Wiz Khalifa raps about smoking weed so much it is like he is aiming to be the next Snoop Dogg. The two are actually friends in real life, recently collaborating on the soundtrack for the film Mac & Devin Go To High School that the duo also stars in. The entire soundtrack/film is about smoking weed, yet Snoop and Wiz don’t get stale; they continually find ways to keep marijuana fresh. This is what Snoop has been doing his whole career and what Wiz is hoping his career will look like.
Khalifa gained recognition for his flow and delivery on his early mixtapes, specifically Kush & Orange Juice. After he signed to Atlantic and released his first official LP Rolling Papers many fans were divided. While the album was a commercial success with hits like “Black & Yellow” and “On My Level” many fans hated how mainstream it was. Rolling Papers was a pop-rap album and with its success nearly all of Khalifa’s underground credibility garnered from Kush & Orange Juice had disappeared.
Taylor Allderdice is Khalifa’s apology to the disappointed, the haters of Rolling Papers. Here he attempts to go back to his roots and create something with cooler-side appeal. This mixtape is 17 tracks of leaning back, toking up and laying down some smooth verses. The high-end carefully polished beats aren’t present. Everything is laid back, cued to a downbeat. It has that mixtape feel and Khalifa is laying down his lyrics with a carefree “don’t give a shit” attitude, secretly hoping his old school fans will approve.
The mixtape is filled with clips of an interview he did with MTV News’ Rob Markman, offering personal insight of where he is at with his career. He doesn’t regret Rolling Papers but he “maybe would have done some things different.” This type of insight can be interesting but comes across as unnecessary, especially because it is on almost every track. Wiz gets painfully obvious and often rambles like the stoner he is, and really he is a much better rapper than an interviewee. I don’t want to hear him talk about smoking weed; I want to hear him rap about smoking weed.
Khalifa is at his best when he is naturalized about his marijuana use. When he gets into the zone he can be mesmerizing; he can make a listener feel stoned without being anywhere near the smoke. He displays this on “California” and “Mia Wallace” by backing a smooth beat and finding ways of relating with the marijuana. He doesn’t have to try very hard to pull this off – he just needs to allow the weed to take over.
After the success of Rolling Papers he brags a lot more than he used to, something that isn’t an appealing look for the guy. When he raps about how much money he has on “Guilty Conscience,” I don’t care. He doesn’t make money sound graceful like he does with marijuana. He has a marriage to marijuana while the lifestyle of the rich and famous is foreign territory. It makes sense that he wants to go back to the days of his early success as an underground star, but can you ever really go back? “Never Been Part 2” is a sequel to the popular song on Kush & Orange Juice but it falls flat, ruined by a bland romantic beat and his fiancé Amber Rose being featured on the vocals, who brings nothing to the table except reverb and annoyance. Things like this make me want Khalifa to just keep looking forward in his career. At one point Rob Markman asks him if he is a pop rapper; he responds, “I’m not a pop rapper. I’ll pop up and make five million dollars.” It makes you wonder, what does he want with his career?
Overall Taylor Allderdice has a few good cuts but isn’t anything more than noteworthy. It is a segway to his next official LP. It is the view of an artist looking back at the grueling but satisfying days before his popularity blew up. Deep down he knows those days are in the past. It is an attempt to win back the old fans. For everyone else it is 17 tracks that go by in a blur; there are a few standouts but nothing too extraordinary.