It seems the idea of someone having ‘overnight success’ still applies in 2011. From being 1/10 of the XXL Freshmen list to covering Rolling Stone magazine, Wiz Khalifa is a true testament to the cliched saying. Whilst mixtapes over the last few years proved mildly popular, it was the empirical beat of the smash ‘Black and Yellow’ which has increased his popularity stock. With his first major label album ready, will it be enough to take the Pittsburgh rapper beyond the ‘hottest’ tag and land him amongst those whose streak of success runs all year round?
Staying true to his origins by naming the album Rolling Papers, Khalifa again explores the very lengths of the partying, tree blowing days and nights he experiences. ‘When I’m Gone’ is probably the closest you’ll get to Wiz admitting his rap topics are limited, as he suggests in the chorus he can’t take his fortunes with him – hence the frivolous expenditures. Yet this is probably the reason for Wiz Khalifa’s popularity; a hedonistic, carefree mentality all set to some heavy beats.
The ‘king of the city’ feel to ‘Black and Yellow’ ensures it will be the spring and summer anthem throughout many cities worldwide, whilst for the O.G appreciators, Too Short’s appearance on ‘On My Level‘ adds more southern swag to Wiz’s new school balling.
Rolling Papers is packed with some notable production credits; the lounging, holiday vibes from E. Dan and Big Jerm produced ‘The Race’ is one standout track, with the echoes which haunt ‘Star Of The Show’ offering a heavier alternative.
Good beats and bragging aside, Wiz’s verses aren’t the most memorable or engaging, regardless of whatever he chooses to spit about. His handling of choruses, besides one or two tracks, fails to provide highlights as strong as his current hit record and whilst tracks like ‘Roll Up’ and ‘Wake Up’ have a commercial appeal, those who wish for the ‘mixtape Wiz Khalifa’ may find the syrupy material on offer here quite distant from his original stuff.
For the limited subject matter covered, Wiz Khalifa manages to create a successful album to build on his momentum. Commercially driven, there are enough potential hits on hand to carry Wiz’s smoked out, tipsy appeal far beyond his current cult following.
Fans of in-depth wordplay and reflective topics will run away from this but Rolling Papers provides both the euphoric club moments and the “high” times when chilling, which many of his faithful supporters will undoubtedly be looking for. Expect Wiz Khalifa to join the likes of Drake, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne in becoming a mainstay in the charts and on the airwaves.