Curren$y – Return to the Winner’s Circle
Released: 1 January 2011
★★★★★: Best in show; pinnacle release from an all-time great artist.
★★★★1/2: Stellar example of genre; peak potential.
★★★★: Excellent; recommended to all fans of artist or genre.
★★★1/2: Very good; a few bland songs or minor flaws throughout.
★★★: Good; fans of the artist will find value here.
★★1/2: Average; does little to establish the artist or maintain quality.
★★: Unexceptional; a few highlights but otherwise bland.
★1/2: Weak; unrecommended for anyone but major fans of the style and/or artist.
★: Seriously flawed; very poor work but relatively listenable.
1/2: Terrible; a true embarrassment and akin to audio masochism.
Curren$y dropped this jewel to kick off the 2011 new year, and coming fresh off Pilot Talk 1 & 2 in 2010. In comparison to the 2010 Smokee Robinson mixtape previous to this, Curren$y raps on less gaudy beats, instead opting for classic, boom-bap inspired instrumentals to couple with his laid-back lyrics.
Daze of Thunder: 4.5/5
Rain Delay: 4.25/5
Trophy Case: 5/5
Empire Monopoly: 3.75/5
Frost: 4.5/5 The beat, repeated at the end is not needed.
Record Deals: 4/5 The song carries on far too long after the final first, but it gets a pass because I love this beat.
Moon & Stars Remix: 5/5
Role Model: 4.75/5
Jets At Ya Neck: 4.75/5 (Great posse cut!)
★★★★: Excellent; recommended to all fans of artist or genre. Amazing beat selection here and some of Curren$y’s best verses to date. A great listen throughout. This ranks amongst 2011’s best projects.
Curren$y boasts an impressive streak of great albums/mixtapes, starting with This Ain’t No Mixtape, Smokee Robinson, Pilot Talk, and Pilot Talk 2 in 2010. I noticed an upgrade in Curren$y’s lyricism on Pilot Talk 2, and it continues throughout Return To The Winner’s Circle. Revisit Pilot Talk 1 to witness the lyrical upgrade!
Coming off of Pilot Talk 2, I noticed a certain consistency in Curren$y’s lyricism. Between these two projects, Spitta’s bars are never bad or cringey; he’s molding himself into an overall good rapper & respectable lyricist. I find the beats on Return to the Winner’s Circle more intriguing than those on his last mixtape, Smokee Robinson, personally – because I love the boom-bap selections.
4.52/5: Overall, this mixtape is getting high numbers from me. Maybe it’s because of the amazing beats, maybe it’s because Curren$y is THAT damn good right now in 2011. Either way, Return To The Winner’s Circle is a download every rap fan should have. Easily a Mixtape Of The Year candidate for 2011 and I doubt many other mixtapes get better than this, this year.