Critical Voices: Curren$y, Jet World Order

December 1, 2011

In concept and construction, the latest album from prolific rapper Curren$y, Jet World Order, is a lot like Lil’ Wayne’s We Are Young Money or Jay-Z’s The Dynasty: Roc la Familia—albums worth of tracks from associates and labelmates, with different artists featured in various combinations in each song. An album of this type usually works nicely because it gives listeners the opportunity to listen to a familiar artist while exposing them to the stylings of associated up-and-comers. Unfortunately, on Jet World Order, Curren$y himself only appears in three of the album’s twelve tracks, and without him the other artists fail to hold up.

Curren$y’s Jet Life label features himself, Young Roddy, and Trademark Da Skydiver, both of whom appear on all of JWO’s tracks. Harlemite Smoke DZA makes a memorable appearance on “The Set,” but with the exception of him, the other artists hardly make any splash. Curren$y’s absence magnifies the shortcomings of Roddy and Trademark. Roddy’s flow seems to be modeled off of Curren$y’s, yet unfortunately he does not come close to matching his predecessor’s nonchalance and trademark smoothness. He drops a few nice verses, but without Curren$y to shift the focus, Roddy quickly fails under the intense scrutiny of the limelight. Listening to him keep repeating “Jet Life” quickly gets old. It feels like the rapper is trying a little too hard.

Trademark, on the other hand, simply fails to stand at all. His verses consist of the worn-out rap tropes of money, women, and drugs, but not in a way that is at all creative or interesting. Just as Roddy is a victim of his overexertion, Trademark is a victim of his own mediocrity. Curren$y, master of the effortless delivery, stands levels above Roddy and Trademark in his rare appearances on the album.

However, what JWO lacks in talent it makes up for somewhat in production value. The beats are phenomenal, and the matchup of specific artists to various beats highlights the Jet affiliates’ styles wonderfully. Although the album would have been better with more Curren$y, he wisely stays away from the boisterous beat in “Blow Up,” which is completely incongruous with his style. Smoke DZA, however, melds with it perfectly.

But even with superb beats and a few tantalizing tracks by the man himself, Trademark and Roddy ultimately bring JWO’s downfall. If you’re a big fan of Curren$y, he doesn’t disappoint on the songs he raps on. But for a casual fan, it’s hard to recommend this exercise in mediocre rap nepotism.

Voice’s Choice:  “1st Place”

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