Just how hard is Curren$y’s upcoming record, The Stoned Immaculate? Well, when he dropped by Complex to play it for us, it broke our speakers. Not just damaged, mind you. Totally destroyed them. In another industry, a new product causing such grievous damage wouldn’t be a good sign. But somehow this particular mishap felt auspicious. Spitta smiled.
And why not? Though he’s a prolific recording artist with numerous releases under his belt, The Stoned Immaculate is being billed as Curren$y’s first true mainstream album. But don’t get it twisted: Spitta wants you to know that nothing’s changed except the budget. Bigger-name producers (Pharrell, Daz Dillinger, DJ Toomp). Bigger-name features (Snoop, 2 Chainz, Wale). And a big sound—perfectly suited for shredding speakers.
But let him tell it. Unlike many other artists, Curren$y talks about his work and what inspires it in interesting ways. So read on as he breaks down some key tracks from the album, explains why his music is sorta like Independent Film Channel, and speaks on his Warner deal and differences with Dame Dash.
Interview by Ross Scarano (@RossScarano)
On Signing To Warner Music
So it’s been like almost a year since you signed to Warner Music. How do you feel about the decision a year later?
I feel like it was right. When I wake up and just think about what’s going on, and how easy it is to make some shit happen, it was the right decision as opposed to what I was doing.
Were you happy with, say, the Weekend at Bernie’s release?
Yeah, because I don’t want fucking airplanes flying with banners because I did something. Cause the people who are out to see that are people who not gonna get my shit anyways. I don’t need all that. They understand how I work.
I don’t want airplanes flying with banners because I did something. Cause the people who are out to see that are people who not gonna get my sh*t anyways.
Another machine would take the way I work and assume that it’s a loss. Like “Why we give this kid all this money and they did this many units? That’s not that cool.” But it’s fucking awesome to us. Cause we didn’t go fucking crazy. We didn’t fucking paint the Empire State Building to promote it.
I feel like that’s why some people go to the majors, though, because they want that.
That’s what they wanna do, but see what happens when they don’t meet that. There’s no expected thing over there at Warner. What it is with me, is they admire the moves I’m making on my own. I’m still having records sold either way.
I’m in the black over there right now. Wanna talk Weekend at Bernie's? Ask them. They’ll tell you about Weekend at Bernie's. It’s fine. Everything is good. They not tripping. There’s no rumors of shaky deals or nothing and shit’s sweet.
So it’s about security?
Yeah, honestly, man, independently you can hustle and hold yourself down. But when you talking about how you wanna start a label and all your homies are stupid nice and you got to do shit, you got to have an allegiance somewhere or alliance or something to facilitate that shit. By me working at Warner and being able to garner all this extra attention, it’s gonna be dispersed amongst everybody who fuck with me too. So it’s all good.
Expectations for Stoned Immaculate
Do you feel like this record is gonna reach more people?
Yes, mainly because I reached out and did more things than I usually do.
What made you do that? What was the thought process?
Me knowing I have my own company. I got Jet Life, so I got to set up other people’s lanes, you know? And I can’t close doors for them just because I want to hustle with myself. I got a lot of friends in the industry and I figured it’s time for me to cash in on them friendships too.
And to open the lanes for my friends, because my homeboys are gonna need production from Daz, they’re gonna want verses from people as they’re working on their projects. So it’s good to open up now and hustle with everybody.
So it came from a real natural place?
Yeah absolutely, and that’s why I said nothing was a reach. Everybody who I worked with was somebody I spoke to and kicked it with anyways, and it didn’t have to be about a record. Like 2 Chainz. I knew him when his name was Tity Boi. That’s my homie, so it was nothing to do that. Me and Raekwon, that’s like my big homie, Snoop’s my homie.
All I’ve ever really wanted to do was keep my sneaker collection straight and keep the Chevys running and all. It’s way more than I’ve imagined it being.
