Last week one of my favorite rappers Curren$y released his new album, the Spring Collection; a 12-song project to fulfill our needs since Pilot Talk: The Trilogy dropped in 2017.
In the intro track “Greetings“, Curren$y introduces this project as an “audio lookbook” that he is laying out for his audience that includes “a couple different styles / a pre-lude to what’s to come”. A first for an artist to distinctly connect fashion with hip hop, without it including a physical cut and sew.
Lookbooks traditionally include a broad overview of what a fashion mogul, blogger or designer are interested in; whether that be colors, patterns or style. But for music an audio lookbook could include samples of instrumentals or lyrical styles that a producer and artist could be working towards.
Taking a deeper look into the Spring Collection, Curren$y plays with original hip hop styles such as spoken introductions that was heavily utilized in the 1990s, dirty south sounds from the purple drank era (being from Louisiana this isn’t a surprise that Curren$y is including this from his predecessors), trapsoul instrumentals, and of course features from boom bap and other Jet Life artists to spice things up.
From my many seasons of watching Project Runway, I have had the word “cohesive” burned into my brain *thanks Heidi Klum*. Creating a lookbook whether through fashion or music, the artist has to make their collection flow as they tell a story. Curren$y it seems understood this when building the Spring Collection, carefully choosing instrumentals as a neutral color palette, and then adding in pops of color (without over-saturating) to complete his pieces.
I’m really enjoying artists that are starting to give us a glimpse into their creative process, even if it is released cleaned and pretty, like Mick Jenkins’ latest project that is a mix of tracks he experimented with. By creating an audio lookbook is a really cool way for an artist like Curren$y to re-establish his artistic side as a rapper, and I hope this turns into a fad for other lyricists to benefit off of.
Photo | Reid Rolls