Ten years ago, Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa joined forces to bring us the classic 15-track stoner-anthem “How Fly.” Curren$y had just left fellow New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment two years prior in search of independence.
Wiz was an emerging artist from Pittsburgh who had just recently gotten out of a deal with Warner Brothers Records in search of more control over his work. So, there was no surprise when the two linked up in what seemed to be an attempt at starting fresh.
Both rappers have different styles that complement each other well. Wiz has a straightforward, hazy way of delivering his lines, with unmistakable enunciation and a recipe that has proven to work well for him. Curren$y, on the other hand, weaves together scene-setting raps so effortlessly they seem to float over each beat.
If you came here expecting lyrically complex bars and deep, intricate metaphors – look elsewhere. Instead, the best duo in stoner rap since Snoop and Dre connect on “2009,” an album at least four years in the making, to deliver 14 songs full of luxurious weed raps.
With only two features, from Ty Dolla $ign and Problem, the number of guest spots is limited – leaving more time for the pair to spit their opulent bars and brag about smoking $300 joints.
The album begins with “Garage Talk,” a hard-hitting and funky production, laced with braggadocios lines from both Wiz and Curren$y. It makes for a more than perfect introduction to the sequel of an already 10-year-old body of work.
“Six car garage, I got more than one job – be a boss, go hard,” a confident Wiz says on the opening lines of the album.
The Ty Dolla $ign assisted “Benz Boys” paints a picture of the exuberant lifestyle these two truly live. The production, handled by infamous producer Dame Grease – who is responsible for some of DMX’s grittiest cuts – allows Ty Dolla $ign to sing an infectious hook that will surely make heads nod.
Frequent Wiz collaborators, Cardo and Sledgren, also lend their signature smooth sound on a number of tracks, most notably “The Life” and “Find a Way.”
“The Life” shows us that the two artists really are having the time of their lives – “I get more money today than you see for the rest of your life,” Wiz boasts with conviction.
Probably very true, Mr. Khalifa.
On “Find a Way,” Wiz and Curren$y trade bars over a wavy beat that sounds as if the duo is rapping via cloud. Wiz reminds us why he’s been at the top of his game for so long, as Curren$y reminds us how their previous collaboration influenced everyone – from the way they smoke, to the way they dress.
One record that sets itself apart from the others is “No Clout Chasin.” With a slowed-down, mellow beat, Khalifa is able to elegantly flow over the production, while Curren$y reminisces on his verse. A captivating hook gives this track potential to become a hit.
“Watch me turn this beat into a foreign with a spoiler on it,” Curren$y raps – and successfully accomplishes – on the album’s final track “Forever Ball.” The Harry Fraud production allows him to comfortably ride the beat, leaving us all to wonder what’s next for these two larger-than-life rappers.
Although there’s not much growth on “2009,” there is a healty mixture of hype, club bangers and wavy, laid back records. The project shows both artists’ ability to stick to a blueprint that has been, and still proves to be, successful.
All in all, “2009” is at most a better than average album and at the very least, a nostalgic trip back to middle school.
Curren$y said it best – “When the smoke clears decades later, we’ll still be here.”
Wiz and Curren$y solidify themselves as “Stoned Gentlemen” without breaking any new ground.