Wale is my friend—we did the XXL freshman cover in 2009. So it’s not a reach for me to work with any of those people. I wouldn’t do anything that was like that. I don’t wanna have to “Oh, nice to meet ya.” Like If we’re not friends we’ve got no point doing this shit. I’m having fun, this is not work, like I’m hustling but we’re having a good time. We’re having fun.
How do you feel seeing 2 Chainz touching so many more people than he did as Tity Boi?
You know what? It’s like a season. When it’s your season, when it comes to you, that’s from you staying in the game. I always say the universe or God won’t give it to you until you exhibit some faith. If it’s in you to do music, if it’s placed in your mind—this is what you’re gonna do.
If you waver in faith, like “Ahh it’s probably not,” then it won’t. Because you’re not going 100%. I hate to say it but you got to throw all your eggs in one basket—you know what I’m saying? Cause once that happens then the universe is like, “He believes in himself. I can’t fuck him. He’s got nothing else.”
And that dude held on, he’s been around long enough where a motherfucker could have been like, “Alright fuck this this shit. I’m about to bubble some fucking crack and get it poppin’.” But lo and behold, he held on and held on, and now it’s off the chain—like way more than he could have imagined.
It’s the same with me, and I don’t even have half the acclaim around me that 2 Chainz has going around him. All I’ve ever really wanted to do was keep my sneaker collection straight and keep the Chevys running and all. It’s way more than I’ve imagined it being. It’s way more than that for me, so it’s like crazy. It’s all in believing.
If this album does reach more people, do you think you’ll continue moving in the same direction? What will the next project look like after that?
I mean I feel like this wasn’t too much of a direction switch, so it’ll stay the same. If anything you’ll just see more products. I feed off people that are happy with what I do. So if this gets more hype than my last project. I put out Here. I put out an EP one day and then people went so nuts that when Styles P came to New Orleans I was like, “Yo, we should do another one.”
So I put out two in that month just because people liked it. So if everybody goes nuts I just got to give them another one, that’s all. It’s good, it just makes me work. And then if it’s not, it’s gonna make me work even harder to make sure that they like that motherfucker. I’m gonna work either way.
You put out a lot of music. When people talk about you, that’s one of the things that always comes up—your output. Do you spend much time thinking about what you’ve done in the past?
No, I don’t know nothing about it after I did it. I don’t listen to none of my songs so I’m not aware of what I did—like, at all. Kinda crazy.
The Sound Of Stoned Immaculate
Who are the artists that you’re thinking about when you make music?
What I listen to? A lot of Snoop, Slick Rick, Outkast, UGK, 8Ball and MJG, and Cube. Everything I listen to is a lot of grooving, you know—melodic. I don’t like too many hard beats. So I just try to keep it the same way, like Camp Lo and shit, all the shit that I came up listening to.
So when you were seeking out producers for the new record, you were looking for guys who had that sound?
Yeah, I was pretty much trying to find the same people who created the sounds that I liked. Like I worked with Daz on the album. He’s actually rapping on one record and he produced two records. His stuff still sounds like the original Dogg Pound—that’s still the kind of music he makes.
I don’t like too many hard beats. So I just try to keep it the same way, like Camp Lo and
all the sh*t that I came up listening to.
Same style right there. I like that shit. And then working with Pharrell, he asked me what I was trying to do. So I was able to tell him “Yo, like this—like when you did such and such.” So it was nothing for him to go back to that time, you know what I’m saying?
So when somebody like Pharrell asks you what do you want, did you tell him other artists that you want it to sound like?
Nah, I just tell them whatever it should feel like. I watch a lot of movies, sometimes I’ll say shit like—like Monster Beats for instance, I told them I needed a beat that sounded a ’79 Monte Carlo. You know what I’m saying? It needs to feel like that.
Yeah and they knew. They was like “Ahhhh, alright.” You know what I’m saying? It was weird, but they were able to achieve what I was saying. So it was cool.
How would you describe the album overall?
Other than the title? Just, uh, Independent Film Channel.
IFC? What about IFC?
Yeah, Independent Film Channel, cause there’s something there. If you give it a go, you’re gonna like it. If you talk about it, like people will tell you “I don’t watch that channel, there’s never anything on!” If you listen to people, you won’t give it a shot. But if you give it a shot, you’ll like it.
