Curren$y loves weed. Deep, satisfied puffs punctuate his records, at least one of which (the How Fly mix-tape) is conceptually dedicated to getting faded. His Twitter feed, for the uncertain, announces pretty much every smoking session, and they are legion. Fortunately, on this year’s Pilot Talk, he found a sweet spot within the miasma: crisp, soft-jazz boom-bap, laced with tight talk of videogames, fast food, and getting laid. It’s euphoric stuff, recalling pre-retirement Jay-Z in its blend of blue-sky contentment and sharp-edged MCing.
Like its predecessor, Pilot Talk II runs 40 skit-free minutes, with unimpeachable beat selection, evocative guest choices, and at least one awesome reference to Curren$y’s rocking chair. His flow, a thin and dopey thing in his early career, continues its impressive dilation. He rides the beat on “Michael Knight” with such easy grace that Raekwon seems to take notes on the remix, and on the woozy, sax-filled “Famous,” carefully minimalist verses give way to a thrilling syncopated double-time. The rare misstep “Silence,” full of murky warbling, highlights the delicate balance between chill and boring. Still, when it works, it works: At one point on this record, he actually brags about taking a nap. His next challenge? Evading stoner self-caricature.