First Impressions: Wiz Khalifa – It’s Only Weed Bro

Wiz Khalifa is a 32 year rapper who grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who has been making waves since releasing his debut album in 2006. Wiz started rapping early in life, deciding to take things more seriously when he was just 15 years old, regularly recording at I.D. Labs studio, whose management was so impressed by Wiz they let him record for free. In 2004 he contribute to a mixtape promoting local artists, which caught the attention of the president of Rostrum Records, leading to Wiz signing to the label shortly after. Wiz released his debut mixtape in 2005, and then followed that up with his debut album ‘Show And Prove’ In 2006. The album garnered some attention, with Wiz being declared ‘an artist to watch’ by Rolling Stone magazine, leading to him being signed by Warner Brothers in 2007.

2007 saw the release of another couple of mixtapes, ‘Grow Season’ & ‘Prince Of The City 2’ in July and November respectively. He followed these up with his ‘Star Power’ mixtape in 2008, and the ‘Flight School’ mixtape in 2009, before leaving Warner Brothers in July of that same year. After leaving Warner Brothers Wiz released a collaborative mixtape with New Orleans rapper Curren$y titled ‘How Fly’, before releasing the highly successful ‘Burn After Rolling’ mixtape in November. He closed out 2009 by releasing his second album ‘Deal Or No Deal’ at the tail end of November. In 2010 Wiz Khalifa was announced as one of the XXL Freshman alongside artists such as J. Cole and Freddie Gibbs, and was also announced as Source Magazines rookie of the year. In June of 2010 he released his most successful mixtape yet titled ‘Kush and Orange Juice’, which gained him a lot of buzz reaching number 1 in both the trending topics on Twitter and Googles hot search trends. In July Wiz announced he had signed to Atlantic Records, and then closed out 2010 with a range of big performances, big name features, a spot in a BET cypher, and by being named MTV’s hottest breakthrough artist of 2010 (beating out J. Cole & Nicki Minaj).

At the end of 2010 Wiz had his first smash hit ‘Black and Yellow’, which peaked at number 1, and built on this momentum by releasing his debut studio album ‘Rolling Papers’ In March of 2011. The album debuted at number 2, and lead to Wiz being nominated for and winning the Best New Artist award at the BET awards. In 2012 Wiz released his second studio album ‘O.N.I.F.C’ in April, also debuting at number 2 and building a lot of buzz for Wiz. 2013 saw the release of his second collaborative tape with Curren$y, and then in 2014 released his ‘Blacc Hollywood’, spearheaded by the single ‘We Dem Boyz’. In 2015 he came together Ty Dolla $ign for the release of a collaborative EP, and shortly after he came together with singer Charlie’s Puth for the release of his most successful single ever, ‘See You Again’. At the end of 2015 Wiz released his ‘Cabin Fever 3’ mixtape, and then in February of 2016 released his next album ‘Khalifa’. 2016 also saw the release of the ‘Rude Awakening’ album, a collaboration with Juicy J and Producer TM88, and then 2017 saw the release of another 3 solo mixtapes from Wiz. In 2018 Wiz released his ‘Rolling Papers 2’ mixtape, and then in 2019 he had 2 releases, a solo mixtape and a collaborative album with Curren$y titled ‘2009’.

And that brings us up to date! On 11th of February 2020 Wiz released his mixtape ‘It’s Only Weed Bro’ exclusively to DatPiff. The mixtape contains 7 songs and no features, and received next to no promotion in the lead up to release. Below I’ll be reviewing the album in 2 parts, first will be my informal and unedited track by track review, and following that will be my thoughts on the album as a whole. I’ll include some links to listen to the album and some discussion questions at the end. Enjoy!

