Curren$y, Pilot Talk II (Roc-A-Fella/DD172 Records)

Curren$y, Pilot Talk II (DD172 Records)

“Good weed and broads / spaceships and stars / roll out the red carpet but hold the applause.” Eschewing the lazy stoner stereotype, Curren$y is back with his second full-length album in less than six months (and apparently has already put in the work for two more to come soon). As per usual for Curren$y, his nimble phrases sound effortless, an image he has cultivated to seduce audiences of all types (“Bullshit convo / five minutes invested / now she buck naked lying to you via text message”).

Where Pilot Talk I sounded like a bright and sunny morning, Pilot Talk II accompanies a late-night joy ride (preferably in a neon green ‘60s Chevy Impala) with free-form jazz radio playing during the graveyard shift. It’s the nightcap to Pilot Talk I’s wake-and-bake session.

Producer Ski Beatz and his band The Senseis (they play everything—no samples) are again responsible for the bulk of the beats, although this time around local talents Monstabeatz were picked up for a couple tracks with sticky, Southern-night tempos—the blues-drenched “Famous” and the ‘80s synth-styled “Fashionably Late.” Fellow New Orleanian producer (and rapper) Nesby Phips also contributes the loopy “Hold On,” with its clean, hypnotic, jazz guitar and cracking snare drums, and elsewhere “OG (The Jar)” features true NOLA OG MC Fiend and his familiar deep New Orleans drawl.

The after-hours mood is set by the moonlit Yacht-rock guitar tones in “Michael Knight,” “Montreux,” and “A Gee,” the Sade-ish saxophones in “Famous”, and the constant fly-bys of Rhodes piano licks and acoustic piano chords that I imagine being played on one of those bright white grand pianos. These ethereal tendencies are always anchored to the street by deep bass lines and tight drums. Try to keep your head still when they drop in at the 0:52 mark in “Flight Briefing.”

Jazz is a stronger current on this album, and it’s not just the beats. The way Curren$y pushes the beat just a hair slow or fast in the chorus of “Michael Knight” is as subtly and rhythmically impressive as when Miles or Coltrane did it in the mid-’50s. On “Flight Briefing,” regular Curren$y co-pilots Young Roddy and Trademark dance loops in the air with him like Blue Angels on parade, trading solos in turn like cool bop trios of yore.