Wiz Khalifa is a fan favorite, and that’s a fact. We want to see him win. Ever since Kush and Orange Juice the world gravitated to the young Pittsburgh spitter and stood behind the man, herb smoke and all. We watched Rolling Papers burn to ashes and ONIFC kind of crash and burn, but after hearing “We Dem Boyz” and the return of Trap Wiz, fans had high hopes for Blacc Hollywood. We wanted to give the highly anticipated project its proper due credit and decided it would be the perfect choice for this week’s Ether Report podcast.
The panel was split from the jump with Nyght (@ThisNyght), Justin (@JustinDLive), and Anonymous (@ADtheMC) not expecting much, while me (@JidSays) and Asia (@xAsiaaa) played optimists due to our past Wiz fandom as he provided the soundtrack to some of the best moments of our young lives.
Blacc Hollywood had it’s highlights. This was Wiz Khalifa’s most personal sounding album to date, which may have had to with the fact that this was the first project that he executive produced himself. The unanimous favorite was “House In The Hills” ft. Curren$y. Aside from the fact that it’s another Wiz and Curren$y track which has always brought out the best in Wiz since How Fly, “HITH” features Wiz delivering some of his most heartfelt bars ever as he pleads for the media to tell the other side of his success story.
Wiz is not just a “pothead” rapper. Yes, that is his image, but the bigger picture is the idea that he turned his favorite past time into a full fledged brand and lifestyle that has made him a successful CEO of his own label and has done it all HIMSELF. Nobody talks about that when it comes to Wiz and it seems like it’s finally getting to him.
What they don’t talk about the kid that came from nothin’
Who stuck to what he believed in and turned himself into something great
They should use that story to motivate
But instead they’d rather focus on the fact that he’s a pothead
Not the fact there’s not a lot where I lived
25 and not dead”
– Wiz Khalifa, House In The Hills
“KK” was another favorite from the album. Wiz’s verse was one his most fun and enjoyable verses in a long time. It reminded me of why I became a fan of his in the first place. Then to top it off we had the Three Six Mafia reunion of Juicy J and Project Pat going back and forth. It feels like the most organic record on the album. It was one of the only songs that didn’t sound like a reach for top 40 chart placements, just fun.
And that was exactly what was wrong with the album. It was almost hard to listen to Wiz reach for Billboard placements as if he was B.o.B. minus the radio friendly features. Isn’t it cool to make the shit that you’re good at in 2014 without having to worry about that? “Ass Drop” was Big Sean’s “A$$” all over again. It was unadulterated, unfiltered commercial juice with no apologies, send me straight to the strip club music, no stops for moral questions or artistic integrity here.
“Stayin Out All Night” sounds like a Miley Cyrus reference track. “Promises” is a well written song, but the vocals are full of struggle. Wiz put himself in a position where these songs almost need to be hits for his sake of making the judgment call to put them on an album.
Blacc Hollywood just sounded uninspired all together. As a fan of Wiz I tried to defend him to the best of my abilities, but if good moments like “House In The Hills” and “KK” happen so seldom, what can you say? The other songs on the album are forgettable. I can’t name one time I felt like he nailed it, or got a track completely right. That one moment may have been “We Dem Boyz,” but that came out 6 months ago and is the reason why we gave Blacc Hollywood a chance in the first place.
I walked into this one expecting for it be the resurrection of Wiz Khalifa as an artist, but left feeling more disappointed than ever. Maybe he’s making music for the younger generation? I can’t say that we’ll be listening to this one again.