Since 2005, the Pittsburgh kush spitter has built an irrefutable reputation, a solid fan base, and an impressive catalogue of music revolved around his beloved cannabis. On the heels of his successful 2009 album, Deal Or No Deal, Wiz dropped the critically acclaimed mixtape Kush & Orange Juice, and released the Pittsburgh anthem “Black and Yellow” which ultimately catapulted his career. With that said, it appears that the marijuana puffin aviator doesn’t plan on landing any time soon. And with the release of his new album, “Rolling Papers,” Wiz hopes to take his Taylor Gang legion past the horizon and into the astrosphere.
The album begins properly with “When I’m Gone,” and for weed and non weed smokers, this is definitely a track to pop in your whip and roll to (no pun intended). The production is handled by Wiz’s stick man E Dan who does a beautiful job of blending a luscious piano melody and brisk drum kicks into an infectious instrumental. Plus, Wiz’s frolicsome and clever wordplay doesn’t hurt either. With “On My Level” featuring Too Short, Wiz and Short playfully exchange bravado lyricism about their rock star lifestyles. But after the lead single “Black and Yellow,” the album falls flat. There are subtle inclines to this ride, but there aren’t many. “Rooftops” featuring Curren$y, for example, is a strangely under par track from the Cheech and Chong duo.
And sadly, the best songs on the album are “Star of the Show” and “The Race.” In “Star of the Show,” E Dan provides a solid and mystifying instrumental that complements Wiz’s syrupy, laidback flow. Out of all the cash, clothes, and hoes songs, this one rises to new levels. Sure the subject is as cliché and trite as the rest of the songs on the album, but who can’t relate to lines like, “Ain’t no love lost/ but there wasn’t no love shown/ so now when n*ggas call I just don’t pick up the phone.” “The Race” is a head bobbing joy ride from start to finish, and will definitely have fans hitting the replay button. These same-paint-bucket-but-different-canvas delicacies are a few rare novelties on the album.
This album definitely has more lows than highs. It’s not terrible; it’s just mediocre, and it doesn’t live up to the success of the critically acclaimed mixtape Kush & Orange Juice. In addition, the album suffers because Wiz experiments with pop friendly tracks that aren’t befitting to his style. Another single “Roll Up,” for example, treads beach boy territory. “Get Your Sh*t” is relatable, but it sounds like a male rendition of Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” and it doesn’t quite live up to the hilarious “If I Were a Lame” featured on the Burn After Rolling mixtape. Moreover, tracks like the carefree, acoustic driven “Fly Solo” sounds B.o.B-esque and it’s not a taylored/tailored fit for Wiz’s style. If you’re someone who thought “Black and Yellow” was Wiz Khalifa’s first single and wasn’t cognizant of his prior work, you’ll probably pop this in the whip for a week or two before getting bored with it. However, for the Taylor Gang diehards, this album will leave you cotton mouthed and that insatiable “munchy” sensation that seems irreplaceable. My advice: when grabbing Rolling Papers, exhale slow.