Jay-Z had Memphis Bleek. Nas had QB Finest. Busta Rhymes had Spliff Star. They’re called “weed carriers”—“rappers” that were friends of the actual stars whose loyalty was repaid with undeserving features and, sometimes, full- length albums. When people hear that Trademark Da Skydiver, one of Curren$y’s friends and members of the JETS movement, is dropping an album, the news is likely to be met with groans from listeners used to sub-par weed carrier projects. But fear not; Trademark’s latest release, Super Villain Issue 3: Reign Supreme, is a strong offering that should erase the stigma that the MC is just a measly sidekick.
The self-proclaimed “Super Villain” doesn’t stray from the JETS topics of choice: weed, sex, Jordans and even more weed. All of these subjects are covered especially well on “Elevated,” where Trademark’s penchant for hook-making is on full display. He’s on his game when he invites his homies to join the weed circle as his more concise 16-bar verses hit harder than the songs he has to carry himself. Check his standout verse on “Protocol,” which features fellow local MC Nesby Phips. “Being high’s my everyday disguise / I’m the villain they despise,” Trademark spits. It’s hard to despise a rapper with bars like that.
The JETS leader, though, is still the MVP. This fact is evidenced by his latest mixtape, Return to the Winner’s Circle. Spitta…well…spits ferocious lines over 11 hip-hop standards. Here’s the catch: Curren$y recorded all but one of these songs in just one night. While his work ethic has been a thing of legend, Curren$y’s latest feat only adds to that legacy.
The mixtape is what you would expect from a one-night-stand production: lyrical vomit void of any really well-constructed songs. It’s just a beat and Curren$y rapping, mimicking a long freestyle session. However, Curren$y does take chances with a new double-timed flow on “Frost.” Spitta even takes on classic tracks that seemed untouchable—including Raekwon and Outkast songs—and manages to sound right at home. But it’s “Jets at Ya Neck” where Curren$y joins the rest of the crew to show that he’s still improving and his squad is full of potent MCs who are nothing to mess with. “I want it all,” he raps on the track, and projects like Return to the Winner’s Circle show that he’s close to reaching his goal.