Familiarize yourself with the Jet Life collective in this edition of Crew Love.
In 2009, when Curren$y started Jet Life Recordings, there were only two other members to the Jet Life crew: Young Roddy and Trademark da Skydiver. In the five years since, Jet Life has grown like kudzu. Theyâve added eight more members, most notably, Fiend, Smoke DZA, and Sir Michael Rocks of The Cool Kids, gone on a national 35 city tour, and churned out three solid Jet Life crew mixtapes. Theyâve even made a series of mini documentaries called âJet Life Chroniclesâ which, according to their website, are a âvignetted look at the day to day life of Curren$y and the Jets.â
Almost every member of the crew is from New Orleans, if not the South, and theyâve all got love for that mary jane. Jet Lifeâs laidback, stoner cool is an art form in itself and somehow they manage to keep surprising listeners with new jams that are always perfect soundtracks for lighting up, but never get boring or redundant. In 2013, Curren$y signed the most recent artist and first female to the crew, a trippy, experimental, slightly macabre siren named Mary Gold. Though she can rap, she can do a ton of other things, too, and her sound is starkly different from the mellow flow of her squad, which is what makes her addition to the crew so exciting.
With such a hard-working man-in-charge as Spitta, thereâs no telling what weâll see next from Jet Life. But one thingâs for sure, we canât wait for their next collaborative mixtape because with so many new and different voices on their roster, itâs sure to take flight.
Early Life: Curren$y grew up in New Orleans. He wrote his first rap (about the cartoon character Dennis the Menace) in elementary school, but didn’t write again until his senior year of high school. His older brother, Mr. Marcelo, was already a rapper signed to No Limit Records, but it took longer for the Spitta to realize that music was his calling, too. As a teenager, he worked at a meat market to make extra money.
Releases: Life at 3,000 Feet, mixtape, February 2007; Independence Day, mixtape, February 2008; Fear and Loathing in New Orleans, mixtape, June 2008; Fast Times at Ridgemont Fly, mixtape, August 2008; How Fly, collaborative mixtape with Wiz Khalifa, August 2009; This Aint No Mixtape, debut album, 2009; Jet Files, mixtape, October 2009; Community Service III, mixtape, June 2010; Pilot Talk, album, July 2010; Pilot Talk II, album, November 2010; Jet World Order, collaborative album, November 2011; Weekend at Burnie’s, album, June 2011; Return To The Winner’s Circle, mixtape, January 2011; Jet Life To The Next Life, collaborative mixtape with Young Roddy and Trademark da Skydiver, March 2011; Covert Coupe, mixtape, April 2011; Verde Terrace, mixtape, August 2011; Jet World Order, Jet Life’s debut album, November 2011;Here,mixtape, February 2012; The Stoned Immaculate, album, June 2012; Priest Andretti, mixtape, October 2012; Jet World Order 2, collaborative album, November 2012; Here, EP, February 2012; The 1st 28, collaborative mixtape with Styles P, February 2012; Muscle Car Chronicles, collaborative album with Sean O’Connell, February 2012; Cigarette Boats, collaborative mixtape with Harry Fraud, July 2012; Priest Andretti, mixtape, October 2012; 3 Piece Set: A Closed Session, collaborative mixtape with Young Roddy, December 2012; New Jet City, mixtape, February 2013; Live in Concert, EP with Wiz Khalifa, April 2013; Red Eye, collaborative Jet Life mixtape, August 2013; Bales, collaborative mixtape with Young Roddy, September 2013; The Stage EP with Smoke DZA, October 2013; The Drive In Theater, mixtape, February 2014
Career Highlights: Curren$y was one of the first (if not the first) signees to Cash Money Records and Young Money Entertainment in 2004. His 2006 hit single, “Where Da Cash At” appeared on Lil Wayne’s Dedication 2 mixtape and made it to No. 73 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Billboard 100 chart. In 2007, he opted to leave the label and represent himself, during which time he released a number of mixtapes and started focusing on building his Jet Life crew and brand. In 2009, despite being unsigned, he was chosen as one of XXL’s Top 10 Freshman and in 2011, he signed to Warner Bros. Records and became the CEO of his imprint, Jet Life Recordings. His 2012 album, The Stoned Immaculate, which featured the hit single “Capitol” (featuring 2 Chainz) debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200.
