The King of the City: The Best Rapper in 13 Hip-Hop Meccas

Louisiana


King: Curren$y
Crowning Achievement
: Establishment of JET Life movement/brand/label.
Predecessor: Lil' Wayne
Royal Court: Kevin Gates, Dee-1, 3D Na'tee, Max Minelli

The dynamics of Louisiana’s hip-hop scenes have changed quite a bit over the past decade. But one artist emerged as a consistent, steadying presence: Curren$y. The leader of the JETS has claimed his spot as king with a relentless work ethic and confidence in the quality of his music. Curren$y’s success is a testament to an uncompromising attitude which allowed him to continue his career, in spite of failed bids at both No Limit and Cash Money Records, the two most powerful and influential rap labels in Louisiana.

Curren$y has flourished ever since he flew from the Young Money nest and took things into his own hands. While his peers sat idly by, Curren$y grabbed the proverbial brass ring and elevated his game. He flooded the market with his mixtapes, much like Wayne did before him, and built a loyal audience who couldn’t get enough of his infectious, laid-back weed raps. Curren$y won over fans—not just stoners—because he was authentic and relatable, cool and carefree.

Lil’ Wayne, Spitta’s former boss, rightfully sat in the throne for many years. But a steep decline in consistency loosened his grip on the crown. Lil’ Boosie has reigned supreme over Baton Rouge for years, and was rising to national prominence before a prison stint halted those aspirations. Jay Electronica had the hip hop world waiting on his every last breathe, yet disappointed fans saw months become years as Jay’s Act II turned into another Detox-style myth. Meanwhile, Mystikal’s release from prison hasn’t quite lived up to the “old guard” reclaiming former glory. We may never know if it’s entirely his fault, but it’s ridiculous that Mystikal has yet to even drop a mixtape three years after being freed.

While mixtapes are what helped jumpstart Curren$y's career, his albums solidified his status as a part of hip-hop’s elite. His well-received debut, This Ain’t No Mixtape proved he was no fluke. It led to a deal with Dame Dash’s DD172 imprint, which resulted in his Pilot Talk series and, ultimately, a deal with Warner Bros. Over the past four years, Curren$y has released consistently good music at a relentless pace via retail LPs, mixtapes, EPs, side projects, Jet Life albums and countless guest appearances.

Curren$y has not only emerged as a solo star, but also created an empire of his own. Jet Life has become a full-fledged brand and given its members a leg up in the rap game. The name alone provided a platform for artists like Nesby Phips and Young Roddy to break through the clutter; Curren$y was even able to revitalize the career of former No Limit mainstay Fiend. And with his Jet Life Recordings tied into his current Warner deal, Curren$y is primed to see his empire grow. Clearly the King of Louisiana is sitting in a very comfortable position. —Justin Ivey

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