24 March, 2012@11:47 am
It must be hard being Wiz Khalifa. Despite garnering commercial acclaim and solidifying himself as one of Hip Hop’s future stars, he’s done so at the risk of alienating his long time fans. We all know the story, underground artist builds up a loyal fan following, blows up, then deters away from the formula that got him there to begin with. Wiz’s major label debut album Rolling Papers was successful, but critically disappointing. Fans were hoping to hear more of the Kush and Orange Juice mixtape Wiz, not the label altered pop sound he was feeding them.
Fast forward a year and Wiz has acknowledged that Rolling Papers wasn’t his best work. Which brings us to the highly anticipated Taylor Allerdice mix tape. This is a project that finds Wiz in old form. Hosted by MTV’s Rob Markman, the tape has sound bytes of an interview that was conducted with Wiz, which offers sincere insight into his current state of mind between tracks. Not your typical clip, but it adds to the Taylor Allerdice experience.
Of course it’s the music that everyone is really interested in. Well from the very beginning listeners will be pleased. The opening track “Amber Ice” has Wiz riding over a smooth beat with his mellowed out flow. It sets the mood for those that smoke to get an urge to roll up, and tempts those that don’t to do the same. “Mary 3x” “The Cruise”, and “Brainstorm” are all stand out tracks that were made just in time for the spring weather.
Wiz also makes sure his Taylor Gang family is right there to enjoy the ride with him. Juicy J, Lola Munroe, and Chevy Woods all join him for “The Code”. Juicy J then takes a spin at “T.A.P.” and “Blindfolds”, making the most out of his guest appearances. Taylor Gang affiliates aside, Wiz also didn’t mind letting his fiancé get in on the fun. Along with Rick Ross, Amber Rose handles the chorus duties for “Never Been Part II” for a track that will probably leave fans conflicted. One of those love it or hate it moments, and aside from the names on the track, a forgettable song at best.
Make no mistake about it, a lyrical wordsmith Wiz is not. His content is pretty redundant, but you’re not listening to hear him solve the world’s problems, or even get introspective with his rhymes. The best example of it’s not always what you say, but how you say it, and Wiz excels at that. His ability to craft a catchy chorus and allow the production to reel in the listener is where he truly shines. Producers like Big Jerm, Cardo, and Dumont were given free reign to provide a complimentary backdrop for Wiz and never do they disappoint.
Truthfully, Taylor Allerdice is nothing like Rolling Papers, and that’s a good thing. Though it’s not necessarily a return to his free spirited Kush and Orange Juice work either. Instead Wiz delivers a project that showcases improved songwriting ability, with mellowed out production that doesn’t take away from his artistic creativity. His personality shines on this project, and that’s what his fans appreciate from him the most. His raps about smoking, enjoying the pleasantries of life, and making sure all of his people are there to enjoy it with him are all elements that helped him reach his current mainstream status. With a better sense of what kind of music he wants to make from this point forward, expect Wiz to maintain a pretty lengthy career.
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