Sound: Since leaving Cash Money Records, Curren$y has solidified both his image and sound as a weed rapper. He’s known for laidback, chill vocals and spitting languidly over lush, jazz-heavy instrumentals, as in “Yella Cab” featuring Young Roddy. His low-key mumble works well with a variety of music, from hazy dreamlike tunes to superfly 70’s jams, and he’s big on experimenting with different sounds. Case in point: his single “Hold On,” in which he raps over the instrumentals to a classic 60’s Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song. You can always count on the Spitta for his relaxed, stoner flow, but you never know what kind of instrumentals or musical genres will pop up in his next projects.
Strengths: Curren$y has many strengths, though his most obvious is his tireless work ethic. He’s produced over 20 projects in five years and created a solid team of artists and produced for his label. In addition to his musical projects, he’s spearheaded a series of episodes/mini documentaries charting the Jet Life team and started the clothing label, Jet Life Apparel. The laidback, stoner style of music that he’s introduced through his own projects, as well as those of his label signees, has also helped redefine Southern rap and pave the way for new styles of music.
What's Next: Curren$y always seems to be working on a few things at once, so who knows what he’ll serve up next. But fans have been waiting for a year now for the Pilot Talk III so maybe that’ll be next.
Age: Either 25 or 26 (though no one knows for sure just how old he is)
Early Life: Roddy grew up in New Orleans and began rapping around the age of 18. He first met Curren$y, by chance, when his cousin took him to a studio to rap on a track and the Jet Life founder just happened to stop by and hear him. He credits Nas, Jay Z, Notorious BIG, D Block, Lil Wayne, The Hot Boyz, and Soulja Slim as early influences.
Releases: Jet Life To The Next Life, collaborative mixtape with Curren$y and Trademark da Skydiver, March 2011; Jet World Order, Jet Life’s debut album, November 2011; Good Sense, mixtape, April 2012; Jet World Order 2, collaborative album, November 2012; 3 Piece Set: A Closed Session, collaborative mixtape with Curren$y, December 2012; Good Sense 2, mixtape, April 2013; Red Eye, collaborative Jet Life mixtape, August 2013; Bales, collaborative mixtape with Curren$y, September 2013;Route The Ruler, mixtape, April 2014;
Career Highlights: Both Young Roddy and Trademark Da Skydiver, long-time friends of Curren$y, were the first signees to Jet Life Recordings in 2011 and they’ve covered the majority of songs on both Jet World Order mixtapes. Roddy made his debut appearance on one of Curren$y’s very first mixtapes, Life At 3,000 Feet, back in 2007 on the track “Lysol Flow” which used the background instrumentals for “93 to Infinity.” When he released Good Sense 2, in 2013, he added a remix to that original track called “Lysol Flow Reloaded.” In 2013, he went on the 35 cities in 35 days Red Eye Tour with fellow Jet Life crew members.
Sound: Roddy’s voice is his greatest asset and it’s something that makes him stand out from practically every other rapper in the game right now. His voice is high-pitched and he sounds like a teenager, which is both puzzling and fascinating at the same time. His southern drawl helps balance it all out, giving his voice a nonchalant, effortless flow. He can spit extremely fast, while still delivering crisp and clear content and it’s obvious he knows how to control the speed and tempo of his voice to fit the music. Like Curren$y, his voice pairs well with multiple genres and styles of music, from jazz (as in “Yella Cab” from 3 Piece Set: A Closed Session ) to simple hip-hop beats (as in “Route the Ruler” from Route The Ruler).
Strengths: Aside from his unique voice, Roddy’s other strengths are his way with words and his ability, as well as desire, to connect with listeners. He raps about issues that are relatable to millions of young black men, like himself, and doesn’t get caught up in fronting and braggadocio despite his fame. Roddy also writes all his rhymes by hand, which is not a strength, but it’s still pretty cool.
Latest Track: “While The Gettin Good”
Trademark da Skydiver
Aliases: Trademark, Trade, Flamingo Barnes, Super Villain
Early Life: Trademark is from New Orleans and started rapping when he was 13.
