A few weeks ago, Wiz Khalifa wrote a letter to his fans discussing several topics. One of the more notable things he discussed was his major label debut, Rolling Papers. The Taylor Gang general admitted that the album wasn’t his best work. Although, it did great numbers wise, “creatively (it) wasn’t my best work,” he confesses. Compared to the classic Kush & Orange Juice, Rolling Papers was a total let down to fans. Due to this, Wiz wanted to return back to that sound that he created and made him the superstar that he is today.
Wiz starts the highly anticipated project with three melodic tracks in the form of “Amber Ice,” the previously leaked “California” and “Mia Wallace.” Produced by his go to producers/affiliates in I.D. Labs and Cardo, and Dumot, the first 10 or so minutes are laid back tracks that are easy on the ears. Most of the content in these tracks revolve around weed, money, traveling, coming up and his model wife.
Following these cuts is the Sparky Banks produced “Guilty Conscience.” This banger is reminiscent of the Cabin Fever sound, along with “Real Estate” and “Smokin On.” Personally, I really like hearing Wiz on hard beats. I think he really excels. In fact, he usually kills production similar to this, just listen to “Cabin Fever,” “WTF” and “Evrryday.” Although, this is a dope song, it sort of interupts the vibe of the mixtape. More laid back tracks follow in the previously released “Mary 3X,” where he displays his singing capabilities and “O.N.I.F.C,” which is the title of his upcoming album. The latter actually feels like it should be on the Kush & OJ mixtape. It would fit very well, which is no surpised as Cardo and Sledgren co-produced it. On “O.N.I.F.C,” he utilizes a slow flow, revealing a different rhyme pattern/scheme, which I’ve never heard him use before. Whether thats true or not, it works well with the production, resulting in a very good track.
First Guest Appearance…
Track seven gives us our first guest appearance on the project, none other than Chevy Woods. On “Nameless” over Dope Couture production, Chevy spits the first 16, further proving that Wiz isn’t the only talent in Taylor Gang. After a simple yet apporiate hook that features Wiz rhyming “Lifestyle of the rich and famous,” he drops a mean 16, talking more weed, money, fashion, and Amber. What else did you expect?
“Never Been Pt. 2”
Words can’t explain the follow up to “Never Been,” which was featured on Kush & OJ. “Never Been Pt. 2” is a classic track. Wiz’s flow is perfect. Rick Ross kills it as usual. Sledgren improves an already amazing beat, switching it up during the Bawse’s verse, similar to how the beat changes on Rozay’s “Maybach Music Group III.”. Overall, the track just has a crazy vibe to it. If you don’t believe me, just listen below![soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/39726933″ iframe=”true” /]
Big Jerm On The Beat…
Next up is “The Cruise.” Produced by Big Jerm, this seems to be the pop song of the project. I actually wanted to skip the track but for the sake of the review, I listened to it as much as I could. Basically, it features Wiz singing over a piano heavy beat. It sort of sounds like a Rolling Papers throwaway.
Jerm also has a hand in the next track, “Rowland.” Jet Life member Smoke DZA is featured and he doesn’t disappoint as he drops a solid verse stating “You know that Lo is the life that I’m living. Ralph Lauren always keep a nigga spendin’.” This track is one of the highlights of the mixtape. The rhymes are solid, the chorus is catchy and the production is on point! Too bad, this didn’t drop closer to the summertime because this is one of those that you listen to while you ride through your city with the windows down.
Juicy J Influenced?
At the end of the track, Wiz also provides some clarification on Juicy J being in the Gang, despite not being from Pittsburgh. He talks about the impact that Three 6 Mafia had on him and how Juicy has influenced him as an artist from songwriting to beat selection. Pretty cool, huh?
This flows perfectly into three Juicy J featured tracks in “My Favorite Song,” “T.A.P.” and “The Code.” I’m sure you have heard “My Favorite Song,” it was released about two weeks ago. Its a pretty solid track, featuring money laced lyrics by Wiz and igornant but lovable rhymes by the Bombay Gin drinker. “T.A.P” which stands for “Take A Plane” is my favorite cut out of all the tracks. Spaceghostpurrp, the producer of the hit “Pretty Flacko,” for A$AP Rocky, handles the production. Wiz delivers on his verse and hook while Juicy summarizies the whole Blue Dream & Lean mixtape in his 16. As Juicy would say, this track is trippy mane![soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/39777760″ iframe=”true” /]
Everybody Shines On “The Code…”
Super producer Lex Luger makes the beat for “The Code,” which seems to be a mini-theme song, as all Taylor Gang members including LoLa Monroe (who may be the next female star rapper) appear. Each member shines, dropping a few bars over the always attention grabbing Luger production.
More Of The Same…
The end of the project feature more tracks that are of similar fashion as the beginning of the project in “The Grinder,” “Brainstorm,” “Number 16,” and “Blindefolds.”
Wiz hooks up with producer Jake One on the hook-less “The Grinder.” He basically uses this track to display his rhyming abilites. On the other hand, “Brainstorm” and “Number” are typical Wiz songs, content and flow wise. Nothing too terrible but nothing too great.
Lastly, Wiz closes out Taylor Allderdice with “Blindfold,” which is produced by talented Brooklyn producer Harry Fraud, who has worked with the likes of French Montana, Jadakiss and Sean Price. In “Blindfolds,” Wiz and Juicy blend their unique styles over a spacious beat, creating a nice track.
Despite, Wiz pushing the release of the mixtape back a few hours and numerous issues actually downloading it due to high traffic volumes crashing servers, Taylor Allderdice was defintely worth the wait! I think it is a very good mixtape. In fact, it could have been an album due to overall sound.
Is It Kush & OJ Part 2?…
As I mentioned earlier, Wiz wanted to capture the Kush & OJ sound with this mixtape. Yes, at times it is reminscnent of the well-recieived mixtape but utlimately, it is no Kush & OJ. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. Face it, Kush & OJ is a classic. Not to say that this isn’t a classic or won’t be considered one down the line but clearly Kush & OJ was made at a time where Wiz was at his hungriest. With that mixtape, he really created his own kind of genre. That is why I think the project is so good. It’s so different from any other music that was out at the time. I honestly think it would be hard for him to create something else that could capture you from beginning to end like it did.
With that being said, I really do like Taylor Allderdice and plan on giving it a few more listens. Instead of being the next Kush & OJ, I think Taylor Allderdice is more of a project that symbolizes Wiz’s growth and diversity. This mixtape is an expansion of that genre he created. This really displays his overall talent, showing that he is more of an artist than a rapper. In fact, a skilled artist who is able to select the perfect beat, choose the right flow and utilize the approriate melody in nearly every song he creates. He really is the overall total package when it comes to music making and Taylor Allderdice functions as evidence.
Stream/Download: Wiz Khalifa – Taylor Allderdice
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