It wasn’t long ago that we were told Spitta’s Muscle Car Chronicles project was being
shelved, so the quick surprise of its release came as a shock that left a lot
of hip-hop heads playing catch-up with the near-forgotten single “Soundbombin’”
from March of last year.
Rumor around is that this was supposedly polished off prior
to the release of Pilot Talk back in
2010, which could explain the drastic difference in form that Curren$y has
fine-tuned over his last five projects. Rather than linking up with regulars
like Ski Beatz, Alchemist and Monsta Beatz, Spitta went with an unconventional
cast, enlisting folk artist Sean O’Connell to handle the bulk of production
alongside Robert E. Corrigan Jr. and Mars Volta drummer Thomas Pridgen, giving Muscle Car Chronicles a diesel sound
reminiscent of a Travis Barker compilation album, and putting his usual winding
stoner-flow in foreign landscapes. Tracks like the blues piano-driven “Not So
Much” and soulish “The Strangest Life” drop Curren$y into uncharted grounds,
giving us something we’ve yet to see in his extensive discography, though the
costume change isn’t entirely for the positive.
Redundancy is the flaw here. While the instrumentals do
plenty for making a hybrid hip-hop sound, they imprison Spitta’s signature
flow, leaving him subdued by the strict meter, and often quieted by the
distorted bass and heavy drum work. “Frosty” and “Bout It 11” offer calmer
tones that let the lyricism explore and resound over their respective
foundations, but still can’t properly follow the strictly stoner style we’re
used to. Muscle Car Chronicles is a
definite crucible that earns its own applause simply for the effort, but those
traditional Curren$y chillers, experiment or not, are something that an album
can’t fully breathe without.
Muscle Car Chronicles
marks the end of an era for Spitta, as it concludes his work under DD172
LLC/Def Jam, and cements him in his fresh Warner Bros. Records placement. While
the hybrid draws plenty of attention, sales won’t show much for reception,
though the attempt is what’s important here. Curren$y’s pioneered plenty of
directions over the years, and while the philosophy of Muscle Car Chronicles is one best turned around, it’s good to see
that Spitta’s still reaching down different avenues to let his style fan out.
SumOlogy: in a lot of
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