The latest issue of Spin is a celebration of "Hip-hop's DIY Movement" (with a great essay from Baltimore scribe and former b contributor Brandon Soderberg). There are so many micro-genres splintering in hip-hop that a magazine has to devote a whole issue to cover it properly. The Smokers Club Tour, which stops by Rams Head Live on Sunday night, fits perfectly within this "movement," mostly because of its headliner, New Orleans' stoner Curren$y.
First, about that stereotypical "stoner" image — a zonked-out dude passed out with Doritos and "Cops" on TV: it doesn't fly in Curren$y's case. He's a hustler in hip-hop's purist sense. After failed attempts to catch fire with No Limit Records and Lil Wayne's Young Money, Curren$y branched off on his own, creating Fly Society and now his Jet Life crew.
Around this time, he dropped the facade of toting guns and pimping women and stuck to what he really knew: getting high, muscle cars and life's minute details that effortlessly come alive through his congested Southern drawl. After a barrage of consistent mixtapes and acclaimed independent albums "Pilot Talk" and its sequel, Curren$y's fan base reached an all-time high, leading to his own imprint-deal at Warner Bros. His output since going major has remained its chilled-out self; there have been no will.i.am cameos or Sprite deals. Instead, he's concentrated on his flows and lyrical ability, reaching a level that few thought he could — winning over the fans willing to unpack his dense, vivid imagery ("survive rough lands / cactus plants growin' in desert sands" from "Michael Knight") and at-times monotone flow.
For a sample, watch Curren$y's video for the unfortunately titled "#JetsGo" below. And yes, that's his Ferrari — the first gift he bought himself once he went major. Song contains four-letter words some might not like.
Other acts on hip-hop's fringe will take the stage as well: the tour's elder stateman and Wu-Tang legend Method Man (rightfully heralded as one of rap's greatest live performers), rapper/producer/Southern-rap-enthusiast Big K.R.I.T., goofy stoner in Polo Smoke Dza, ex-No Limit soldier Fiend and more. It's a stacked set with some of rap's most exciting up-and-comers and a vet that slides smoothly into a tour of young guys. One final warning: if smoke bothers you, you might want to avoid the Inner Harbor on Sunday.
The Smokers Club Tour plays Rams Head Live on Sunday. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets, $35, are still available here.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun