New Orleans rapper and label owner Curren$y is known for his witty rhymes and extravagant “Jet Life” aesthetic. He started out as a member of No Limit Records signees 504 Boyz in the early 2000s and made it through struggles with various labels before starting his own. Over the years, his smart lyrics would catch the attention of fans and other artists alike, and along with prolific output in the form of solo mixtapes, Curren$y had high-profile collaborations with Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Freddie Gibbs, and many others. His solo discography is impressive on its own, with highlights like his 2012 Warner Bros.-released, Top Ten-charting The Stoned Immaculate and 2015′s Canal Street Confidential, but Curren$y also stays highly active with ongoing collaborations and guest appearances on other artists’ tracks. In addition to strong collaborations with Harry Fraud and Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y’s frequent work with the Alchemist resulted in critical favorites like 2022′s Continuance. Releases with Jermaine Dupri (For Motivational Use Only, Vol. 1) and Fraud (Vices) appeared in 2023.
Born Shante Anthony Franklin and raised in New Orleans, Curren$y was originally signed to Master P’s No Limit label, but in 2005 he made the move to Lil Wayne and Birdman’s Cash Money imprint, Young Money. He appeared on Wayne’s Tha Carter II album that same year, and in 2006, Curren$y’s “Where da Cash At” single was released — both on its own and as part of Wayne’s Dedication 2 mixtape — but a promised album never materialized. Not one to sit idle, Curren$y started Fly Society with professional skateboarder Terry Kennedy in 2007. The brand was originally planned as a line of apparel, but it evolved into a music label as the rapper’s relationship with Young Money soured. After leaving the label at the end of 2007 with Fly Society in tow, Curren$y released a series of underground mixtapes, including 2009′s How Fly, a much buzzed-about collaboration with then-newcomer Wiz Khalifa.
Other mixtapes appeared before Curren$y hooked up with the digital-only Amalgam Digital for the early-2009 release This Ain't No Mixtape. The relationship continued that October with the download-only Jet Files, but in early 2010 he joined the Def Jam family via Damon Dash’s DD172 imprint. With the label’s in-house producer Ski Beatz handling most of the production, Curren$y’s Pilot Talk album appeared in July of that year, with Pilot Talk II landing in 2010. The stopgap release Weekend at Burnie's followed in 2011, with the retro backing tracks coming from producer Monsta Beatz. Beatz, along with the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League and Pharrell, was back for the rapper’s 2012 street release, The Stoned Immaculate. In 2015, the album Pilot Talk III was issued on a $100 USB key made available from the rapper’s Jet Life website, while the EP Even More Saturday Night Car Tunes landed through more traditional distribution channels. That same year, the “Bottom of the Bottle” single featuring Lil Wayne and August Alsina appeared right before the release of Canal Street Confidential, an album that the MC road-tested on tour before deciding on the final track list.
In 2016, the rapper issued over a dozen mixtapes, including collaborative efforts with the Alchemist (The Carrollton Heist), Purps (Bourbon Street Secrets), and Sledgren (Revolver). The self-releases continued into 2017, with the Jetlanta EP and The Fo20 Massacre, followed by The Marina (Jet Life) EP in 2018. February 2019 saw the release of 2009, a collaboration with Wiz Khalifa that revisited the creative chemistry of the duo’s 2009 How Fly project. Not long after, Curren$y issued two more collaborative efforts, working with Statik Selektah on Gran Turismo and with Berner on Pheno Grigio. He also found time for the solo mixtape Hot August Nights. In 2020, he collaborated with Fuse for the album Spring Clean and Harry Fraud for The OutRunners and The Director's Cut, with Collection Agency arriving in early 2021. Work with the Alchemist resumed on Continuance, which was released in February of 2022. The album picked up where their 2011 collaboration Covert Coup left off, and featured guest appearances from Boldy James, Larry June, Babyface Ray, Styles P, and others. This was followed by Spring Clean 2 (with Fuse), two 8 Ball Jacket EPs, and The Drive In Theatre, Pt. 2.
2023 brought For Motivational Use Only, Vol. 1, a collaboration with Jermaine Dupri which featured appearances from 2 Chainz and T.I. Another effort, this time with Harry Fraud, Vices included guests like Benny the Butcher, Tommy Wright III, and Rome Streetz. ~ David Jeffries