Releases: Super Villain Issue 1, album, October 2010; Super Villain Issue 2, album, October 2010; Super Villain Issue 3: Reign Supreme, album, November 2010; Up Here, EP, 2010; Jet Life To The Next Life, collaborative mixtape with Curren$y and Young Roddy, March 2011; Jet World Order, Jet Life’s debut album, November 2011; Flamingo Barnes, album, July 2012; Jet World Order 2, collaborative album, November 2012; Red Eye, collaborative Jet Life mixtape, August 2013; Flamingo Barnes 2: Mingo Roya, album, November 2013;
Career Highlights: Both Young Roddy and Trademark Da Skydiver, long-time friends of Curren$y, were the first signees to Jet Life Recordings in 2011 and they’ve covered the majority of songs on both Jet World Order mixtapes. Trademark made his debut appearance on the track “Airwolf” for Curren$y’s 2008 mixtape, Fast Times at Ridgemont Fly. In 2013, he went on the 35 cities in 35 days Red Eye Tour with fellow Jet Life crew members.
Sound: Trademark has so many different sounds and styles that he’s had to create alternate personas to keep track of them all. When he goes by Super Villain, he combines rapid fire bars with spacy, synth-heavy beats or horn-heavy instrumentals that sound very early ‘80s. Flamingo Barnes is his thug boss persona, which results in heavier, more sinister music albeit with a playful, beachy undertone. And when he’s rapping as plain ol’ Trademark, he’s a quick spitting pothead who can effortlessly change up the pace of his flow from slow to fast, or even rapping to singing.
Strengths: Obviously the fact that Trademark has so many different musical styles (and a vivid imagination, too) is a plus because you never know what kind of sound you’ll get from him. With his low, gravely voice and ever-changing styles, Trademark defies southern rap stereotypes and proves that there’s not just one sound coming from the dirty south, but many.
Given Name: Sean Pompey
Early Life: Born and raised in Harlem, NY. His first exposure to music was through his dad who played (and still plays) oldies every weekend. In high school, he was popular for his freestyles and battle rapping and eventually dropped out of school to pursue his rapping career because, as he put, “I was way more interested in [rapping] than attending classes.” He credits the Notorious B.I.G. for inspiring him to be a rapper and used to memorize and write down the lyrics to all of Biggie’s songs.
Career Highlights: DZA’s first collaboration with Curren$y was for the song “Skybourne” on the Jet Life founder’s 2011 album, Pilot Talk. In 2011, he was signed to the Jet Life label. DZA has had a jaw-dropping number of guest appearances from talented emcees on many of his projects, such as Wiz Khalifa, A$AP Rocky, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, Joey Bada$$, Domo Genesis, Big K.R.I.T., Asher Roth, Nipsey Hussle, Action Bronson, and Devin the Dude. In 2011, he collaborated with A$AP Rocky on the trap-heavy single “4 Loko.”
Sound: DZA sounds like a hybrid of Curren$y and Young Roddy. He’s got the laidback, stoner swagger of Curren$y, but with more of the oomph and attitude of Young Roddy. His style switches up depending on the project, too. Whereas in Rolling Stoned his flow is super mellow and casual, in his latest album, Dream.ZONE.Achieve, there’s a much darker, aggressive element to it.
Strengths: Smoke DZA’s ability to conform to different musical styles is his greatest strength. His ear for music and mastery over his voice make him capable of collaborating with practically any artist---and it’s probably why he’s been able to work with such a wide range of emcees. If this were sports, he’d be the guy on the team who’s able to play every position, which is a valuable resource, indeed.
Latest Work: Dream.ZONE.Achieve mixtape
Given Name: DeNesha Shevon
Early Life: Gold grew up on the west bank outside of New Orleans in a devout Baptist household. She spent most of her time in the city while her parents were in the casinos. She is a self-proclaimed “cunt, nudist, and tree hugger” and said that her very judgmental family (who wanted her to run track instead of play soccer) used to frequently ask her questions like, “Why are you acting so white?” She attended her parents’ alma mater, Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina but dropped out—twice.
