Review: Wiz Khalifa - Rolling Papers

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By Anupa Mistry

It kind of makes sense that the best/worst song on Wiz Khalifa’s third studio (first major label) release, Rolling Papers, is Rebecca Black dead ringer “No Sleep.” The weird, tables-turned success of Black’s “Friday” is due to its sordid catchiness, and if “No Sleep” (and Rolling Papers, in general) has anything going for it, it’s that same cheesy magnetism. Fresh off the obscenely wild success of “Black and Yellow,” a record packed with hummable pop tracks about girls and weed is a move that has Wiz floating happily on the lazy river of pop rap marketing genius. There’s not much rapping, or even semblance of rap music, here ― aside from the hazy bombast of Too $hort feature “On My Level” and the Curren$y assisted “Rooftop” ― as there are Auto-Tuned hooks and lifestyle diarizing. A nod to Wiz’s proven limited topical and thematic range, much of Rolling Papers sounds the same, though it’s somewhat effective ― when the pop cuts work, they work (see single: “Roll Up”). But conceding that Rolling Papers as a mediocre pop album by a rapper feels wasteful when there are other, better rap records to listen to and discuss.

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