Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV’s “Drink Champs,” which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly “Drink Champs” episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
In the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sit down with Curren$y, who discusses his independent grind, working with two of the biggest rap labels to ever come out of the south, and much more. A native of New Orleans, Curren$y’s first big break came during the early aughts after securing a record deal with Master P’s No Limit Records. However, the rapper would depart from the label and ink a deal with Lil Wayne’s Young Money imprint, where he continued to build his reputation as one of the more formidable young spitters in the game. With an official release date for his debut album in limbo, Curren$y decided to take matters into his own hands, and was granted a release from the label. He later unleashed his first indie project, Independence Day, in 2008.
From there, Curren$y’s buzz would skyrocket with the rapper being selected as a member of XXL’s inaugural Freshman class and releasing a succession of successful solo, and collaborative projects including his Pilot Talk series, Weekend at Burnie’s, Covert Coup, and 2009. With a career spanning nearly twenty years and various accolades to his name, Curren$y’s status as one of the greatest rappers to come out of New Orleans is solidified.
To help give fans a recap of the conversation, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the Curren$y episode of “Drink Champs.” Take a look at them below.
1. His Favorite Weed Brand
As one of the foremost authorities on marijuana in hip hop, weed is always an appropriate ice-breaker when conversing with Curren$y, who shares how he gradually came around to being a fan of Berner’s Cookies brand. “Cookies as a brand because there’s so many strains under that umbrella that you’re gonna find something you fuck with,” Spitta explains as why he prefers that over strains like Runtz or Jungle Boys. “Berner’s like a mad scientist. At first, I was against it. Berner was my partner. But, the weed, I wasn’t fucking with. I was just like, ‘I’m cool.’ ...But one time, my bus, we went through the Bay Area before we went to L.A. and I had nothing coming from wherever I was. So, he laced me with so much shit til I was on the back of the bus, I was like, ‘I’ma have to.’ So just sitting back there by myself, I rolled one and I was like, ‘Oh.’
2. How The Internet Impacted His Career
Following short-lived stints at No Limit Records and Young Money, Curren$y took his career into his own hands, releasing a string of projects and building his core fanbase. He touched on the impact the blog era had on his career, as well as his artistry. “I grew up as the internet was becoming permanent,” he explains. “So, I was able to do so much from the computer like gauging what’s working. If I put out a fucking mixtape we did in an apartment and then OnSmash or 2DopeBoyz, they’ll say something about it that day, I can see. That’s how I learned about the comments and all that shit, I got that from right there.”
3. The Pros and Cons of Being Independent
As one of the earliest champions of shunning the major label system to navigate the indie circuit, the artist is well-versed on the pros and cons that come with the territory, which he shares with the “Drink Champs.” “When you’re dealing with a major, another label, it’s other people,” Curren$y explains. “So, how can these other people direct what I did? I made this, this is what I think I wanna do with it and they’re like, ‘We should hold it, we’re gonna do this...So independent, I ain’t gonna lie. I’ve been able to hurt myself too because I put some shit I recorded and I’m like, ‘Put it out tonight, fuck it.’ Don’t mix it or nothing and then in the comments, for sure, it’s like, ‘Ah man, I would bang it, but his vocals are muddy...’ But being independent, I’ve been able to just rush shit out and I made mistakes because I’m like, ‘Yo, that could’ve been a bigger record’ or ‘If I would’ve gave that to Rick Ross or something to jump on or gave it to one of the little homies, it could’ve been this.’ But, I wanted it out that night ‘cause I’m so connected to my listeners that I know I’m gonna get the response from them at four in the morning ‘cause they was up smoking anyway.
4. Getting Injured By An Ace of Spade Bottle
Popping champagne is a rite of passage in hipn hop. But for Curren$y, his first experience handling with a bottle of bubbly resulted in an epic fail. “The first time I had a battle of this [Ace of Spade], I opened it without really looking at what I was doing,” he remembers. “I was in the strip club and I cut my fingers so bad... fucking nuts and I had to, like, maintain my cool around bitches and shit.
5. His Experience At DD172
In 2010, Curren$y’s partnership with Damon Dash led to him working with the entrepreneur’s DD172, which was a collective of artists, photographers and other creatives based out of Manhattan, New York. “I had a good time in that situation and it’s how I learned a bit about taking care of everything on my own,” the rapper says. “With that situation they had, that’s how I learned you didn’t have to have that big ass fucking camera and this whole fucking spiel going to make it. When I got there and they had the 5D Canon camera, that was my first time seeing a 5D camera and they shot... one of the homies, the first guy I smoked a joint with, Michael Sterling Eaton. It just so happened, he said, ‘I shot some ads for Nike.’
6. How Influenced He Was By The Way Hip Hop Artists Filmed Videos
Curren$y’s time at DD172 coincided with directors Codie and Chike, whom recorded multiple visuals for the rapper, which he claims helped spur an evolution in how artists approached filming and releasing their visuals. “I know that I shifted the way videos are shot,” he says. “I know that I did that because I don’t hide the game so motherfuckers who was around me, I’m showing ‘em, like, ‘We can get this and shoot this.’ I watched it happen and the whole game changed, that’s what happened. 2009, ‘10, when they had that Creative Control shit, [and] Codie and Chike was shooting all that shit, that fixed everything ‘cause I brought everyone through the motherfucker. I brought Wiz there, brought K.R.I.T, all kind of motherfuckers. So, everybody was picking it up.
7. The Root of His Friendship With Smoke DZA
Curren$y’s friendship with Wiz Khalifa is well-documented, but another rapper he’s grown particularly fond of is Smoke DZA, whom he released a joint album earlier this year with. The rapper shares how he and DZA initially met. “In New York, he came to fucking Dame’s spot,” Curren$y reveals. “His manager, Johnny Shipes, we was cool. He fucked with Nip, and DZA and Devin the Dude had a song, and Shipes was like, ‘Yo, I wanna put you on this record with Smoke DZA and Devin.’ And I did it and then when I went to New York one day, we shot video and DZA was cool as fuck.’ I was like, ‘Yo, just don’t smoke the blunts, let me roll you some joints.’ I rolled him some joints and this guy was like ‘Seinfeld’ hilarious and I was like, ‘Alright, cool, I fuck with you,’ and we been partners ever since.
8. On Jumping Into Podcasting
During his sit-down with N.O.R.E. and EFN, Spitta spilled the beans about his forthcoming podcast, which the rapper will co-host with Smoke DZA. “To keep it funky, I did not know about podcasts,” he admits. “I went on something with [Peter] Rosenberg, I did that. But, I didn’t know where the fuck I was at. I was like, ‘Nah, that was like a cool conversation. We went to a stuffy ass setting and I was like, ‘This is about to be that bullshit,’ and then it was cool. And I was like, ‘Oh, alright. I didn’t know that kind of shit could happen’ and I never knew what the fuck I was at. And then we did ‘Drink Champs’ and I was like, ‘A what? Podcast? Alright, [I] dig it.’ That’s why I hit you. I had to hit him like, ‘I wanna do one.’”
9. Producers He Wants To Work With
Known for his collaborative projects with producers like Alchemist, Curren$y shares what boards-man is on his radar to lock in the studio with in the future. “Pierre Bourne, the young homie. He tight as fuck,” he says. “‘Cause the shit that I fuck with from Playboi Carti is the shit he did and that’s why.