See also: Our Curren$y and Method Man slideshow
Curren$y, Method Man, Smoke DZA, Fiend, Corner Boy P
Better than ... hanging with Curren$y at his crib. Oh, wait.
The average person would use a broken ankle as a reason to relax and take a little time off, especially if said person had succeeded Devin the Dude as the new underground face of 4:20 counterculture.
At the San Bernardino date of Rock the Bells in late August, the New Orleans "Hot Spitta" snapped his ankle while hopping offstage for his usual post-performance meet-n-greet. Though he missed the San Francisco stop of the tour, he dropped a mixtape three days after the incident and in mid-October, set out -- cast, crutches, and all -- on round two of last year's successful Smoker's Club Tour. If you were under the impression that potheads are lazy, the prolific and perennially on-the-road Spitta has proven to be the exception to that rule.
Instead of just the J.E.T.S. (Curren$y and friends' tagline is a hip-hop translation of "carpe diem"--"Just Enjoy This Shit") this trip, the tour added Method Man to its roster. Smart match on the part of some marketing department: The crowd was split about 70/30 in favor of Spitta, but Meth got a chance to win a new audience, and old 'heads stuck around to see who nabbed the headliner spot. Nobody lost.
The pairing seems a little curious musically. Curren$y tends toward nostalgic soundscapes and lyrics that weave pop culture references into raps about "weed jars and race cars." Method Man's beats are foreboding beasts, and his voice, husky and burned from blunts and 40s, barks lyrics that could only come from growing up on the defensive in New York. But the two share the ideology that hip hop should be fun.
Meth practiced what he preaches. Before he even appeared, the audience had thrown up the Wu-Tang Clan's "W," and when he swung into "M.E.T.H.O.D. Man," the floor became a trampoline. He was a ball of tense, tightly coiled energy, whether slinging a bottle of water onto the audience, dancing ("I ain't afraid to shake my ass," he laughed) or falling back into the crowd's arms like a trust game. Plain and simple, it's exhilarating to watch even one member of the Wu onstage.
In fact, though we knew under normal circumstances Spitta's set could equal the energy of Meth's, we wondered how he would fare not being able to stand. Would he just sit there?
"Doc told me to stay in the crib and not put any weight on my foot, so we just put the crib in the bus and brought it to L.A.," Curren$y said, rolling onstage in a wheelchair onto a set that looked like, well, a living room, with three panels of backdrops built to look like walls decorated with posters, a sofa sectional on one side and a throne-like chair on the other.
In camo shorts and a Falcons jersey, he dropped onto the sofa and propped up his weed-emblazoned cast as L.A. producer Alchemist, who handled last spring's Covert Coup, hung out for a few songs. During the second, "Ventilation," Spitta seemed like he was dying to get up, hopping to the arm of the sofa. By the next song, the ride-off-into-the-sunset anthem, "Smoke Break," he was about to fly away by sheer force of will.
Though he's continued to grow as a performer over the past couple of years, we never would have imagined his best show to date would be the one where he didn't have the use of his legs. But to compensate for that inconvenience, Spitta threw himself into his songs, resulting in an unparalleled performance. He was as animated as the cartoons he constantly alludes to on Twitter, sticking his hands on his hips and snapping his head as he rapped a line from "Smoke Break," lurching forward or up onto his good foot for emphasis, and traipsing back and forth from couch to chair.
His voice is crisper than it used to be, and even in his stage banter, it's no longer that slippery mix of stoner and Southern. For someone who smokes as much as he does, he only slurs his lines intentionally.
By the end of the show, Little Debbie snacks and doobies littered the stage, the couch was crammed with friends and, even with a handicap, Spitta had entertained a houseful of guests with raps for over an hour. We hope we're invited back.
Personal bias: I've been listening to Curren$y since he was with Cash Money.
The crowd: Making anything out through the haze of smoke that characterizes a Smoker's Club Tour stop is tricky, but girls seemed to be far outnumbered by a mix of young and older guys.
Random notebook dump: The inside of my purse just puffed out a cloud of weed.
Set lists after the break.
Release Yo' Delf
Bring the Pain
I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By
What the Blood Clot
Shimmy Shimmy Ya
Baby I Got Your Money
Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthin Ta F*ck Wit
Blood Sweat and Gears
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Breakfast (a cappella)