Releases: Naked Deviltry, mixtape, May 2012; Viva la Coke, mixtape, July 2013; Sex Hormone’d Druggie, mixtape, November 2013.
Career Highlights: Gold became the first female signed to Jet Life Recordings in November 2013 when she spammed the music video to her single "Prayer" to Curren$y’s manager, Mousa Hamden, via Twitter. She has a cameo at the end of the “Worst Behavior” video smoking in a car with Drake. She sings the chorus for “El Camino” on Curren$y’s latest album, Drive In Theater.
Sound: Like her label mates, Gold has a laidback, stoner vibe to her music. But she’s more experimental and weird, with a penchant for hazy, ethereal instrumentals, like in “Mother Mary,” which is supposed to sound like a séance. Her lyrics are more sexual than other Jet Life members and her style is more versatile and certainly not just limited to hip-hop and rap.
Strengths: She raps, sings and croons, and can adjust her voice effortlessly to whatever instrumentals are on the track. She can even hold her own over faster, dub beats like in “Booty 1.7,” but can also switch to a more chill, super-bored style as in “Grand Theft.”
What's Next: Perhaps a collaboration with Drake? As she told XXL, “[Drake] told me that I was very inspiring to him. I was his life soundtrack for a while.”
Aliases: International Jones, Fiend 4 Da Money, Sleepy Jones
Occupations: Rapper, producer, songwriter, founder of FE Entertainment and Street Customs Management, fashion designer
Early Life: Like other Jet Life members, Fiend is a New Orleans native. He began rapping at a young age, starting with a free-styling gig for New Orleans radio station, Q-93 FM. Big Boy Records was the first label to sign him and he released his first hit single, “Baddest Muthafucka Alive” followed by “Won’t Be Denied” in 1995. These singles caught the attention of Master P who signed the rapper to his No Limit label in 1997. That same year, he appeared on Master P’s crossover hit “Make Em Say Ugh” and was also in the music video that premiered on MTV.
Releases: I Won’t Be Denied, debut album, November 1995; There’s One In Every Family, album, May 1998; Street Life, album, July 1999; Can I Burn?, album, August 2000; Can I Burn 2?, album, May 2003; Go Hard or Go Home, album, August 2004; The Addiction, album, June 2006; Mr. Whomp Whomp: The Best of Fiend, album, December 2007; Fiend 4 Da Money Vol. 1, mixtape, April 2008; The Bail Out, album, November 2009; All The Way Witcha, mixtape, 2010; Fiend 4 Da Money Pt. 2, mixtape, June 2010; Audio Dope, mixtape, September 2010; Tennis Shoes and Tuxedos, mixtape, January 2011; The Sweetest Hangover, mixtape, March 2011; Life Behind Limo Glass, mixtape, May 2011; Cool Is In Session, mixtape, July 2011; Smokin Champagne, mixtape, October 2011; Public Enemies, collaborative mixtape with Corner Boy P, May 2011; Jet World Order, Jet Life’s debut album, November 2011; Iron Chef, mixtape, April 2012; Lil Ghetto Boy, mixtape, March 2013; Red Eye, collaborative Jet Life mixtape, August 2013; Keep Ya Cool, mixtape, October 2013; Wrapping Papers, EP, December 2013; The Big Shots, collaborative mixtape with Dee Low, February 2014; Capolavoro, mixtape, April 2014.
In 1998, Fiend’s first album for No Limit Records, There’s One In Every Family, debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart. His second No Limit album, Street Life, peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 again on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart in 1999. In 2009, he earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Single for Lil Wayne’s “Don’t Get It (Misunderstood)” from The Carter III.
Sound: Fiend has the deepest voice in the Jet Life crew and has been called the Barry White of hip-hop. In the past, he’s been known for street anthems and club bangers, but has been finessing his sound of late to a smoother, more sophisticated style of rap.
Strengths: Fiend is adaptable. He triumphed in the ‘90’s by following the gangsta rap trend of the times and has now transitioned to a more relaxed delivery of music. He used to be full of intense energy on his bars, but has since toned it down after signing to Jet Life.
