Wiz Khalifa’s ‘Blacc Hollywood’: Album Review

Kathy Iandoli | August 19, 2014 6:00 am
Ever since Wiz Khalifa’s debut single “Say Yeah” (the one with the infectious Alice DeeJay “Better Off Alone” sample) arrived, it’s been pretty obvious that the Pittsburgh rapper has a penchant for crafting anthems. Of course 2011’s gigantic “Black And Yellow” really drove that point home, but since then it’s been a matter of pointing out the anthems in Wiz projects.

2012’s O.N.I.F.C. had “Work Hard, Play Hard,” and now his fifth studio album Blacc Hollywood (out today, ) has “We Dem Boyz.” Wiz has been consistent on that front. However, what’s offered beyond the token anthem is equally important — and while Blacc Hollywood has some hits, it also has some misses.

Wiz has reached an interesting phase in his career. It’s his fifth solo studio album — and while his third album 2011’s Rolling Papers (housing “Black And Yellow”) marked his career upswing, he survived long beyond the shadow of that single. The rapper evolved into a 21st century Snoop Dogg, yet bypassed Snoop’s awkward No Limit era by just consistently churning out hits that were true to form. Now Wiz is married with a child, yet still has to keep cranking out these weed-laced bro anthems he’s known and loved for. He does that, but at times it feels forced.

The traptastic “Hope” opens (after a weird inspirational message) with Ty Dolla $ign on the bridge as the two question the loyalty of strippers. “We Dem Boyz” follows, with Detail producing a hauntingly synthy soundbed for Wiz to chant the hook that has echoed throughout the 2014 Summer. An ill-placed romantic “Promises” continues, dulling the shine of its predecessor, but things pick back up for “Kk.” There, Project Pat and Juicy J assist Wiz on what can be his next big single.

The momentum maintains through cuts like “House In The Hills” (with Curren$y) and “Ass Drop,” but “Raw” gets lazy in its Drill-meets-Trap cadence with lines like “Got a car that wins races.” “The Sleaze” travels along a similar tune. Other songs like “Stayin Out All Night” and “Still Down” (with Chevy Woods and Ty Dolla $ign) bring the “it’s just me and my boys” vibe.

Blacc Hollywood rides out on the highest notes possible, with Nicki Minaj on the mid-tempo “True Colors” (even though Nicki’s bars are just one big extended promo for The Pink Print), the “We Dem Boyz” remix and “You And Your Friends” (with Ty Dolla $ign and Snoop Dogg).

Blacc Hollywood has a lot of parts — most work and some don’t. Hip hop’s Rockstar will have to regroup for project #6 to really assess who he’s rhyming for at this stage in his career.

Best Song That Wasn’t the Single:  “So High,” where Wiz rhymes in a cadence reminiscent of Juvenile on “Ha,” yet the hook is breezy and oozes THC. On the remix tip, the “We Dem Boyz” remix is better than the original, as Rick Ross, ScHoolboy Q and Nas bring a trifecta of chill vibes that are less abrasive than the 1.0 version.

Best Listened To: On the car ride to the dispensary to get some Ganja Gummy Bears, naturally.

Idolator Score: 3.5/5

Kathy Iandoli

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