Taylor Gang Records founder Wiz Khalifa's fifth solo LP, Blacc Hollywood, sees Wiz basically sticking to his guns. He has strayed from the path to strict "rapperdom," choosing instead to sing as well as emcee whenever he sees fit, and actually, the resultant combination works out for him. The variety accentuates his strengths and displays his individuality. Wiz is just in time for this era's rise of the multitalented hip hop artist, and it's not just for show. While there are plenty of "party" songs on the album, there are also some deeper ones too. The opener "Hope" starts with a speech about the distinction of greatness and the inevitably of success in certain individuals. It then discusses financial status as a contributor to romantic success. Wiz Khalifa's belief in hard work comes out in "House In The Hills," "No Gain," and "Stayin' Out All Night," with the last of which sounding like it could be a sequel to ONIFC's "Work Hard Play Hard." Other than those songs, get ready for plenty of weed, women and wingdings. Wiz can still make the most common hip hop themes sound good, mainly because he almost always comes original in his approach. Look out for the best and brightest Taylor Gang talents as guests, including rising stars Chevy Woods and Ty Dolla $ign and even seasoned vets Juicy J and Project Pat. Even Nicki Minaj joins Wiz for "True Colors," a track that might seem like their own version of "No New Friends." Blacc Hollywood is really an affirmation of the evolution of Wiz Khalifa's style. For good reason, he refuses to be pigeonholed exclusively as a rapping rapper, instead opting for a more comfortable, more maneuverable mixture of both rapping and singing. It is this defiance to categorization, that he expresses in both his lyrics and delivery, that really makes Blacc Hollywood a special album.
August 19, 2014