Rolling Papers

Studio Album by released in 2011
Rolling Papers's tracklist:
When I'm Gone
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On My Level (feat. Too $hort)
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Black and Yellow
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Roll Up
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Hopes and Dreams
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Wake Up
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The Race
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Star of the Show (feat. Chevy Woods)
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No Sleep
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Get Your Shit
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Top Floor
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Fly Solo
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Rooftops (feat. Curren$y)
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Cameras
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Rolling Papers review

Wiz Khalifa makes a confident step forward

Cameron Jibril Thomaz is the twenty-three year old rapper from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, professionally known by his pseudonym Wiz Khalifa. The first part of his scenic name stands for wisdom, the second translates from the Arab as ‘successor’, the young artist is obviously proud of both of the components. A couple of years ago Wiz started to create and record interesting mixtapes which attracted the attention of independent labels to him. The rapper released his debut album Show And Prove in 2006 by himself, and then signed the contract with Warner Bros. Records, on which he recorded his successful single Say Yeah, but soon parted ways with it. His sophomore effort Deal Or No Deal was released already on his former label Rostrum Records. His most successful mixtape Kush & Orange Juice followed that record, which caused various labels and artists to compete which of them would collaborate with Cameron. The one to win the competition was one of the American show-business labels Atlantic Records, on which Rolling Papers is released this spring, Wiz Khalifa’s third album and his debut on a major label, offering a number of new rap-hits, some filler and on the whole leaving an impression of a confident step forward.

Rolling Papers, a worthy collection of fourteen tracks

As in any contemporary hip-hop work, producers, real experts in their field, have taken part in the recording of Rolling Papers, among them being Jim Jonsin, Stargate, I.D. Labs and some others. As a result a worthy collection of fourteen tracks has come out, of which only three are collaborations – this witnesses Wiz Khalifa’s apparent confidence concerning his own capacity, moreover, his rapping and charisma actually deserve the highest scoring. The album opens with a sullen song When I'm Gone, built on melodious keyboards and enveloping beats, and the single On My Level is the first of collaborations, it features Too Short and conquers at once with weighty production and both artist’s confident performance. The audience first heard Black And Yellow, one of the album’s basic compositions, last year, and it quickly became the unofficial hymn of Pittsburgh’s American Football team Pittsburgh Steelers, for black and yellow pertain to its colors. Some R&B, elements appear on Roll Up built on an ambiguous metaphor: this number will be quite appropriate on a hot party, whereas Hopes And Dreams surprises with a more unusual broken accompaniment, besides one can hear the artist’s enjoyable vocals on it. The second collaboration Star Of The Show featuring Chevy Woods is once again based on a volume beat and electronic tuning sounds, while beautiful guitar sounds appear on Get Your Shit, and the vocals on chorus fills this break-up songs with sincere emotions again. Top Floor is an example of a rather contagious but overproduced number, and the classic rap Rooftops featuring Currensy, on the contrary, proves to the most successful collaboration on the album.

Funny jokes, bold rhymes, and interesting views on life

The album’s title has at least ways to explain it. As someone who really likes to smoke marijuana Wiz Khalifa never conceals his fondness from anybody, and the first association on hearing the phrase Rolling Papers is exactly the one, especially among his peers. Yet the rapper sees other meaning in these words. His experience with Warner Bros. Records has played an important role in his career, according to Cameron himself, and when the contract was torn, its paper also served for the above mentioned purposes, but the rite’s symbolism could not be underestimated. Finally the album Rolling Papers is the first one while writing which the artist never put any of his lyrics on paper, thus, the paper could be rolled and put away, the record’s title reflecting that sense quite well. Like it or not, Wiz Khalifa sparkles with wit, and for that quality only one can forgive him the overproduced filler tracks on the album as well as the thematic monotony (weed, girls, weed). Besides, there are some funny jokes, bold rhymes, and interesting views on life in the verses on Rolling Papers. Perhaps next time Wiz Khalifa will be bored himself by telling about his having fun and will find new topics for reflection, but today he has proved everyone that one can make quite a good album simply telling the listeners of one’s not-too-sophisticated days.

Alexandra Zachernovskaya (11.04.2011)
Rate review4.63
Total votes - 4531