Wiz Khalifa "Rolling Papers" Review — 5 out of 5 stars
Mon, 11 Apr 2011 07:24:41
Wiz Khalifa floats to the top of hip hop on Rolling Papers, and that's exactly where the young MC belongs…
He's invaded rap with panache and true style, rising like smoke from the underground into a veritable pop phenomenon. It's easy to hear why on Rolling Papers. Wiz sounds "real" without resorting to gangsta clichés. He sounds futuristic without coming off as pretentious. He sounds revolutionary without alienating anyone.
That's the beauty of Rolling Papers. Wiz succeeds on appealing to every strand of hip hop, while proudly showcasing his own identity in the process. "When I'm Gone" sparks everything up with a somber piano melody that tonally matches the rapper's first verses before rolling in and out of a stadium-ready refrain. It's epic hip hop built on strands of orchestra and synths and a stunning delivery on the hook. Meanwhile, "On My Level" is bound to get any club bumping with Wiz and Too $hort trading verses seamlessly over airy spacey production. "Black and Yellow" bumps just as hard as it did when it first became a 21st century rap anthem, and "Roll Up" mirrors the song's pop prowess with its own unforgettable hook.
Wiz really shines when he steps back though. A slow beat colors the backdrop of "Hopes & Dreams," and Wiz's unique flow exudes a genuinely poetic power. "Get Your S**t" is a painfully poignant breakup song that sees our narrator on the fence of the end of a relationship. The production allows his emotion to shine through, but it never comes off as forced. You can feel Wiz Khalifa, and it's as cathartic as any rock 'n' roll band.
The album's standout remains "Fly Solo." A colorful acoustic guitar snaps into a bouncy beat as Wiz declares his independence with ethereal visuals like, "I had a dream that the whole world was staring at me, I woke up and wasn't no one there." It's an unforgettable hook that soars into timeless pop territory while searing with a real daring sense of attitude.
"Rooftops" is another brilliant banger, while "Cameras" closes everything out with one last trip to outer space. At the end, it wasn't a dream, everyone will be staring at Wiz Khalifa soon because he's the new king of hip hop. His album is a new classic. Roll that up and smoke it…
Have you heard "Rolling Papers" yet?