People don’t really give you the mind that my fans think I deserve for a lot of shit. And that’s OK. Like a lot of people say my name and say, “He was on that other label...” He did this, that, and the third. And they don’t give my music a chance. And then when they do, it’s like, “Oh shit! I was sleeping.”
I get tweets like that every day. “I apologize bro, I slept on you for like fucking 5 years, I didn’t know.” But it's all good. You’re never late. It’s alright. So it’s like the Independent Film Channel cause if you just get into it, you gonna find something you fuck with, and it’s gonna make you bring other people in.
I get tweets like that every day. “I apologize bro, I slept on you for like 5 years, I didn’t know.” But it's all good. You’re never late. It’s alright.
Like people fight for me, the people who ride for me, fight. Whatever job they at, wherever they’re at, they like always waving a banner of like, “Nah, this shit is real. Fuck with this dude. You should give it a listen. Fuck with this shit.” And I appreciate it.
Cause you know it’s cause they found something they like. It’s like with IFC. I’m always telling people, I’ll go to your house and I’ll tune into that channel and leave the remote, and smoke a joint—and just whatever. Give it a chance! You’re cheating yourself, because that stuff will never be in the movies. It may eventually.
What’s so crazy is you’ll see something on IFC and then 2 years later there’ll be some phenomenon for it, and they was like “Yo, I fucking saw this!” It’s the same thing with my shit. People sleep. Then I’ll meet somebody and they’ll be like “Yo I just heard such and so”... and I’ll be like, “Yeah, I did that in 2009 bro. But welcome to the party.” [Laughs]. You know what I’m saying? So it’s like that.
Collaborating with Wale
Is "What It Look Like" the first track on the album?
Yeah that’s really the first single. That’s the first video me and Wale did. Shout out to the G.
Where did you guys shoot it?
Atlanta, shot it in the Atlanta airport. Like a week or so ago.
Who was the director?
Yo honestly, I have no clue. [Laughs.] I don’t even know.
That’s not something that’s that important to you?
Yo, actually it is. I only know... OK, now I do know. I don’t know the one guy who shot the joint honestly. I just know my mans Kareem, who was behind the production for “She Don’t Want a Man” and “This is the Life”—the last 2 videos. So I don’t know who he had shooting for him, but he was actually putting things in place.
Collaborating with Big K.R.I.T.
You fuck with this K.R.I.T.?
Yeah I do. Are you into the new tape?
Yeah, yeah. I fuck with it, I fuck with it. I’m probably gonna get him; I got this one record that I think I want to scoop him on the album and I’ll probably get that from him. Cause he did this beat, he did the hook for me on this record. But I wanna get a verse from him. I probably got another song I’m gonna put him on.
How did you guys connect initially?
Just from being here. His manager is a friend of mine, and when I moved to New York like in 2009, 2010 he was out here too. And just in us both being from the South and being up here like trying to make our way, we kinda made our bones at the same time. He was on my first album Pilot Talkhe did a gang of mixtape records for me. Me him and Wiz did “Glasshouse” and shit, we came up together, you know?
We make the music that we grew up to, you know what I’m saying? Its not so much what’s on the radio, or what everybody else is on. We’re kind of like in a time warp, just doing sh*t that we like.
That’s the homie though. People remember music sounding like that, so it’s just good. I think that’s what’s working for both of us—it’s like we make the music that we grew up to, you know what I’m saying? Its not so much what’s on the radio, or what everybody else is on. We’re kind of like in a time warp, just doing shit that we like.
People get nostalgic for that, and they recognize that when they hear it.
Right. Yeah! You miss it man.
And sometimes you don’t even realize you miss it until you hear it.
Right! You didn’t know it was that good. Yeah, you didn’t even know.
The Title And Artwork Of Stoned Immaculate
How did you decide on the album title?
Shit, my love for Jim Morrison, I appreciate Jim Morrison a great deal. Just everything I stand for as far as the aesthetic I try to create. As far as like, my company, and the shit that I do—the cars I get, and shit.
