Some might say that New Orleans rapper Curren$y is one of those unique artists that have one foot in the underground and the other foot in the mainstream. And with his own rap collective and record label, Jet Life, which is under the Warner Bros. Records umbrella, Curren$y has been able to release a series of mixtapes and other projects since 2009, constantly wining over new fans.

Now with his latest effort, 'Bales,' a joint project he released with Jet Life family member Young Roddy, Curren$y is playing the role of label boss and artist in one, and trying to get other rappers in his company to receive some shine.

'Bales' is produced by the likes of AJ Beats, Harry Fraud, Mike WiLL Made It and King Thelonious, for starters, and the only feature on it includes a verse from the rapper Juvenile on the song 'Mo Money.'

Overall, the tape has a real boom-bap feel for its hard drums and sample-driven beats, but what's different about these tracks -- compared to other boom-bap records -- is that each has a real sense of musicality to it, as most of the producers are able to mix heavy percussion with light melodies very effectively.

Listen to 'Grizzly,' a track about a beautiful lady who stays on her hustle. Not only is the song complete with drum sounds, seemingly created by an SP1200 or an MPC drum machine, it also includes a nice acoustic guitar strum that adds balance to the heavy percussion.

And on 'The War on Drugs,' arguably the strongest cut on 'Bales,' producer Harry Fraud uses a '70s-inspired funk baseline that allows Curren$y and Young Roddy to get really wordy and spit rhymes about being fly and getting money.

"Sharper than my nephews edge-up / Bitch trying to be under the dog so they step up," spits Curren$y. But Young Roddy has some wonderful lyrical moments too, and in some cases you can tell that Curren$y chooses to play the background, allowing his Jet Life artist to get and maintain the spotlight.

Another good thing about 'Bales' is that it doesn't have any filler tracks since its only 11-songs long, and most of the cuts are delivered in succinct fashion. This of course makes it easier for the listener to stay engaged and listen to each song intently.

And although the tape is so short, it still packs a lot of musical punch. In terms of its overall quality and the artistic statement Curren$y and Young Roddy are trying to get across, 'Bales' is a total win for the New Orleans rap duo.

Having a real East Coast sound, due to the musical direction and flows used, the tape will definitely satisfy those who simply like good rhymes with good beats, without any frills. And 'Bales' can be played pretty much from beginning to end, as the whole tape flows nicely and there are no tracks that seem to be out of place.

So far, Curren$y has put together a pretty impressive body of work, and this tape is definitely no exception.



Listen to Curren$y & Young Roddy's 'Bales' Mixtape

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