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Wiz Khalifa, real name Cameron Thomaz, is an American rapper and this is the third studio album he has released but by far his biggest. It sold 200,000 copies in its first week alone and reached number 2 on the US billboard charts. He is a rapper but has mixed in a lot of pop style beats in to his tracks to give it more of a commercial feel. With the likes of Nicki Minaj pulling this off, I am surprised there are not a lot more rappers doing the pop rap style. As usual I will review a selection of tracks from the album.
Black and Yellow
I have to start with this track as it is that banging tune that introduced me to Wiz. It has an awesome beat that Wiz raps with and you can't help but be drawn to it. The hook is awesome and yet all he is saying is black and yellow, but it is one that you will love singing along to. In terms of the rapping it is quite strange as the topic is a little over it but from what I can understand he is talking about how far he is progressing with life and hence the Black and Yellow describes the amazing car he must have that people can see as he is cruising by. In the second verse he talks about lesbians and how many diamonds he has. Yes he is pretty shallow here but it doesn't stop it being one of the standout tracks from the album.
This is a very catchy track and similar to the pop rap that I mentioned above. Wiz is very smooth with his flows and the term Roll Up is used to express how he can appear whenever a girl needs him. Looking deeper it is quite a sleazy track as lyrically it is about a girl who is with a boring guy and whenever she gets bored she can call Wiz and he will please her with no drama. The hook is where Wiz excels and the best part of the tracks, especially the final breakdown at the end which has a great melody.
This one features Currency and one I enjoy due to its thumping music. You can play this one when cruising on the streets as it is a chill out track but serious at the same time. Currency does he thing as always in the hook, but Wiz is smooth with the lyrics. It's ironic that the sound is a lot to do with money. About how before they were famous they couldn't afford anything or even get in to anywhere but now they are allowed on the rooftops. It also tackles topics like relationships and about how girls only go out with them cause of the fancy gifts they get.
Overall it is a good album but not one of my favourite albums and in fact nowhere near. It has a few good catchy tracks, but asides from Black and Yellow there was no track that really hit the spot for me. There is a lot of competition at the minute and in terms of Wiz's style Kendrick Lamar is streaking ahead of him, so Wiz is going to have to up his game if he wants to stay as one of the big rappers in the game.
By the time Wiz Khalifa released "Rolling Papers", he was a Rap sensation. His hard work in the underground had payed off and the hard graph he'd gone through in his early days got him to an ideal platform. It was really all thanks to "Black and Yellow", a dedication to his city and the local football team, which managed to catapult his status from being a cult phenomeon that a few people had heard of (via tunes like "Ink My Whole Body" and "Say Yeah") and his independent album, "Deal or No Deal". He was the type of artist who wanted to be heard no matter what, so with such a wide array of people taking interest, he dropped "Rolling Papers" as his major-label debut in 2011 and could take note of how much people received his new musical stance.
It's Wiz Khalifa being Wiz Khalifa. The rapper himself is a very affable character and it comes across in the music. He spends much of his time getting his party on, so it's a great reflection of the 'college' experience and comes across as down-to-earth. He's the sort of rapper you can imagine being a mate, so the record doesn't end up getting too serious or stern. It's a consistently mellow release and his hazy expression projects that. Cuts like "Hopes & Dreams" may not receive any critical praise if they were performed by a lyrically-diverse MC, but coming out the mouth of Wiz, he's perfectly fine to just babble on aimlessly.
The album lacks drive. For a Hip Hop release, it's very flimsy and doesn't really fit in line with his mixtape work prior to this. Although, yes, he does still to his guns and talk about his fascination with weed much of the time, it gets tiresome here. It's not helped by the fact he goesin with proper Pop songs. Since "Black and Yellow" didn't have to go to such lows to get noticed, it's annoying that "Roll Up", "No Sleep" and the majority of the album does. It also means that when strong guests turn out, their presence is just for the novelty appeal and don't really add to the album. So much potential could come of his link-ups with Too $hort, Chevy Woods and Curren$y, but he decides to waste that on dry ideas instead.
All in all, Khalifa finds himself in a dull situation, whereby he has to vocal StarGate beats to gain the audience's interest. Unfortunately, it' a common situation with rapper who have that commericial appeal, whereby they can't help but cheat their way to megabucks, without supplying a valuable body of work. If you're looking for a Rap album of substance, "Rolling Papers" is the complete opposite and - instead - features a rapper singing most of the time over the most watered-down instrumentals he can get his hands on. Fair enough, this might be your cup of tea if you only like the occasionl bit of Rap in your record collection, but even then, you'll be better off looking elsewhere.
I have been a huge fan of Wiz Khalifa for a while now and i've been following his progress as he climbs to the pinnacle of the music industry, his earlier mix tapes 'Cabin Fever' and 'Kush and Orange Juice' were huge successes, he has also released other albums albums like 'Show and Prove' and 'Deal or No Deal' the later peaking at number 1 on itunes, this album is certainly a contrast to his other material as it contains a number of vocal tracks along with songs which could easily considered as classic Wiz Khalifa style.
Khalifa achieved his popularity mainly through 'Black and Yellow' which went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, it features on this album alongside 'Roll Up' which has also been released as a single with a great amount of excitement debuting at number 48.
This album is certainly a change from Wiz Khalifa's usual style with several melodic, vocal songs unlike his traditional rap style, this album is his breakthrough and suitable for people who prefer artists like Drake or most of Young Money, if you prefer a more rap sound I would definitely recommend downloading Khalifa's older albums and/or mixtapes.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 When I'm Gone
2 On My Level (feat. Too $hort)
3 Black And Yellow
4 Roll Up
5 Hopes & Dreams
6 Wake Up
7 The Race
8 Star Of The Show (feat. Chevy Woods)
9 No Sleep
10 Get Your Shit
11 Top Floor
12 Fly Solo
13 Rooftops (feat. Curren$y)