khalifa_LEAD

For years Wiz Khalifa has dubbed himself as this rap-rock star who does what he wants, when he wants and however he wants to do it. He’s a people’s champ for the young stoners out there who love the get money stylings of one of their own – someone they can look at in the eye and emulate. He’s been as accessible as any other rapper out there, and the type of lyricist casual rap fans can love guilt free. He has his place certainly, and with four studio albums he’s a vet no question. But with that, it’s a wonder as to where Blacc Hollywood stands and how it plans to extend his run, if at all.

The album is one long, drawn-out conversation about how goddamn Hollywood he is. How every moment is worth soundtracking and following as if it should be treated as gospel. And what he doesn’t realize is that by doing that he’s cutting his career short, short enough to where we’ll likely never get the full picture of how deep he really is as a lyricist. All the Khalifaisms are there, firmly in place – sedentary and unevolved. There is no narrative, just a series of declarative statements that render the project motionless.

Longtime Khalifa fans will see him plunge even deeper into the mainstream losing the individual moxie he had on previous albums. Hearing him slide back and forth between these soft rants and weak quarter-century life musings is a letdown – there’s nothing said here that wasn’t already said on O.N.I.F.C. There is no growth, he’s just gotten older, which has left his words stale. Blacc Hollywood is relentless in that it holds one note and refuses to let go – being a superstar never sounded so dull.

Hope

This is the sound mainstream rap makes when it reaches its expiration date, spoiled rotten yet worth a sniff test just to make sure. Give him credit though, he’s survived this long with a word bank that borders on the anemic. And this is him showing you the mindset it took for that miracle to happen:

Hope

We Dem Boyz

Part of being a successful mainstream rapper is having the ability to jump styles to whatever’s hot. Trap is where he’s going but at a sluggish pace, sounding like a sloppy veteran who’s lost touch with reality. He’s trying not to be Chief Keef, but at the same time is. All it is is decent karaoke:

We Dem Boyz

Promises

So dramatic that it’s parody – the after club, early morning ride home song. The liberal usage of synth and sing songey hook along with that can do spirit make it even more sappy. But when you’re Wiz that’s life, To most however it’s the sound of a toilet struggling to flush down a gigantic turd:

Promises

KK

Khalifa is weed, he exhales particles of THC, and being around him makes you high by proxy, so it would only be right that he had his own strain. And every product in the mainstream needs a jingle, business 101 when you’re a lifer. But the CEO of this is not Wiz but Juicy J who sounds more at ease:

KK

House in the Hills

Critics have been saying these things for years, and if he’s wondering why people look at him as a pothead you don’t have to look any further than the last song to see why. Only Wiz can change Wiz and for someone who boasts about his vast skillset he sure does falter when it comes to being real:

House in the Hills

Ass Drop

Dedicate solely to the butt, which is no surprise, not for a guy who is quickly running out of things to talk about. It has a bounce to it, and it’s short enough to make it a quick hit on the radio but nothing in the way of lasting power, a typical Khalifa track that gets old before it gets started:

Ass Drop

Raw

Too much raw meat will cause explosive diarrhea, wrenching and a host of other ailments including poor taste in beats and rhymes. The leaky organ has a menacing vibe as do the lyrics, but the Khalifisms are overused and make no sound. Like an old hooch, no matter how you doll it up it’s still a lemon:

Raw

Stayin Out All Night

It can get stressful smoking all that weed, so to alleviate that pressure the Wiz gets himself to the nearest party. His soundtrack is caked in melodrama and some sorry ass sing song rap that sounds like a boy hitting puberty. His antics are running dry and he needs a new angle to liven things up:

Staying Out All Night

The Sleaze

Wiz loves synth like a fat kids loves cake. It’s doused in it and toes the line like every other song thus far. There’s no time for peace apparently because the party is calling for him to play his role as an empty vessel rapper doing whatever it takes to put another buck in his thousand dollar wallet:

The Sleaze

So High

Quite possibly the worst get high story ever, no drama or hijinks just one man up in the ivory tower being too cool for school, thinking foolishly that whatever he says is gold. The beat seems years old, and is about what you’d find on any other of his previous albums. No words or messages to relay:

So High

Still Down

Trying to keep it real even it means being boring and as shallow as a dirty creek. The whole thing is an homage to the past, a token gesture that can be found on every rap album. His version is one that finds peace in all the things he’s accumulated and how they help fill the gaping hole in his heart:

Still Down

No Gain

Wiz is moved to tears, but even then it’s not believable sounding like it were constructed in a lab with synthetic emotions. It’s clear at this point he is not the people’s champ he so often makes himself out to be, but rather a spoiled star who bought his own hype ages ago. Redundant with no progress:

No Gain

True Colors

You can’t title a song like Wiz does here and have Nicki Minaj as a guest. It’s an oxymoron and makes for a shoddy way to close out the album. The quirky beat is more Nicki’s bag than his, which makes his weak flow even more noodley. In that sense it does tell us something, finish strong he does not:

True Colors