Early Life: Sir Michael Rocks grew up in Illinois. In 2005, he met Evan “Chuck Inglish” Ingersoll through MySpace because he was interested in a beat that Ingersoll had produced. The duo eventually paired up to form the rap group The Cool Kids.
Career Highlights: On October 23, 2011, Curren$ysigned Sir Michael Rocks to Jet Life Recordings. “Pop a bottle for dat man,” Spitta wrote on Twitter. Music from The Cool Kids has been used in both a Nike and Mountain Dew commercial, an episode of HBO’s show “Entourage, and various video games. In 2008, The Cool Kids were listed in Rolling Stone’s Ten Artists To Watch.
Sound: Sir Michael Rocks is silly and playful. He can spit fast, but he can also switch up his voice, use different pitches, and otherwise accentuate his natural sound to spice a track up.
What’s Next: Sir Michael Rocks should be dropping his next EP, Banco, any day now…
Latest Track: “Memo”
Corner Boy P
Occupations: Rapper, car wash attendant, drug dealer, “the muscle”
Early Life: Corner Boy P grew up in New Orleans.
Releases: Buy’n Or Sell’n Somthin, mixtape, May 2008; Limitless, mixtape, 2011; Blind Side Vol. 1, mixtape, 2011; Public Enemies, collaborative mixtape with Fiend, May 2011; Catch Me If You Can, collaborative mixtape with Dee Low and Nesby Phips, May 2011; Rolex Diamonds, mixtape, June 2011; Reservoir Dogs, collaborative mixtape with Dee Low and Street Wiz, October 2011; Jet World Order, Jet Life’s debut album, November 2011; Money Neva Sleep, mixtape, 2012; Fendi P2, mixtape, May 2012; Money Neva Sleep 2, mixtape, October 2012; Real Nigga Shit, mixtape, April 2013; Red Eye, collaborative Jet Life mixtape, August 2013; Don P, mixtape, May 2014;
Career Highlights: In 2013, he went on the 35 cities in 35 days Red Eye Tour with fellow Jet Life crew members.
Sound: Corner Boy P sounds less stoner-y and Southern than the others in his crew and his voice is less engaging than the rest of them. His flow, which can be too rushed at times, has improved since his early mixtapes, and it’s clear he’s still perfecting and modifying his voice.
What's Next: He plans on going on-tour to publicize his latest mixtape, Don P.
Latest Track: “Winners Neva Lose”
Aliases: Dee Low Diamond Man
Releases: Catch Me If You Can, collaborative mixtape with Corner Boy P and Nesby Phips, May 2011; Reservoir Dogs, collaborative mixtape with Corner Boy P and Street Wiz, October 2011; Red Eye, collaborative Jet Life mixtape, August 2013; Shine, mixtape, October 2013; The Big Shots, collaborative mixtape with Fiend, February 2014;
Sound: Dee Low hasn’t produced enough music to solidify his sound, but he has a playful voice and a heck of a lot more energy and spunk than the rest of the Jet Life crew. He’s definitely more crunk than stoner.
Latest Track: “Ice and Trees”
Early Life: Street Wiz grew up in New Orleans.
Releases: Reservoir Dogs, collaborative mixtape with Corner Boy P and Dee Low, October 2011; Jet World Order, Jet Life’s debut album, November 2011; Stars and Stripes, mixtape, April 2013; 4/20 Vision, EP, June 2013; Air Max Fluid, mixtape, July 2013; 4/20 Vision 2, EP, April, 2014.
Sound: The verdict’s still out on Street who hasn’t produced as much content as other Jet Life members, but he’s got a smooth, rapid fire flow.
Latest Track: “Make Money”
Early Life: Ty grew up in Louisiana and is the son of legendary New Orleans rapper, B.G. from The Hot Boyz.
Releases: “Regardless,” single, 2014; “Roll Da Dank,” single, 2014.
Career Highlights: Ty is the most recent signee to Jet Life Recordings. He performed with the Jet Life crew at South By Southwest this year.
Sound: Ty is still perfecting his sound and image, but the young emcee’s youthful voice mixed with his aggressive, cocky lyrics makes for interesting listening.
What's Next: Ty’s debut mixtape release for Jet Life, Son of a Gangsta, is expected to drop some time this year.