The Rundown with Aryez
How can one twenty-three year-old stir a buzz throughout the music industry? Well first, you make your eighth mixtape the number one trending topic on Google and Twitter. Then, you make a single representing the city you’re from so popular it becomes the “unofficial” anthem for the hometown football team. For the Minot, North Dakota- born and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania- bred Wiz Khalifa he has done just that (to name only a few of his accomplishment throughout 2010). Releasing his first major-label project titled Rolling Papers we’ll find out in this edition of The Rundown with Aryez if Khalifa is “rolling” up his sleeves to work on giving his audience a solid debut.
The album starts out with the live-for-the-moment “When I’m Gone” produced by E. Dan and Big Jerm. He rhymes over a melodic piano rift complimented by hard snare snaps proclaiming, I’m gonna spend it all/ why wait for another day?/ I’m a take all this money out and blow it all away/ Cause I can’t take it when I’m gone, gone, gone, gone. It definitely suits well for an introduction to the album as it has a type of coming of age theme to its sound. He slaps his audience with the hit “Black & Yellow” produced by Stargate (Beyonce, Ne-Yo) in which the production is everywhere. This track pays homage to his hometown of Pittsburgh (the Steelers in particular) as his boasts about his illustrious, flashy lifestyle with black and yellow cars and jewelry. “Roll Up” again produced by Stargate offers a dual metaphor to its chorus. Die-hard Khalifa fans may see the reference being made to his infamous weed habit while the everyday listener may take its face value of his “rolling up” to grab that special lady friend. If you were a fan of Jay-Z’s 2007 “Party Life” on the American Gangster album, you’ll enjoy Khalifa’s “Hopes & Dreams” produced by Brandon Carrier. This song incorporates guitar sounds that offer a seventies funk style just like “Party Life”.
Tracks such as “Wake Up”, “The Race” and “Star of the Show” featuring Chevy Woods are some of Khalifa’s unorthodox songs as he puts his vocals to the test over more melodic, slower production; and pulls it off well. For the Kid Kudi fan this could be a good substitute if you happen to forget your “Man on the Moon II” album at the house. The E. Dan produced “Fly Solo” is another attempt for a more pop sound. The listener can easily envision this song being played in the background before a CW episode of the Hellcats closes before the ending credits. Other notable tracks are “Rooftops” featuring Curren$y and “Cameras”.
For the fourteen-track album the production is solid, diverse and delivers mass-appeal into many different audiences. He evenly balances knowing when to rap between knowing when to sing. His concepts are straight-forward and to the point. At times, the listener may hear him trying to say too much in a single measure and he very rarely gives any slick word-play or usage. This could possibly bore the listener after a while, discouraging them to listen to an entire song. His overall content doesn’t extend beyond brag rights of cars, money, and women so the listener shouldn’t expect to gain any more conscious insight to life as they did before listening. Overall his effort is fun, to-the-point and the listener can take it for what it is. It’s safe to say we can give Wiz Khalifa his walking “Papers” for a job well done for his first major release…
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