Curren$y Gets Intense on Surprise Release 'Muscle Car Chronicles'

[caption id="attachment_27300" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Curren$y and Dame Dash in New York City, July 2010. Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage"]Curren$y and Dame Dash[/caption]

Rap and live instrumentation haven't always been the snuggest of bedfellows, but Curren$y's Muscle Car Chronicles, which was cut in tandem with producer Sean O'Connell and features drum playing by Mars Volta's Thomas Pridgen, showcases the New Orleans spitter in an refreshing new light. Released yesterday (Feb. 14) via Damon Dash's BluRoc venture, the album's nine rap tracks come across like tight-but-furious jam sessions, with Pridgen's drum patterns provoking Curren$y to spit in a more intense style than his previous weed-sozzled outings have suggested he was capable of doing. The opening "Soundbombin'," in particular, is a bumptious one-and-a-half minute blast of cocksure bragging embellished by crash cymbals; it's followed by the swaggering and similarly curt "N.O. Shit," which has Curren$y reminiscing about days spent hanging at the barbershop with his pops and shooting pool.

Despite staking out a niche for himself and his Jet Life crew, Curren$y hasn't yet teased his way on to the mainstream's radar. Muscle Car Chronicles doesn't contain the break-through single that his career is on the cusp of coining, but it reinforces his credentials as a new generation rapper with the chops and versatility to succeed. Surprisingly, though, there's very little automobile references -- muscle or otherwise.

Muscle Car Chronicles is out now. Stream select tracks below: