Since receiving unanimous acclaim for his Kush & Orange Juice mixtape in 2009, Wiz Khalifa has quickly gone from underground notoriety to mainstream recognition. This first major label album (though officially his third overall) marks his grand entrance to the growing Top 40 pop/hip-hop genre. His breakout hit, “Black and Yellow,” and other strong singles, including “On My Level,” “Roll Up,” and “No Sleep,” are party anthems of surprising simplicity. The hooks and melodies use a unique mixture of half-rapping and half-singing with lyrical shallowness that’s consistent with any other mainstream, weekend-friendly track. We’ve heard it all before: a rapper blows his cash, drinks his champagne, smokes more than Cheech and Chong, and knows your girl better than you do. Yet his attitude is friendly and his delivery harmless. Perhaps those are the only two qualities that spare him from some otherwise deserved comparisons to Soulja Boy.
As catchy as all the songs are, they’re disposable insofar as any one of them could have been scrapped from the project without affecting the overall feel of album. Rapping deep just isn’t Wiz’s style, and he might not even be capable of doing it convincingly if he tried. For Wiz, rapping in platitudes sounds much more sincere than attempting to be deep. Rolling Papers is a catchy pop album, but that’s about it.