Clearing out favorite bookmarks is about a tedious task as trying to clean up your e-mail (especially when your inbox basically permanently says 1000+ new messages), but sometimes you stumble across gems you forgot you favorited 2 years ago.
Re-stumbling across a review of one of my long-time favorite rappers (at least when we was underground) Wiz Khalifa‘s third studio album, first major-label EP Rolling Papers, which released to mixed reviews in 2011. While technically more than competent, the content and lyrics of the album were a departure from Wiz’s original style he expressed in his earlier mixtapes, like Kush & OJ, the legendary P.O.T.C. tapes or even B.A.R. (Burn After Rolling).
My initial reaction to the Spin review of the album was that the author was over-hyping this musical “fail” and stuck on the ability of a big budget to make a rapper’s album sound polished and “professional.” However, when he had brought up longtime favorites that really weren’t too bad, in fact Wiz had some sleeper hits on there as well, a few I agree with the author such as with “Rooftops” featuring Curren$y, “The Race,” one of the top tracks of the album, or Roll Up (the most mainstream but catchiest single by far. There were a few other songs I give 5 stars in my iTunes here: “Top Floor” with an addictive very-experimental beat, “Hopes and Dreams,” my personal favorite of the album, and “wake Up” all do more than enough justice to Wiz’s earlier works.
The remaining tracks, while not necessarily terrible, were not anything great either. I completely disagree with the SPIN article’s author opinion of “Fly Solo,” that song. was. just. terrible. Which is why today’s highlight will highlight “Hopes and Dreams” from Pittsburgh’s own. “Star of the Show” with fellow Taylor Gang label-mate Chevy Woods is also a standout, with that “chill” vibe Wiz is known for.