Wiz Khalifa gets “Cabin Fever”
Pittsburgh’s Wiz Khalifa has reportedly finished recording his debut album, “Rolling Papers,” due on Atlantic Records March 29, but the “Black and Yellow” rapper could not wait until next month to release new material. On Feb. 18, Khalifa unexpectedly released a new mixtape, “Cabin Fever,” for free via Rap-up.com.
The 9-track mixtape beings with “Phone Numbers,” where Khalifa reminds his listeners that he has reached superstar status (at least financially), quipping, “When I get paid my checks be looking like phone numbers… / Time is money so I went and bought a Rolex.” A chipmunk-sounding sample accompanies piano keys and drum beats on the relatively straightforward but catchy instrumental, contrasting effectively with the languid flows of Khalifa and guest-rappers Trae the Truth and Big Sean.
Big Sean is also featured on the more ominous “GangBang,” again proving why he received so much hype after Kanye West’s “G.O.O.D. Fridays” releases. Sean seems destined to follow Khalifa’s quick rise to fame; his nasally vocals, reminiscent of Drake, and witty (but often explicit) lyrics make him extremely marketable. Keep an ear out for him; he stole the show on both West and Khalifa’s b-sides and is now seemingly one big single away from reaching the mainstream.
After Big Sean caps off the first third of “Cabin Fever,” the middle of the mixtape lags. “Errday” cannot distinguish itself sonically from “GangBang,” while the repetition of “Taylor Gang” becomes an irritation quickly. “Hustlin” sounds like Eminem sings on the chorus (which is never good) and relies too heavily on synthesizers, again failing to differentiate between the album’s other darker tracks.
Although he should continue to push himself musically, Khalifa currently seems best slated for poppy beats. Much like the megahit “Black and Yellow” and earlier tracks like “We’re Done,” from the 2010 “Kush and OJ” mixtape, “Middle of You” offers an instant hook to juxtapose with Khalifa’s unorthodox vocals–a much needed change from the mixtape’s darker beats.
While certainly not up to par with “Kush and OJ,” “Cabin Fever” shows some glimpses of brilliance. Fans can only wait, perhaps now nervously, to see what Khalifa has in store next month on “Rolling Papers.”
Kevin Stevens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org