Going into the spring of 2010, Wiz Khalifa was riding high (no pun intended) as any rapper in the ever evolving blogosphere. Fresh off of a 2010 XXL Freshman cover selection and the success of his breakthrough projects “Flight School” “How Fly” (With Curren$y) and “Burn After Rolling” and years of biding his time under the radar, it felt like Wiz was finally ready to take that next step artistically.
Then the classic which is “Kush & Orange Juice” dropped and all hell broke loose. Even though the young Pittsburgh upstart had a legion of followers before this project dropped, even months after it’s release it was as if you couldn’t escape Khalifa’s smoke induced music and his cult-like fanboy’s “Taylor Gang”, who hash tagged the #TGOD motto until it was ingrained in EVERYBODY’S head. The smash hit that was “Black And Yellow” and his subsequent signing to Atlantic records made the hunger for his major label debut even greater. Dropping the LONG awaited “Cabin Fever” mixtape out of nowhere set the stakes even higher, with some expecting a modern day Snoop-esque banger of a debut. But sadly that didn’t happen.
As soon as you heard the cashmere soft “Roll Up” hit the blogs and radio airwaves, you knew Wiz had let the mainstream influence dilute his product a little, but still held out hope that the project wouldn’t be a big disappointment. As it turns out that “hope” was null and void, as the album was complete basura to put it in the kindest way. When homie put the blonde streak in his hair and handcuffed Kanye’s leftovers I lost all hope for dude and came to the realization that the glitz and glamour had taken young Khalifa under like so many before him.
But apparently Wiz heard all of the whispering about his falling off and his music being a watered down version of his prior work and made a promise to return to his roots on his next project, thus bringing us to his “Taylor Allderdice” mixtape (which was titled in honor of his Pittsburgh High School in case you were wondering). The proceedings kick off with MTV’s Rob Markman, who is also the host of the mixtape, sharing a few brief words and Wiz getting right into the mix of things with “Amber Ice” which lets you know immediately that this outing could be considered as ‘Kush & OJ 2.0″. The Cardo produced “California” shows Khalifa’s reflecting on his current standing in the game with lines like “Still rolling weed on my XXL, only difference is thats me on the cover” and sees him spitting more focused and precise as anything he’s released since “Kush & OJ”.
The Dumont produced “Mia Wallace” is Cross-Country Wiz, with him rhyming about traveling city to city with his head above the clouds, literally and figuratively. “Guilty Conscience” is closer to his “Cabin Fever” work, with him boasting about the usual Khalifa vices: weed, money, liquor, women, and more weed. “Mary 3x” sees him calling out his imitators with shots like “I remember putting weed in my videos, niggas thought I was insane/Now everytime I turn on a video, I see the exact same thing/Cuz niggas aint original, niggas aint cool/you niggas aint got it nah, you niggas just aint you”. The beat on “ONIFC” is bananas to say the least and the Chevy Woods assisted “Nameless” might very well be my personal fave off the whole tape with its addictive hook and Pete Rock-esque horns.
“Never Been Part 2″ which features Wiz’ wifey Amber Rose providing a terrible attempt at a hook and Rick Ross, who completely FLOATS over the Cardo and Sledgren co-produced track, which is a template of the first one on steroids. “The Cruise” is slightly reminiscent of Ready For The World’s “Let Me Love You Down” and features a hypnotizing sample as the hook while “Rowland” which features Smoke Dza, leaves a little bit to be desired (though the “macking..hanging” reference from “The Wood” was priceless lol). “My Favorite Song” and “TAP” which both feature Juicy J, are Wiz at his uninspiring cliched finest, which is what was wrong with “Rolling Papers”.
“The Code” which features Juicy J, Chevy Woods, and Lola Monroe (?) is good in a laughable kind of way, other than that..NAH. The Jake One produced “The Grinder” is another standout with its infectious beat and Wiz being able to stay awake lyrically on this one lol. “Brainstorm” is a nice instrumental break from the madness, though it could have been used earlier in the album to maximize its purpose. The hook on “Number 16″ is reminiscent of Pharcyde’s classic “Running” stylistically and shows Wiz where he is most comfortable at, in cruise control. The closer “Blindfolds” could have done without Juicy J IMO, but otherwise is a respectable end to the project.
While “Taylor Allderdice” isn’t necessarily better than “Kush & Orange Juice”, it is definitively the best work he has put out since then and easily shits on his “Rolling Papers” debut by a mile and even outclasses the comparably solid “Cabin Fever” in my eyes. Even though this will never erase the debacle that was “Rolling Papers”, you did do even better than I expected and proved you still got what it takes to put out a quality body of work more in the vein of what originally made the people champion you in the first place. Good job Khalifa..and apology accepted.
Props: Please Dont Stare