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.


So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.