Track By Track Review

1. Ain’t Shit Changed – Beat gives me these old school love song vibes, real nice bass. Chill flows from Wiz, nothing too exciting. Rhymes and bars are decent. Not a bad song, but not too memorable

2. Vanity Fair – Haunting Vibe to this beat, has this eerie piano and synths, laid back boom bap drums. More exciting flows and delivery from Wiz on this, actually sounds amazing flowing over this beat. Repetitive hook but it sounds amazing and is real catchy. Real enjoyable little song

3. Use Your Manners – Real old school reminiscent vibes again, kinda like a love song kinda like early Kanye. Love the little vocal sample. Wiz has some enjoyable flows again, real good rhyme schemes too. Some quality bars. Hook is a sample and is okay but nothing too special. Second verse is pretty mediocre to begin with, but wiz changes up his flow halfway through and the second half is much more exciting. Song had some great parts but felt a bit lacking overall

4. Big Shadow – Real majestic instrumental on this one, sounds like some 90s pop, real old school drums and synths. Wiz flows quite well again. Some more real enjoyable bars and rhymes throughout; rides the beat amazingly too. Hook is okay but not too special, might grow on me. On the fence about this one

5. Marks Basement – Slow flow from Wiz is a little boring, some okay bars but no standouts. Doesn’t change up the flows or deliveries too much on this one. Beat is real pleasant, has this funky little synth melody, this real nice electric guitar like melody, and this great sample which is used sparingly. Whole song flows well but is kinda boring too, average song

6. Smokin’ Section – More old school vibes with the boom bappy drums and calming piano melody, sounds like something Statik Selektah would make. Wiz has a fairly high energy flow which contrasts the chill beat well. Even more solid rhymes schemes and bars all through this, and Wiz delivers it all amazingly. This feels like an early Joey Badass song. Short, sweet, and enjoyable song

7. Easy Access – Quite minimalistic production on this, just a low tempo drum beat and a subtle bass melody. Wiz has a decent flow again, and the bars aren’t too bad, but all feels kinda mid over the basic beat. Hook is quite catchy. Decent song but felt lacking

Album Review

Overall I felt like this album was quite an enjoyable listen, and a great addition to Wiz Khalifa’s catalog. It’s short, sweet, and nostalgic, with a ~15 minute run time and production that’s reminiscent of old school hip hop, using samples and simple drum beats to set this laid back vibe throughout the tape.

Going into this Tape I was quite hesitant, not only because Wiz has been fairly inconsistent throughout the years, but the lack of features and DatPiff exclusivity made me fear that these were just throwaways. Fortunately I was pleasant surprised with the quality and consistency of this project, with the whole thing suiting that ‘smoking music’ vibe, all whilst being enjoyable for the short duration of the tape. I didn’t really find anything bad or unenjoyable throughout the tape, with my only real problem being that Wiz’s flow and delivery was a little average at times, which was made obvious when comparing to the more exciting songs on the tape. His flows in particular on ‘Vanity Fair’ and ‘Smokin’ Section’ were amazing, with him bringing an exciting high energy flow to the somewhat mellow instrumentals. Wiz also delivered a couple of super catchy little hooks, most notably on the previously mentioned ‘Vanity Fair’ and also ‘Easy Access’. And possibly my favourite part of the album was the consistently calming and nostalgic production throughout the tape, from the vocal sample on ‘Use Your Manners’ to the beautiful piano melody on ‘Smokin’ Section’, everything is just well crafted and meshes together perfectly.

So in summary this was an above average little project that was an absolute breeze to listen to, and probably one of the first I would recommend to someone wanting to get into Wiz through his recent output. At just 7 songs and 15 minutes Wiz didn’t have a whole lot of room to shine, and yet he showcased lots of talent and delivered a number of enjoyable performances with the time he had. If you’ve ever been a Wiz fan then give this a spin, and if you’re interested in checking him out and have a few minutes spare, then give this a go!

Final Notes

You can check out the mixtape on Datpiff here, or on YouTube here!

‘Smokin’ Section’ Music Video

My Favourite Songs were Vanity Fair & Smokin’ Section.

What were your favourite songs from ‘Its Only Weed Bro’?

How do you think this mixtape compares to past Wiz mixtapes?

Thanks For Reading!

– Shan –

One thought on “First Impressions: Wiz Khalifa – It’s Only Weed Bro

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