Wiz Khalifa rolls out his Atlantic Records debut Rolling Papers to stores today featuring the No. 1 hit “Black and Yellow” and Stargate-produced follow-up “Roll Up,” plus appearances from Too $hort, Curren$y, and Chevy Woods. Did the weed-loving rapper spark a flame or burn out with critics? Find out below.
USA Today: After much anticipation, his major-label album arrives, and it turns out it’s only somewhat worth the wait. Khalifa is certainly likable enough with his laid-back flow and knack for catchy rhymes over melodic beats. But he is limited thematically, with almost every song extolling the virtue of weed, women and the good life. 2.5/4
Rolling Stone: [Khalifa] manages to give life to those kinds of cash-gorged perma-baked clichés by warmly luxuriating in the space between pop’s fresh-faced exuberance and hip-hop’s easy arrogance—between skater and playa, Bieber and Biggie. This is a guy who can effortlessly segue from the ominous G-funk whir of “On My Level” to the adorably crushed-out R&B crooning of “Roll Up.” 3/5
Entertainment Weekly: 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. B+
SPIN: “Black and Yellow” turned Wiz into a bonafide star, but this twerpy stoner’s first album since that megahit embraces the doggedly one-note approach of the numerous mixtapes that built his substantial following. 6/10
BBC: Apart from some of the tedious subject matter—being stoned, drinking, etc.—it’s the sort of rap that deserves mainstream attention as it’s musically thoughtful and endearing beyond the dancefloor. Bizarrely, though, it’s when Khalifa sets his sights on the pop world it begins to fall apart.
Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Black and Yellow,” “Roll Up,” “The Race,” “No Sleep”