“Blacc Hollywood” is not for the casual listener.
Did that catch your attention? I’d like to start out by saying I listen to music and I listen to a lot of it. I have never been a fan of rap or hip-hop. However, I have a major respect for the art and a guilty pleasure for Wiz Khalifa.
I have in my possession 11 Wiz Khalifa mixtapes and have listened to a good portion of the five studio albums already released.
The album, “Blacc Hollywood,” released Tuesday, is geared toward people like me. “Blacc Hollywood” features members of Taylor Gang throwing out its usual party anthems layered between some questionable tracks that the casual listener would discard as slow or just strange.
After reading multiple reviews I have found casual listeners hear a distinct lack of flow in “Blacc Hollywood.”
However, for me, “Blacc Hollywood” is the anthem of the Taylor Gang lifestyle. You don’t have to support or even understand it, but something about the album just allows you to listen to what Khalifa, as an artist, has to say.
Track No. 1 “Hope” begins with a spoken word by Chevy Woods. The introductions to all Khalifa albums are a sign for what to expect through the album and the surprising reality of Woods’ words foreshadows the theme of the album.
Track No. 2 is “We Dem Boyz,” which was released as a single in February. The track has a great beat and it definitely showcases the rowdy side of Taylor Gang, but track No. 3 takes a sharp dive into a serious love song, “Promises.” The Pittsburgh rapper croons “let’s get caught in the moment,” causing me to forget about the previous rowdiness of “We Dem Boyz,” and enjoy the track.
Following the intimate song “Promises,” Khalifa transitions into the next single from the album “KK.” This song has an awesome beat and is one of the songs I consider as a party song that the casual listener could enjoy. But track No. 5 “House in the Hills” featuring another prominent member of Taylor Gang, Curren$y, hit a soft spot for me. The last line of the first verse draws your attention as Khalifa tells you a little bit about his life growing up in Pittsburgh and how his story should be used to motivate people. After all, Khalifa is “25 and not dead.”
Though that may seem like a strange message, the chorus states “when you work hard to get it that’s how you feel.” Now, I didn’t grow up in Pittsburgh and have no way of relating to his situation, but listening to this song, I am glad to give this artist my money.
The track that follows the emotional “House in the Hills” is one Khalifa released specifically for females to use in Vine videos. The song is called “Ass Drop,” and the beat is intoxicating.
The rest of the album follows the same up and down emotional roller coaster from fun to more serious.
Though track No. 7, “Raw,” has a hard beat, it transitions into “Stayin’ Out All Night,” where Wiz says “I’mma leave all my problems out on the floor / I’mma drink so much that I can’t make it home / So would you take me home?” The soft beat is nothing like you would expect but is reminiscent of Khalifa’s hit “Young, Wild and Free.”
“So High” and “Still Down” are the next two tracks, ironically. Another hint that Khalifa is fully aware of is the “lack of flow.”
“True Colors” is the final track of the album (unless you purchase the deluxe edition, of course) and features Nicki Minaj. While it is not my favorite on the album, I would not be surprised if it becomes one of the most popular. The song basically is an anthem where Wiz talks about “doing him.” No matter what other people have to say about the artist, he simply makes his music to make music, not to please others. As a music lover, I have mad respect for that.
Though the album may not be for the casual listener, it is a gem. It gives you a peek inside the life of an artist and his time spent making his way to the top. “Blacc Hollywood” may not be your lifestyle,but it is worth a listen.
Story by Hunter Harrell, Features Editor