Rolling Papers, Khalifa’s third studio album, is his first release on a major label. Although Atlantic Records worked with Rostrum Records, Khalifa’s usual label in putting this release out. Khalifa’s mixtape, Kush and Orange Juice, which was dropped at the begining of last summer was a career saver. Every track on that mixtape is fire and proved that Wiz’s previous album, Deal or No Deal was just the start of something much bigger. The spark that fueled Khalifa was the downtime after his role in “Say Yeah” at the beginning of 2008. After the non recognition from the big labels, he started doing his own thing and marketing himself as a laid-back, tree-blazing, hip-hopster. A style which blended the idealogies of both hipster and hiphop gurus.
So after the work and the constant mixtapes and music videos by Bill Paladino, Khalifa got Pittsburgh buzzin. So much that the rest of the music industry began to take note. Atlantic signed the kid and his popularity has been through the roof since. Especially after the arrival of ‘Black & Yellow’ and the coinciding Steelers in the Super Bowl. Fame was just part of the plan. Champagne and paper planes have been the goal since the beginning.
The meaning behind Rolling Papers was explained by Wiz on Ustream.tv on January 26, 2011, when he stated there are three different meanings behind the title:
It’s an appropriate title. It’s called Rolling Papers, like the papers that you roll, the papers that I roll, the papers that we smoke. But it’s deeper than that too. I thought of this before I even started recording the album and before it was a full idea. It’s not just about the weed thing. It’s bigger than that. My career really took off when I started smoking papers.The second reason I called it Rolling Papers is when I left Warner Bros., I sort of got my ‘rolling papers.’ I got my contract, fucking rolled up, and smoked. And I was able to walk and I was able to leave and I was able to do my thing and I was able to capitalize off that. So that’s another pair of papers that I really needed in my life.
The third reason why I named it Rolling Papers, I quit writing a long time ago. I stopped physically writing it down or putting it in my BlackBerry or iPhone. I write notes down, but I don’t write whole verses, so it was like saying goodbye to the paper. The paper’s rolling out too. So everything is real natural. The first thing that came to my head is how I really, really feel. I feel like this is my most natural sound. I paid the most attention to this shit when I did it. I was real focused. I was real keyed in on this shit when I was working on it and I didn’t use any paper, except for [the rolling papers].
The album has a very produced and combed over feel, still this doesn’t ruin it. Sure, I thought that Mark Hoppus from Blink182 was featured on the chorus of party-banger, ‘No Sleep’ due to its ridiculously pop feeling, but I’m not hating. Everything sounds good and fits the Khalifa vibe of chillin and rollin.
However, there are a few songs that show strong substance. Khalifa deals with his ex-girl in ‘Get Your Shit’ and works out all the kinks throughout the song and comes to closure with it. The clarity in the problems that led to the breakup, and the benefits of letting go and moving on. This song isn’t the only example of Khalifa’s personal life shining through the spotlight, something that hasn’t really been heard until now.
This album is beyond worth getting. It displays a matured Khalifa who knows how to deal with the freeloaders, women and other problems that present themselves especially when one is doing well.
Get it, and listen to it under the circumstances that Khalifa would want you to. This is an album for everyone, not just people who are into Hip-Hop. Yeahhhh Buddddddddy!