Amidst being bashed by everyone on social media these last couple days…wait that was just Kanye, but I guess he pretty much constitutes everyone; Wiz Khalifa has achieved an incredible amount of stardom throughout his relatively short career thus far. No one can deny him any of that. He may be corny, he may have particularly limited and noticeably recurring subject matter throughout his releases, but as it turns out, relatability lies in the same hole that people try to bury him in. Back in 2010, Khalifa put out a project that showed just how much of a force he was in hip-hop. Kush and OJ, was the concrete laid down over the path he had left behind that many thought would fade into a vestige of what was. It became a symbol of his confidence and marketability.
Before people even had the time to listen through the entire tape, its title became the most searched thing on Google and the number one hashtag on Twitter. From coast to coast, everyone had adopted a new breakfast tracklist and it proved too easy to digest to resist. The instrumentals which are regularly backed by the spark of a lighter regress to a state of smokiness that hazes into Khalifa’s, “everything is better when you’re high” attitude. The sounds are compiled by stacking decades-aged light synth elements and muttering drums that seem to hit at the same rate at which Khalifa raps.
His style is a rendition of fellow stoner-rapper Curren$y in the sense that it never moves faster than one simplistic and completely grounded thought at a time while the artist spitting them stays elevated on an undetermined, yet large amount of that bud. Speaking of Curren$y, he and a few other guest artists like Big K.R.I.T. show up on this project and try their hand over Khalifa’s usual instrumental fare. The interesting part, Khalifa usually sound the best over the productions even though many would argue the other artists are much more skilled. Wiz has taken the stoner lifestyle and been acquitted of any accusations of repetition because, to put it very simply, no one makes a weed-song better. Every song has the easy listening quality of the one before and after it, making this project the perfect album to break up the over-produced or highly lyrical music that likely occupies the rest of your music library. Even at that, it still has its moments of good-life indulgence on ‘Pedal To The Medal’ with Johnny Juliano, which contains one of the catchiest choruses of that or any year due to its singer’s sheep-like vocal rumble.
It’s no wonder that Khalifa paid little worry to being at the top of the game when this project dropped. He knew he was on to something and he knew his music was getting passed around more than a joint at one of his shows. Looking back, it is almost funny to see how commercially accepted he is, or at least well-known now, compared to how dangerous for the radio he was back in 2010. Just like it’s hard to hate this project, it is similarly hard to push any hatred on the guy who created it and who seemingly always keeps to himself with a mind filled with next to no concerns, other than maybe where the weed is at. This project showed Khalifa’s ability to craft simple, simple verses that retained their impact through relatability and his potential to sing, smokey choruses that you can picture are accompanied by squinty eyes and a big goofy smile on his face.