Release Date: Mar 29, 2011
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Rap, East Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap
Ben Franklin had his lightning bolt. Newton had his apple. For Wiz Khalifa, the aha! moment must have come when he realized the words "green," "blow," "rollin' " and "paper" all applied to both marijuana and money. "Some say it's a problem/Blowin' my greens/Not savin' my collards," he raps on his hotly anticipated major-label debut.
After his first record deal with Warner Bros. fizzled nearly two years ago, many counted Wiz Khalifa out. But the rapper with the Fran Drescher chortle got revenge and then some with his smash, ”Black and Yellow.” The Pittsburgher’s debut on Atlantic is lyrically limited to getting high, stealing chicks, and blowing cash. (Then again, what would you rap about if you were young and new to affluence?) Yet it burns with an underdog’s passion and a champion’s spite.
The mixtape marks the dawn of a new era in hip hop, an era when any rapper can throw their own verses on other rappers’ beats, when an artist’s main objective is to gain more followers, become widely known, get a record deal– essentially, to make it big. For some rappers, it has helped significantly: Where would Das Racist be without Shut Up, Dude? Where would Chiddy Bang be without The Swelly Express? Or Big K.R.I.T. without last year’s K.R.I.T.
Hip-hop's era of sport is officially over. East Coast rap battles are irrelevant. Beef is null. Competition is nada. Instead, we are enduring the age of languor, and nowhere is this more apparent than on Rolling Papers, the major label debut of Wiz Khalifa, a long-developing star forged in the ….
Arguably, the most surprising aspect of Wiz Khalifa’s out-of-nowhere success over the past year is that teenage girls make up a large portion of his fanbase. “Something your little sister would listen to” may be an insult favored among music geeks, but in the case of Wiz, the saying holds true, and it’s not really an insult. Despite all the talk of music’s fractured landscape, here is a rapper who appeals to both Gen X rap heads and Miley-esque millennials.
If it wasn’t for “Black and Yellow,” Wiz Khalifa’s story would match the mixtape past of Currensy, Freddie Gibbs, and even Lil Wayne, but that unrepresentative mega-hit -- and unofficial Pittsburgh Steelers anthem from the previous Super Bowl season -- made Rolling Papers a “highly anticipated” release for a wider audience than usual. Those looking for more singalong sport anthems and party tracks will be severely disappointed with the rapper’s first major-label release, but anyone who has followed the alt-pop side of hip-hop -- from B.o.B. on down -- will find this familiar ground.
From a critical, music-as-art standpoint, there isn't too much to say about Rolling Papers: it's a competent, somewhat uninspired collection of pop-rap from a well-hyped and much-anticipated artist. It breaks no new ground, says nothing new or interesting about its topics (the nature of celebrity, the importance of friendship, the triflin' nature of bitches), but it still makes for an occasionally pleasant, mostly inoffensive listen. However, as vessel for potential hits, Rolling Papers is a smash.
A twinkling piano melody eases listeners into Wiz Khalifa's third album, a winsome ode to the high life that extends the pop appeal of the rising Pittsburgh MC's number-one hit, Black And Yellow, to 14 laid-back songs. Rolling Papers is a bigger, shinier sequel to last year's Kush & Orange Juice mixtape; it's full of smooth beats and summertime vibes nicely suited to Khalifa's languorous flow, but with a gleaming commercial pop veneer courtesy of producers like Stargate (Ne-Yo, Rihanna). Songs like Roll Up, Hopes And Dreams and The Race best showcase his self-assured charm.
At the beginning of, “The Race” Wiz Khalifa casually says, “Yeah, it’s nothing new / ‘Cause this is exactly what I do…” and that essentially serves as his mantra and an example of everything else on Rolling Papers. Much like Deal Or No Deal this album is catchy and melodic—possibly more so than anything else out right now not made by a member of Young Money. Anyone who listened to his first two albums knows Wiz isn’t the rapper to go to for intricate rhyme patterns or socially conscious subject matter.
Wiz Khalifa :: Rolling PapersAtlantic RecordsAuthor: Jesal 'Jay Soul' PadaniaMany fans of this wonderful genre of ours feel that hip hop has become extremely polarised over the last two years. Not so much in terms of how it is represented - for in 2011, you can really do as you please, no matter what the subject matter or back story - but in terms of quality level. Generally, the perception of major label releases seems to be that they are either wonderful or woeful.
Stargate’s influence on urban radio has to be one of the strangest byproducts of our globalized, hyper-professional music industry. Beyoncé‘s “Irreplaceable,” Ne-Yo’s “Closer,” roughly half of Rihanna’s big hits: It’s funny to think how determinately recent black pop has been shaped by a pair of middle-aged Norwegian suburbanites. But it wasn’t until Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” surged to the top of the charts in the run-up to the Super Bowl that the production duo was able to boast a hip-hop song to match the success of their pop and R&B confections.
Review Summary: Atlantic is whittling away any semblance of credibility with these cookie cutter attempts at create-a-rapstar.Honestly, you all know Wiz Khalifa. He's that guy... the one that shows you a picture of a topless recent conquest on his iphone, fixates on crude methods of debauchery, and is so arrogant his name means "wisdom" in Arabic. He smokes illicit substances found within Rolling Papers (apparently Papers alone would be a bit too confusing for Atlantic's customer base).
I’ve gotten the impression a few people are waiting with great anticipation for a scathing review of Rolling Papers, but I’ve got to admit it’s just not going to happen. Kush & Orange Juice was a stroke of creative genius, of front to back great production married to wholly appropriate raps from Wiz Khalifa. But it was also something Wiz had never pulled off before, and something one could have reasonably expected him not to achieve again.
Thoughtful rap that deserves mainstream attention. Lloyd Bradley 2011 After a string of excellent mixtapes and releases on independent labels, Wiz Khalifa (aka Cameron Jibril Thomaz) was due a decent shot at the mainstream, and Rolling Papers pretty much offers that up. Two tracks in particular, Star of the Show and Fly Solo, let Khalifa show off real skills – solid, reliable beats with a woozy, almost whimsical layering of synths and keyboards building an engaging musical landscape around them.