I am fan of Wiz Khalifa. I thoroughly enjoyed Burn After Rolling, Kush and Orange Juice and loved the mix tape he did with Curren$y — How Fly. I felt Cabin Fever, his latest official mix tape, was full of bangers as well yet felt a bit more safe if you will; it felt a lot more commercial. Usually what you find is that rappers are more akin to dropping the really bonkers stuff on their mix tapes and then the mainstream stuff on their major backed releases. What then would Rolling Papers hold for one who is admittedly a fan?
After “Black And Yellow” left no doubt about how much of a buzz the self proclaimed “Kushton Shlater” had amassed some in the hip hop community said he was leaning pop. Please excuse Wiz for making a hit. It is not his fault he is hot right now and just because he does not want to live in obscurity for the rest of his life does not mean he is not a talented artist. This song could not be escaped, but, if you take a step back it is still good.
Having listened to this CD in its entirety I am not sure you could come away not saying this is hip pop. If that is what you dig then you will most definitely be pleased with this album. It is hook heavy and has a lot of singing. No one can say that this is something new for Mr. Khalifa — he has always been hook heavy and dabbled in singing — what you can say is the direction that it has gone is something new. This is not the Kush and Orange Juice Wiz.
Fans of the Taylors will already know what it is. The content has not really changed but more so the delivery. A lot more singing then anything I have previously heard from Wiz. There are still heavy weed smoking anthems mixed in with 808’s but it feels like something is missing and it is hard to put a finger on it. It just feels really safe. This is the most commercial album I have heard in years and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, it is hard to give credence to that. The reason so many people fell in love with Wiz was because of songs like “The Thrill” and “In The Cut” that felt poppy yet hard body, provided something “new” and was somewhat edgy.
There is nothing that pushes the art on this cd. There is nothing that will blow you away and if that is ok with you then you will be fine with this. Rolling Papers is run of the mill and rather vanilla. Very formulaic in that A + B = C type of way; Stargate beat plus Wiz singing on a hook equals a hit. Nothing stands out nothing wows you, nothing leaves a staying taste in your mouth. The hardest verse on here is from the only guest appearance — Fly Spitta — on “Rooftops”. It would be shocking to hear that people were still listening to this in a couple months. Nothing about this CD resembles epic, in truth it is rather mediocre.
If someone told you they thought Rolling Papers was going to “change the game” or even really elevate it they were either misguided or being facetious. The phrase, “It is what it is” comes to mind. The CD, while not atrocious, is not magnificent and to me that’s a bit sad. For long time fans this CD will be either hit or miss. You either will like the newer pop leaning Wiz or you will not. Either way it is going to sell and sell it should that is what this Rolling Papers was made to do. Some are going in expecting full contact football but what you are left with is two hand touch.