot Talk dropped in July 2010, less than a year after his first two albums were released.  This release came with a star-studded list of featured artists, including Snoop Dogg, Big K.R.I.T., and Mos Def, and was predominantly produced by Ski Beatz.

After the release of Pilot Talk II in November 2010, Curren$y made arguably the biggest move of his career by signing a label deal with Warner Bros. Records for his own imprint, Jet Life Recordings. This deal brought about his next project, Covert Coup, which was cleverly released for free on April 20th, otherwise known as National Weed Smoking Day.

In 2011, Weekend at Burnie’s was released, inspired by the 1989 screwball comedy. It featured the Jet-Life anthem “JetsGo,” produced by Rahki.  The rest of the tape was produced by Monsta Beatz, who Curren$y has worked with a lot over the years.

Later on in 2011, Curren$y and his Jet Life crew dropped Jet World Order under Jets International/iHipHop.  All tracks feature Young Roddy and Trademark da Skydiver.  Curren$y actually only appears on 3 tracks, but contributors include Smoke DZA, Cornerboy P, Street Wiz, and Nesby Phips.

Curren$y’s highly anticipated EP, The Stoned Immaculate was released in July 2012 and produced by Harry Fraud.

According to Curren$y, the album was inspired by Jim Morrison and the way his life was portrayed in the 1991 film The Doors.

“[It was] exactly how I said I wanted it to be,” he explained.  “Everything was tight. All the songs that I wanted. I just heard a lot of the mixed-down versions in the truck; I don’t really listen to myself, so I was never really listening to it when it was getting mixed down. But now that I can hear it for the first time, I’m very excited.”

The album is chock full of heavy hitting collaborators, such as Pharrell, 2 Chainz, Wale, and Estelle, just to name a few.

“Me and Pharrell [had] known [each other] for years prior to me calling him to work on this album,” he said. “I had known 2 Chainz since he was Tity Boi, so he was my friend regardless. Wale was my homie for years; it just so happened that he was doing amazing, so it was tight that I be calling him. Wiz [Khalifa] is like my fucking brother; we came [up] in this shit at the same time. He’s like a fucking megastar, but it’s nothing for him to stop megastar-ing, to do whatever for my shit.”

The album has received criticism for being
too commercial and not as original as some of his older work.  However, there are plenty of Jet Life fans that will jump on any critic, applauding him for what they believe to be a well-crafted and excellently produced eighth album.

Curren$y has never been one to care about what the critics are saying, always marching to the beat of his own drum.

“Just do what you wanna do,” he confidently stated. “If you stick to your guns, stick to what you’re saying, then, in the end, the universe will give it to you, because you believed in yourself. You can pretty much just create your own world; if you don’t like it, then just make it how you want it to be.”

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