PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Wiz Khalifa: Blacc Hollywood

Blacc Hollywood is content to stay on the same eternally-stoned playing field as past Wiz Khalifa efforts.

Wiz Khalifa

Blacc Hollywood

Label: Atlantic / Rostrum
US Release Date: 2014-08-19
UK Release Date: 2014-08-18

When we first met Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa, he was the young de facto general of the Taylor Gang, a musical collective that rose out of his home city. He still holds this enviable position (though the Gang has changed), but his career has constantly been in flux since his come-up. Pop-rap blockbuster, “Black and Yellow”, from his 2011 major label debut, Rolling Papers, made certain that there was no regressing to his low-key mixtape and independent roots. An arena-sized anthem (that was eventually remixed as an unofficial song for the Super Bowl) has a funny way of doing that. But Khalifa couldn’t be more content with the way his career is unfolding. And why shouldn’t he be happy? His net worth has skyrocketed, he wed a supermodel (with whom he now has a child), and now he can smoke all the weed in the world. And, for a monster stoner like Wiz who’s never been shy about his chronic habit, that might be the most important aspect of this fame game.

Part of Blacc Hollywood is a massive feat. The fact that Khalifa can still come up with so many various ways to talk about his weed (after four previous albums and innumerable mixtapes) is impressive even though he’s starting to re-use quips. “I blow it by the O,” he raps on “So High”, a tired line that he’s recycling here from past tracks. When Khalifa’s not bragging about the pounds he inhales, he boast about his wealth, his cars, or how much he can drink (consider Wiz a tank when it comes to that).

Wiz isn’t a gifted lyricist at this point and he utilizes a limited lexicon here, but he still has an ear for catchy melodies. His singing voice has never been anything to write home about either (at least until the auto-tune rescues him), but bangers “Staying Out All Night” and “So High” still flourish despite his blatant weaknesses. Sizzling trap beats are frequently Khalifa’s saving graces especially on the insipid choruses of “Ass Drop” and “The Sleaze”. Where Big Sean’s “A$$”, was a similarly childish ode to a woman’s curves, at least he was clever (and witty) with his wordplay. Khalifa is often too blunt(ed) for his own good to come up with any real punchlines or “did you catch that?” moments.

There are two ways to look at Blacc Hollywood. If you’re in it for the live-it-up-till-morning jams (and they are entertaining), then you’re going to be spinning this record at plenty of house parties. But artistically speaking, the album isn’t a progression of the rapper’s career; it’s content to stay on the same eternally- stoned playing field as 2012’s O.N.I.F.C.. Sure, Wiz is singing here more than ever, but that was (and never will be) his forte. Moving forward, it seems unlikely that Khalifa will hang up his stoner persona even though it’s become such an exhausted routine for him; after all, it’s half of what made him a star in the first place. And who cares? When Wiz is having fun, we’re having fun. Maybe next time amidst all the partying he’ll make us think a little bit more. Where there’s a Wiz, there’s a way.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.


The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.