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During this year’s NFL playoffs [lastfm]Wiz Khalifa[/lastfm]’s hometown jam for Pittsburgh, “Black and Yellow,” became something of an unofficial anthem for the Pittsburgh Steelers as they made their way to the Superbowl.
The Steelers unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you feel about the Green Bay Packers) lost, but the exposure the song received from their deep playoff run vaulted [lastfm]Wiz Khalifa[/lastfm] into the national spotlight.
In fact, the song was so successful that in anticipation of the game [lastfm]Lil Wayne[/lastfm] created an alternate version for the Packers called “Green and Yellow“! Now, two months later, Khalifa has released a full album called Rolling Papers, and though people looking for an entire tracklist of Black and Yellow’s might be disappointed, it definitely delivers on what longtime fans would hope for.
Previous to Rolling Papers, [lastfm]Wiz Khalifa[/lastfm] had established a reputation based upon some strong mixtape releases – his latest entitled Kush and OJ – put him on people’s “to watch” list. Khalifa put out his first mixtape Prince of the City: Welcome to Pistolvania when he was a senior in highschool.
By hanging around his local recording studio as much as he could, the young [lastfm]Wiz Khalifa[/lastfm] was able to impress the producers enough to get access to new beats and free studio time. Following Prince of the City, Khalifa independently released his first LP, Show and Prove and was soon being courted by major labels.
With these mixtapes he established his signature laid-back, stoner vibe and a strong local fan base to go along with it. [lastfm]Wiz Khalifa[/lastfm] exells when he’s given a smooth, lush beat to ride. His lyrics aren’t exactly groundbreaking, but he’s got some good lines for sure (“Ain’t no love lost/ but there wasn’t no love shown/ so now when n*ggas call I just don’t pick up the phone”). On top of that, he knows how to deliver a good hook.
Rolling Papers doesn’t stray too far from his formula, but highlight tracks like “The Race,” “On My Level” and “Roll Up” nail it. [lastfm]Wiz Khalifa[/lastfm] is successfully establishing himself in the game with the breakthrough success of this album, but, more importantly, he’s giving his hometown – the blue-collar Pittsburgh, PA – a sound of its own. Drawing from [lastfm]Jay-Z[/lastfm] on the East Coat, [lastfm]Curren$y[/lastfm] down Southern and the Mid-Western [lastfm]Bone Thugs-N-Harmony[/lastfm], Khalifa has put ol’ “Black and Yellow” on the map.
Be sure to check out the hot video for single “Roll Up”: