Collab album glut is real. Like last year, there’s been a lot of rapper team-ups in 2018, but it’s largely been an onslaught of half-baked projects that feel more indebted to brand synergy than artistic chemistry.
Future and Juice WRLD’s WRLD On Drugs feels longer than it is, a good EP masquerading as an interminable album. Lil Baby and Gunna’s Drip Harder is…fine. For months, the Atlanta upstarts built momentum as a duo that they didn’t entirely deliver over the course of thirteen songs. Kids See Ghosts was a superb synthesis of Kid Cudi’s melodic inclinations boosted by Kanye’s producer sensibilities, but suffered from the political and social shitstorm surrounding West. Then Curren$y and Freddie Gibbs dropped Fetti.
Cinematic, compelling and (thankfully) brief, the project has a steel-sharpening-steel quality to it. Over The Alchemist’s warm production, Curren$y and Gibbs rap with a spirited but laid back ferocity. It’s show-off music that lacks pretension. Take a line like Spitta’s “Gibbs and Andretti fill that vault full of Fetti / Andretti and Gibbs that’s like that barrel to your rib.” In two unassuming bars, Curren$y gives you smooth alliteration, while alternating the duo’s names as he makes sure to rhyme the ending word of each bar to the last rapper’s moniker. In the same song, Freddie tosses out a rhyme like “llamas up” with “Manafort Papadopoulos” with ease.
Fetti feels like attention to detail. On a song like “New Thangs,” Curren$y begins his verse with a Nike reference (“Uh, white and yellow Airmax as I step out my Lac”) that Gibbs will immediately pick up on during the proceeding verse (“Rockin’ Virgil Airmax, Off-White cook crack”). The chemistry is undeniable, and genuinely surprising considering the Indiana rapper admitted the duo finished the album in two days.
Another bonus of Fetti is hearing a revived Curren$y, a couple of weeks removed from a now-infamous GQ article which posited that most casual hip-hop fans wouldn’t know anybody on the 2009 XXL Freshman list except Kid Cudi — a slight to more than one name on the list. That hyperbolic assertion didn’t mention the Jet Life rapper by name, but did cause numerous debates in pockets of rap Twitter. Hopefully, Curren$y’s sharpened pen and deft wordplay will quiet the doubters. His influence was evident then, and it’s irrefutable now.