It’s quite apparent to everybody who’s a fan of Hip-Hop and that owns a computer that Wiz Khalifa is easily at the top of 2011′s Hip-Hop artist to watch list. Coming off of a blockbuster year where he toured throughout the majority of it and sold out every single show, dropped a classic mixtape (Kush & OJ) and brought a sense of fun, laughter and lightheartedness to the ever-serious Hip-Hop world, the question is now…Will Wiz Khalifa’s first “official” album live up to the hype?
It’s a tough situation to be in (despite all the fame and money). The debut LP will either cement Khalifa as an artist that’s here to stay or an artist that folded under the pressures of celebrity and everything that comes with it. Let’s be honest here. In the extremely fast-paced world of the Internet where this post will be considered “old” 5 minutes after it’s published, Khalifa’s been relatively quiet as far as new releases go. No…I didn’t forget. It’s obvious that Black And Yellow is an extremely big single for Hip-Hop radio and for Wiz but that’s not what fans are eagerly anticipating.
To ride the coat tails of the single as long as Wiz has isn’t a good sign. Sure, there’s been at least five other new songs released since Black And Yellow began to have an impact but what were there impact? In My Car (w/ Juicy J), That Good (w/ Snoop Dogg) and a couple more I’m forgetting leave a lot to be desired. The one thing they mostly do is lack a sound for an album. It’s a bunch of randoms…that aren’t that good.
What Kush & OJ had that a lot of mixtapes (and albums) lack is cohesion. Quite an overused term (especially since the release of Kanye’s last album), it’s really the best way to describe the way Wiz’s mixtape was crafted. Each song led into another and flowed effortlessly.
It’s tough to say exactly what Wiz Khalifa will have to do to create that Classic, 5-mic debut album that every artist yearns for, but below are a few suggestions.
1. Stick to the original formula. It’s obvious to everybody why Kush & OJ worked. Stoner songs, fun songs, excellent production and a sense of fun & newness to the music.
2. Limited collaborations. Stick with family. Killa Kyleon, Curren$y, K.R.I.T. and the likes. What will collaborating with Juicy J and Snoop Dogg bring to the album that will make it better than a Curren$y or K.R.I.T. feature? Besides star-power. That’s not necessary at this stage in the game. We know who you are. The fanbase is extremely big. Make sure the right artists are used for the right purpose and don’t fall the curse of adding everybody with a big name for that recognition. It’s 2011, not 1998.
3. Production. Again, the big names didn’t make the sound that worked so well for Khalifa. Just Blaze, Kanye, Bangladesh, yadda yadda….forget about it. There’s a good team that knows what sound works for Wiz (or his personal ear for beats) and that’s what we want.
4. The biggest comparison from the debut LP will obviously be to Kush & OJ. What the good songs on Drake’s, Thank Me Later, did right in comparison to So Far Gone was keeping the perfect balance. Knowing the sound that worked on the mixtape and adding 40′s innovative production style and introspective lyrics worked. The stuff that turned it from a great to a good album was changing the appeal of the album. That same can happen to Khalifa. The mainstream is there but what will making that “mainstream sound” really benefit (well, I guess the pockets…I’m speaking integrity wise)?
5. Don’t try to put your other MC people on. Simple as that. Bravehearts anyone?
It’s going to be interesting to see which way the label and Khalifa take his debut LP. Though I may come across somewhat harsh, I’m truly rooting for dude. I want that classic LP. Want that summer-feeling when I press play like I got from Kush & OJ.
What would you suggest Khalifa focus on? How can he truly make 2011 HIS year and drop that album of the year? Is it even possible in your opinion to overcome the monster that Kush & OJ may be for Wiz? Let us know what you’re thinking.