By this point, it’s clear that artists unload whopping song dumps of albums in order to take full advantage of the upside of the streaming frenzy.
At 25 tracks deep, no one can fault Wiz Khalifa for padding his long announced Rolling Papers II album with more songs than fans can absorb in one smoke session. But the upside to his ridiculously long recent effort is it’s stacked with a host of stellar tracks for virtually every leisure activity underneath a stoner’s sun.
Whether it’s doubling down on the expected on the breezy “420 Freestyle” or ensuring he’ll never get checked at the door of “Bootsy Bellows” with a swanky anthem boosted by funky guitar grooves, Young Khalifa makes his universal appeal apparent after years of enduring naysayers’ claims he was average at best.
On the early riser “Ocean” — which is complemented by longtime soundman Sledgren’s wavy subtle bass dips — Khalifa cooly spits, “Do what you gotta do to pay your rent/Only party with lame niggas at they expense’I’m talkin’ good weed, steak and shrimp/Niggas runnin’ off with styles that they ain’t invent,” demonstrating how he’s been able to live as the life of the party wouldn’t having to hold tight to a wild boy facade.
Other notable inclusions include “B OK” where Cam Tomaz makes a rare but candid cameo over the reflective instrumentation; “FR FR,” a hazy banger where Lil Skies surprisingly makes a play for the album’s best guest feature; and “Holyfield,” an easy single choice with its hashtaggable quotes and enchanting keyboard melody. There’s even a Bone Thugs-n-Harmony feature with all five members on “Reach for the Stars” that bleeds with Midwestern hospitality for anyone looking for inspiration.
The downside to Rolling Papers II is that the nearly 90-minute affair declines to produce any classic material — even on a Khalifa level. This makes the recruiting of usual suspects such as Snoop Dogg, Gucci Mane and Ty Dolla $ign that more futile.
None of the hiccups erode the fact that Rolling Papers II is one of Khalifa’s most tightly rolled studio joints in a long time. (Perhaps, the original Rolling Papers from 2011). It may take more than one sitting to get through it, but anyone who dives in as fan will discover there are plenty of contact highs to be had.