Review Summary: "Heavy in the game little homie, I'm doing big things"
At the turn of the decade Wiz Khalifa was undeniably a juggernaut of hip hop. Laidback beats, smooth delivery, and simple “pussy, money, weed” subject matter combined with clever wordplay defined Wiz’s music and kept him in the limelight. Kush & Orange Juice
is undeniably the best project that Wiz has ever delivered and it’s in no small part due to the outstanding production crew that he assembled for this mixtape.
Leaving behind the spaced out beats of his past projects Wiz jumped onto sample heavy beats that merged West Coast and Southern hip hop together, as if Snoop Dogg and Outkast had a love child. Beats like “Mezmorized,” “Spotlight,” “Never Been,” and “In the Cut” are some of the best instrumentals I have ever heard in my life and Wiz does them all justice. His beats may be relaxed but Wiz always sounds hungry and passionate about what he’s doing. While never reaching for the absolute energy that was on Prince of the City 2
you really aren't looking for any bangers like that due to the nature of the instrumentals.
While his subject matter doesn't stray from what he’s familiar with it’s that sense of familiarity that actually helps his lyricism excel. When you’re only have so many stories to tell you have to learn how to tell it in different and more exciting ways. But beyond that, he’s just plain catchy. He has the perfect sing-songy delivery of his hooks, something akin to J. Cole’s singing on 2014 Forest Hills Drive
but stoned out of his mind. “In the Cut” is hands down the catchiest hook on the album and one that will absolutely never leave your mind once you’ve heard it.
There are a couple duds, such as “We’re Done” which horrifyingly samples Demi Lovato and is made all the worse by appearing right after “Mezmorized” which is arguably the best beat that Wiz has ever rapped over. That said, this is a stoner album and if you’re blazed as hell then that kind of beat can actually be pretty funny to listen to. If you’re sober you’ll have less luck enjoying them.
A special mention must be given to one of the last tracks, “Glass House” which is produced by and features Big K.R.I.T.. Barking out the hook and murdering his verse K.R.I.T. sounds mad as hell and bodies both Wiz and Curren$y. It’s a perfect contrast to the rest of an otherwise easygoing album.
Even with Wiz’s massive discography I find it incredibly easy to list this as his magnum opus. After the failure of Blacc Hollywood
and the lack of any really interesting projects between then and Kush & Orance Juice
it’s safe to say that Wiz’s days are long gone as a respected spitter. He may be relegated to radio singles and TMZ drama these days but we can always look back fondly on a time when he was a dominant, rising star of the new school.