Live: Curren$y Cruises Through Irving Plaza


Irving Plaza
Monday, June 6

Better than: “Dude, I’m so high right now.”

There are few ways to describe a Curren$y show without it sounding like a meeting of a cult, or an extremist political party. The place is packed, overflowing into the hallways of Irving Plaza. Giant flags proclaiming Jet Life, a better (read: higher) way of living, wave. The crowd’s hands, with pinkie and thumb extended, go up, and they stay thereand they stay there. Curren$y, meanwhile, serves as a reassuring presence: “It’s like you’re cleaning the house, and you’re playing this in your iTunes, and this song comes on and I come out and it’s okay, because I’m in your crib!” If this crowd hasn’t drank the Kool-Aid, they’ve at least tried to smoke it.

A more dangerous man would exploit that power.

Instead, Curren$y acts like a blissed-out Charlie Sheen—a permanently high quote machine who comes off a one-trick Weezy (who used to be his mentor and partner). “I will only ever marry a high woman,” he says. Not long after: “Smoke one for Nate Dogg. Smoke one for Macho Man, too, dog. There’s all kinds of reasons to smoke weed, man.” Opening up “King Kong,” he says, “Everybody in this bitch got money; we ain’t never gonna run out of weed.” He impersonates a Transformer; he imitates the car from Knight Rider. He’s quick, charismatic and far more active than any stoner Judd Apatow has created.

The greatest moment, though, comes when he notes that he doesn’t even need to remember the words to his songs, since the crowd is screaming every word. “That’s the trust fall right there—you guys got my back,” he says.

Curren$y has almost singlehandedly built a massive network of devotees. They wear Jet hats, twitpic their hand signals, and tag their 420-based tweets with #jetlife. (Every flight is a red-eye!) They can recite his most obscure songs, the bulk of which appear on his seemingly endless catalog of mixtapes. There were lots of campfire kumbaya moments shared by Dear Leader and his fans last night, but every so often he’d put his mic down unexpectedly for a bit of trust-falling: “I was just testing y’all. Just testing,” he teased. No hip-hop fans are this good, aside from Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang. When have weedheads ever been so determined?

(The crowd helps the people behind the scenes, too; Irving Plaza’s so smoky, there’s no need to plug in the fog machines. It’s a concert in a bong chamber.)

As the night draws to a close, right before two women in revealing tank tops throw buckets of rolling papers into the crowd, Curren$y mentions that he was delayed in getting to New York City because the cops stopped his tour bus on a hunch. They came up with nothing, which means that Curren$y got pulled over by either the laziest or the dumbest police officers ever.

Critical bias: I once lived the #JetLife with Curren$y; while on a plane to Los Angeles, I sat a few rows behind him and his manager, Mousa.

Overheard: As the show ends, Curren$y jumps offstage and starts to make his way through the room of shoulder-to-shoulder stoners. “Wait, what is he doing?” “He just said he’s going to try to say hi to everyone in the crowd.”

Random notebook dump: The hallway outside the concert doors becomes increasingly littered with teenage bodies—necks limp, eyes closed, mouths agape—as the night progresses. Security guys drop them next to one another like bales of hay. These kids are too high to enjoy the show they need to be high for. (This provided its own form of enjoyment for Joe Mande, my brother, and myself.)

Set list
Drug Flow
Roll My Shit
Elevator Musik
Super High (Remix)
Five Bucks (Five on It)
Bout It 2010
Roasted (with Trademark Da Skydiver and Young Roddy)
Audio Dope II
King Kong
Flying Iron (with Fiend)
O.G. (The Jam) (with Fiend)
A Gee
Twistin that Stank (Hard in the Paint Freestyle)
Hold On (with Young Roddy and Trademark Da Skydiver)
Michael Knight

Full Metal