Last year was huge for Wiz Khalifa, with two successful mixtapes and a national tour. Now, one year later Khalifa seems to be continuing the trend with his new album, “Rolling Papers” a vehicle to further launch his blooming career.
You couldn’t walk into a room without hearing the nauseatingly over-played Pittsburgh Steelers shout out “Black and Yellow” especially around the Super Bowl.
And while the MC will surely see plenty of success with “Rolling Papers,” one has to wonder if it’s worth it, since it sounds like a soundtrack to a life of partying and lacks any sort of deeper value. Aside from one track, “Get Your S—,” a harsh break-up song, there is little touching on any subjects beyond smoking weed, partying and spending money.
Yet, Khalifa tries to validate that on the album’s opener, “When I’m Gone:” “And they say all I rap about is b—— and champagne/You would too if every night you seen the same thing.” The opening somber piano notes on the track are slightly misleading, as they fade into a synth heavy ode to blowing money. He may know that his subject matter is pretty shallow, but that doesn’t necessarily make it OK.
“Rolling Papers” standout “Rooftops,” features a guest verse from upcoming rapper Curren$y, best known for a series of well-received mixtapes and his brief stint on Lil’ Wayne’s record label Young Money Entertainment.
Khalifa chronicles his rise to fame and sums it up in the chorus: “Sayin’ boy they used to be at the bottom/ came up that’s what they say/ used to not be allowed in the building, but now we on the rooftop.” The song is slightly slower than the rest of the album, and led by a synth line that wouldn’t feel out of place on an episode of the “X-Files.”
The lack of diversity on “Rolling Papers” is what really kills it. The beats are driven by synthesizers and computerized drumbeats, and Khalifa rarely switches up his laid-back and smooth delivery style, occasionally pausing to sing instead. While “Rolling Papers” is perfect to play during parties or at clubs, the tracks lack actual substance. It could have been saved with some deeper, more philosophical lyrics or a memorable, unique production.
Ultimately, Khalifa will do well commercially, giving him financial success. He certainly has the ability to write great songs, he’ll just have to decide between staying commercially successful or trying to to delve deeper within himself and find something more worthy of credible success.