2011 was a big year for the Taylor Gang captain, Wiz Khalifa, as he released his major label debut, Rolling Papers, started dating the Pam Anderson of Hip Hop, Amber Rose, made additions to his brand in the form of Juicy J and Lola Monroe and released a buddy-stoner album with fellow cheeba chief Snopp Dogg. Now, as the first third of the year has passed by, 2012 promises to be just as big, if not bigger, for Young Khalifa Man. It all starts with the new mixtape, Taylor Allderdice, named after his former high school.

With an initial negative response from the fans after the release of Rolling Papers, Wiz promised to return to the Kush & OJ style that brought him to the spotlight, and with Taylor Allderdice he did just that, giving his long time  fans what they have been waiting for.

Production: 4.5

The production is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Taylor Gang crew. Laid back, smooth beats that can give the listener a contact high from the weed Wiz was undoubtedly smoking while recording (i.e. Dumont prod “Mia Wallace” and Cardo prod “Brainstorm”), and faster paced bangers, perfect to play in the whip with the windows/top down (i.e. Spaceghostpurp prod “T.A.P.” and Lex Luger’s “The Code”). With help from long time friends Big Jerm, Sledgren and ID Labs, and big names such as Jake One, the production on Allderdice is exceptional, sounding Taylor made to Wiz’s sound/style.

Lyrics: 3.5

Just as we have come to expect chill songs from the Pittsburgh native, his fans have also come to accept his less than mind-blowing lyrics. That is not to say Wiz is a not a talented MC. Tracks such as “The Code” featuring the Taylor crew Juicy J, Lola Monroe and Chevy Woods and “Guilty Conscience” see Wiz picking up the pace of his flow and in a few instances I found myself thinking “Damn, Wiz went in on that one.” It is clear through the content of the mixtape Wiz believes, rightfully so, that he has made it and is living the dream. No longer is he a young guy on a come up, but a household name.

Songs/Content: 3.5

Songs such as “Nameless” ft. Chevy Woods, “Blindfolds” and “My Favorite Song” (the latter two ft. Juicy J) display the transformation from underground pothead to superstar stoner. Cameron adds a personal touch to the mixtape by having host Rob Holladay interview him with excerpts of the interview being played at the beginning or ending of each track (discussing topics such as how he’d do Rolling Papers differently, his #11 spot on the Forbes rapper list, finding resolution with haters/critics).

Wiz has found his niche and is smart enough to stick to it, weed, champagne and livin large is the topic in just about every track, however “Number 16″ pretty much sums up the theme of the tape; a response to the critics, doubters and naysayers. Wiz wanted to prove his major label debut was just a fluke and he succeeded exceptionally.

Standout Tracks: “Number 16″, “The Cruise”, “T.A.P.”, “O.N.I.F.C.”, “California”

Overall: 3.8/5

This tape was a sort of fork in the road for Khalifa. Would Rolling Papers determine his career going forward or would he go back to what made people like me fans? Thankfully, he went the route of the latter and delivered what I consider to be one of his best projects. Many people said Wiz would be a one hit wonder and would fade into obscurity, but the Stoner of the Year has made the right moves and connections to ensure a long and successful career.


Download: Wiz Khalifa – Taylor Allerdice