I feel like I try to put that in my visuals. People will say, “It was a stoner look.” They don’t know about The Doors. I’ll say like, “Yo, it’s something that’s timeless and classic—but edgy, so some people don’t fuck with it.” But it’s actually awesome. You know what I’m saying? It’s actually fucking awesome. It’s only for certain people, you know?
Yeah, the artwork is very important.
Yeah you got to see it bro. There’s no point in describing it. You got to see it.
Are you friends with the artist who did it? Or what was the story behind it?
No, but what I was inspired by was this movie Heavy Traffic.
You’re familiar with that movie?
Yeah, it’s the Ralph Bakshi movie. Hell yeah.
Alright cool. So you remember when the homie goes to the theater, by himself. It pans out and he’s in there by himself sitting with his legs over the chairs?
There you have it
So it’s an image from Ralph Bakshi?
No. The same way I told you I would tell my producer [to try and capture that feeling.] You know what I’m saying?
Yeah I got you, how’d you get into in Bakshi?
Man, through smoking and chilling. This one chick put me on to Wizards. My homegirl Sidney. Sidney Steinfeldt from the Bad Girls Club, she was on the Bad Girls Club fighting girls and shit, but she’s cool as shit. She put me on that shit one day in New Orleans.
After that, I had broke my ankle a couple months ago and I was at home healing up, I couldn’t walk. My homeboy came over with a stack of DVDs, and at the top he was like “I don’t know what it is but it looks like something you’d fuck with” and it was Heavy Traffic.
I was like, “See you don’t know about Ralph? I’m about to put you on some shit.” And I put him on and we watched that motherfucker. It was crazy, I didn’t know anything about that movie. I had never heard about it or anything, so it flipped me. And I was immobile that whole month anyway, so I just kept watching it.
And that’s usually what happens with me, I watch a lot of movies to make up for the life experiences that I don’t make, cause I’m working and doing shit. So I watch a gang of movies to make up for what I don’t do. So it impacts me the same way life experience does. So it influences me that much, I’ve seen this that many times, it has driven a whole musical thing.
Yeah, Ralph Bakshi is not a guy a lot of people are familiar with too, which is sad.
I know, and it’s crazy. But that’s what makes it so tight. You get to put somebody on that shit.
And that’s what makes it tight. Once somebody finds it they’re like, “Damn—he did this, this, this and this.” You know what I’m saying? It’s a wonder that somebody could put in so much work and not as many people take notice.
But it’s for the right people. He didn’t make it for motherfuckers that don’t understand it. Them asses wouldn’t have been able to wrap their selves around it anyways. They would have been off-put by some of that.
Did you see when Wiz wrote that letter where he sort of admitted Rolling Papers was a creative misstep? He sent out this message on his blog where he said he wasn’t as proud of Rolling Papers as he was with, like, Kush and Orange Juice. I was wondering what your take on that was.
Shit, that’s pretty true, if he was to say something like that. I guess if you’re not happy recording the stuff... That’s why I don’t do nothing that I don’t wanna do. Because the success would be awesome, if I ever played the game and did the awesome radio song—cause I could do it, but then I’d always have to do it and I’d be bummed out.
Right now people love me because I’m just gonna come through and smoke, and eat snacks, and talk about video games, and fucking do some donuts and that’s it. That’s all I have to do because that’s what they know me for and that’s why I’m trynna stay in my lane, man. But that’s big, that’s big the homie would say some shit like that man.
Do you and Wiz have any plans?
Yeah, we got all kinds of shit. That’s my brother man. We got a ton of shit nobody knows about and we’re gonna keep it like that till we get hot enough to put it out.
We definitely got some joints though, so it’s all good. And we’re here so much, like when we do kick it we just talk about the shit we hear about us not being cool.
I wasn’t trying to...
No no no no no no no I know, I was just saying this was a good time to be able to say “Hey everybody stop tripping.”
Yeah and Wiz is doing well.
