There are precious few rappers – or human beings, come to think of it – who hold the distinction of having a strain of weed named after them. Pittsburg native Cameron Jibril Thomaz, aka. Wiz Khalifa just so happens to be one of these prestigious individuals. Khalifa Kush is available from medicinal and recreational dispensaries in the various American states where cannabis is now legal and it’s little surprise really. Considering Khalifa’s reputation as the Vice President of Skunk Advocacy in hip-hop’s hierarchy (We all know Uncle Snoop has the top spot covered), he’s still managed to release four studio albums since 2006 with the fifth, Blacc Hollywood dropping this month.
It’s definitely a pretty stoney affair throughout and kicks off with Hope; a prog-R&B slow burner that eases you into a world of “bottles in tha club” and girls who “ain’t looking for love” with some R. Kelly-esque crooning from L.A.’s Ty Dolla $ign. The bass-heavy trap sets the tone for the record before the record’sfirst single We Dem Boys. Honestly, it’s one of the record’s weaker moments and rolls by kind of unremarkably until the earnestness of Promises kind of catches you off guard. It’s definitely one of those rapper-tries-to-sing tracks that are a little cringeworthy sometimes, but ultimately it doesn’t “suck” and that’s kind of the best you can hope for.
KK, named after his signature bud blend is just as heroically stoned as you’d imagine with appearances from Project Pat and Juicy J and it’s “KK-blowin’ ” hook will not leave your head for at least a couple of hours (whether this is a good thing or not is up to you). House In The Hills (Feat. Curren$y) is a pretty typical “ragz-2-richez” slow-jam but the radio-(un)friendly minimalist trap of Ass Drop takes things back to the club with a vengeance. A similar kind of vibe is present on Raw and most recent single Stayin’ Out All Night definitely benefits from some production handiwork by pop powerhouse Dr. Luke (who’s had a hand in releases by everyone from Katy Perry to Flo Rida).
The queasy, grinding bass of Khalifa’s tribute to his spouse/baby-mama Amber Rose The Sleaze definitely lives up to its name and the ambient, almost trip-hop So High sees Los Angeles producer Ghost Loft play the Nate Dogg to Wiz’s Snoop with a breezy hook that works perfectly. Ty Dolla $ign is back for round two with another Pittsburg-er, Chevy Woods on Still Down and the 4 minutes, 20 seconds (coincidence?) of No Gain takes a leaf out of the book of harmonic sophistication currently being written by Drake’s producer, Noah “40” Shebib.
The standard edition of Blacc Hollywood wraps up with True Colors. Nicki Minaj never disappoints and spits fire on the record’s closer. There’s a remix of We Dem Boys with some pretty hard-hitting marquee-names appearing: Rick Ross, Schoolboy Q and New York’s finest, Nas. It’s definitely an improvement on the album version and definitely benefits from some A-list cameos. Wrapping up the deluxe edition is the slinky synth-funk of non-album single You and Your Friends with a third appearance from Ty Dolla $ign and none other than Snoop himself.
Blacc Hollywood isn’t really trying to reinvent the wheel, but overall it’s a pretty slick, modern release and sure to satiate the appetite of Khalifa’s expansive fanbase. Think of it this way though; if you’re after fine dining in the realm of hip-hop, go to a renowned chef with a couple of signature dishes (any of the classics will do). However, if you’re stoned off your face and just wanna mindlessly munch out on junk until you need to unbutton your pants, then the 15 tracks of Blacc Hollywood might be just the snack you crave.