Not-So-Lonely Stoner Has Little Swag For All That Hash

Wiz Khalifa
Rolling Papers
Atlantic Records

For those who don’t know Wiz, he’s what Kid Cudi would be after  a year of intensive therapy (or a shitload of ecstasy). Wiz’s motto: Everything goes down easier with a bag of Mary Jane, a harem of hoes and a catchy melody.

It’s a credo that the Pittsburg native only partially adhered to on his third and most commercial release, Rolling Papers.

On an album dominated by near-indiscernable slow jams, repetitive drunk-ditty “Black and Yellow” is a pleasant departure, featuring an ’80s synth that coats Wiz’s uncharacteristically energetic, speedy flow while he chuckles about “do[ing] it big.”

As a haunting whistle sounds off in the back of “On My Level,” Wiz transports listeners into DGAF bliss, as he raps about bitches, drinking and green (both kinds), assisted by a grimy Too $hort.

On G-funk “Top Floor,” a warped voice sample pops over Wiz’s lower pitched drawl, while he brags about banging some ho “like a grown up” — bridging the gap between hustler and hip-hop icon with the same vetted swag as the hemp master-in-chief, Snoop Dogg.

But a pimp daddy’s work is never done, and Wiz’s backhand could use a little work. An overwhelming portion of tunes are uncomfortably interwoven with simpering dickless Bruno Mars sentiment; “Roll Up,” the tatted rapper monotonously croons to his babygirl, “Whenever you call baby, I’ll roll up” — the lyrics limply promise a reliable delivery that the song’s vanilla backbeat and uniform, robotic melody fails to provide.

Others were gutted entirely; on “Wake Up,” the artist sings with strained, smoky vocal chords, while an eerie otherworldly note hums in the background, bookended by overproduced pop-synth choruses resembling a Pac-Man video game theme song. And “The Race” is an unremarkable snoozer, touting a slow, pleasantly forgettable beat, representative of the album’s overarching theme:  elevator music.

We’ll pass — without taking a puff. (5/10)

— Neda Salamat

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