Yeah he’s killing it, he’s killing it. But that shit about the letter, that’s crazy. I got to call that nigga about that, that’s tough man. That’s tough.
It is, and I think people respected the gesture.
Yeah my thing was, I didn’t feel no way. I was just like, I know what was going on, just get your money. As long as you know what you’re doing man, you know what you’re doing. And look what he did—he got megastar status and he was able to tell his people, “My bad if y’all wasn’t fucking with that.” And they still with him. It’s all good, I didn’t change my number on him, so it’s all good.
Whens the last time you met somebody who made you star struck?
Shit, I don’t know man, cause I’ve like always been around shit. Like when No Limit first popped off and shit, I was still in school and all. But C-Murder was like dropping me off like at school and shit. So I never really, you know, bugged out. Who I dig the most, I guess as far as the moves they make, I think Snoop’s like continuously one of the coolest people that I’ve ever met.
Like he’s always awesome and always doing something, I fuck with him. So outright I remember when he sent his verse back for “Pilot Talk,” so that was like a “awe” moment. Cause he said he would get on it, and I was like “OK cool” but people say things, but he came back with it the next day, so that fucked me up. He was like “here’s the verse nephew, I told you.”
[Laughs.] “I told you”
So yeah that would be it.
How did you meet him for the first time? What were the circumstances?
What’s crazy is, the first time I met him that wasn’t even it. I met him in a club for like the Superbowl in Houston, and I was with Cash money. So it wasn’t even about me. It was like, “What’s up Snoop, I’m sure you’re gonna go over and hang with the Birdman and Lil Wayne. Go do that!” You know what I’m saying? Who gives a fuck, you know?
And there was maybe one other time at a studio in Miami, and that’s when I ran it with him a little bit. I told him about No Limit cause I was there and he was on No Limit too but when he was there I was completely not making songs. I was like the little homie. But I told him “I always fucked with you” and now it’s nothing to get records done, and it’s crazy. But that’s the last time I was ever like...
Right, because I’m sure at some point it just becomes...
I don’t even know if it ever really was like that, I was just glad he sent the record. Cause like I told you, I always was around people. Like I’d go to Walmart with Silk the Shocker to get a dog cage and I’m just going to Walmart to get a dog cage cause I had pitbulls and I don’t have a car, I was still in school.
He has a car so he’s bringing me to Walmart to get this dog cage. But Walmart is having a fucking meltdown, and I’m just walking with the dog cage like, “Fuck. I should have caught the bus to get this fucking dog cage.” So I never really was like [starstruck], you know. I don’t know if that sounds crazy.
No, that makes sense.
Got jaded early. Like “Oh, who’s this? Michael Jordan? Awesome. Ay, MJ—good to meet you.” [Laughs.] I’ve never met Michael Jordan though.
Is that somebody you’d want to meet?
I don’t know. Chamillionaire didn’t have a good time when he met Michael Jordan man. [Laughs]. I like the shoes, the first time. The first 2 or 3 times. I’m not happy with the shoes now or the Jordan brand—the construction of them. I just feel like they’re made bad. Like look at the 3s from this year, as opposed to even the time they did the double pack. It was better construction.
Every time they do it it’s a little weaker. If I do meet Jordan maybe I’ll talk to him about that [Laughs]. But I’m sure he doesn’t want to have a conversation with me now. And Chamillionaire definitely waved the banner of “Do not approach Michael Jordan!” [Laughs] So I don’t know, I’ll just admire him from a distance. I’m a fan of the first season of his shoes, and that’s that.
On Dame Dash
Are you still in contact with Dame Dash?
No. Not talking to him, but I hear stuff from his lawyers and his lawyers hear from my lawyers.
How did that situation end up like that?
Shit, nothing ever really happened. Stuff gets sold and I feel like I don’t know what happened on my end. So we’ll see.
It’s a business thing at this point.
Yeah, its business man, I got to do my thing. How could I do this and do all of that? I got to do this.
Right, you make the moves that are right for yourself.
Absolutely, that’s all I have to say, that’s all I can do.