In the year 2009, Wiz Khalifa was in the midst of an inevitable rebrand from Pittsburgh street rapper to region-less stoner heartthrob. Meanwhile, New Orleans upstart Curren$y was establishing his footing post-Young Money deal, having just walked away from an association with the biggest name in rap music. That year, they released How Fly, a collaborative mixtape that let them shine against each other’s talents while helping to certify their respective transitions from underground heroes to overground stars. Ten years later, their individual legacies cemented, the pair delivers 2009, the How Fly follow-up fans never stopped calling for.
2009 picks up where How Fly left off, and aside from an exponential improvement in recording quality, it echoes the sonics of its predecessor. The pair’s chemistry is fully intact as they trade bars over minimal drum claps (“Garage Talk”), R&B basslines (“No Clout Chasin”), and deeply funky synth waves (“From the Start”). Like the catalogues of its creators, 2009 is wholly lifestyle, the MCs consistently adorned by beautiful women, blowing big smoke from balconies that overlook driveways filled with pristine automobiles. “This is the life/Bitches and Nikes/Planes and Chucks/Bottles and luxury,” goes the chorus of “The Life.” The project’s collaborators top out at two: Problem (“Getting Loose”) and Ty Dolla $ign (“Benz Boys”), the latter of whom fills the role of hook singer that Wiz himself relished on How Fly.
Curren$y and Wiz sound at ease, but when they bar up—Curren$y on “Getting Loose” and Wiz on “First or Last” in particular—they are anything but. Save for maybe their tax brackets, very little has changed for the pair in the 10 years that have passed since How Fly, not the least of which is the understanding that Wiz and Curren$y were made to lift each other higher.