.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/a28cae153fef77df54e154eebec68cf0e3c5c468.jpg Rolling Papers

Wiz Khalifa

Rolling Papers

Rostrum/Atlantic
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
10
March 29, 2011

Ben Franklin had his lightning bolt. Newton had his apple. For Wiz Khalifa, the aha! moment must have come when he realized the words "green," "blow," "rollin' " and "paper" all applied to both marijuana and money. "Some say it's a problem/Blowin' my greens/Not savin' my collards," he raps on his hotly anticipated major-label debut. (Spoiler alert: He doesn't agree that it's a problem.)

Photos and Video: Wiz Khalifa, Cage the Elephant and the Smith Westerns Rock the Year's Coolest Looks

On Rolling Papers, Khalifa, the 23-year-old Pittsburgh rhymer responsible for the jersey-waving hit "Black and Yellow," 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."

Video: Wiz Khalifa At SXSW

Khalifa doesn't record with big-name hip-hop cameos (unless Too Short and Curren$y count as big names). Stargate (the Norwegian hitmakers behind "Black and Yellow") and Pittsburgh homey E Dan give tracks like "Wake Up" and "Star of the Show" a warm, lush synth-gauze that lends lines such as "Got money, minor league turn major/Got money, white people turn neighbors" a surreal joyousness. Which is exactly the point: Khalifa hustled for years to get his big break, suffering record-label indignities, releasing mixtapes and using Twitter to build a following. When he raps, "I don't wanna wake up," on "Wake Up," you can't help but hope his dream lasts a while.

Listen to "On My Level (featuring Too Short)":

10
prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Whoomp! (There It Is)”

    Tag Team | 1993

    Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com