The Wiz -Snoop comparisons have been making their way around canibus circles for a few years now. Since the Taylor Gang chief broke into the mainstream in 2010, fans have seen a connection: their long, gangly frames, happy go lucky demeanors, and, of course, a shared love for the sticky icky. It’s one thing to be classified as a “weed rapper,” but it’s another to become the marijuana icon that Snoop has. It’s daunting to envision anyone other than Uncle Snoopy as the quintessential weed ambassador, but eventually the time will come for the D-O Double G to pass the blunt, and when the smoke clears (please take note of continued weed puns), no young upstart seems more primed for the position than Wiz Khalifa. With a joint effort soundtrack, Mac and Devin Go to High School (Music From and Inspired by the Movie), the two MCs look to build momentum for their upcoming stoner comedy.
In terms of subject matter, there’s no surprises here, with the first three tracks consecutively titled “Smokin On,” “I Get Lifted” and “You Can Put It In A Zag, Imma Put It In A Blunt,” the first of which feature a memorable verse from Juicy J and marching band horns from Memphis producer Drumma Boy. On “You Can Put It in A Zag, Imma Put It In A Blunt,” the two rappers engage in a playful back and forth, each sharing their preferred method of enjoying their green leafy vice. Deducing from the good-natured lyrics and song title, it appears they’ve agreed to disagree on the matter for now.
The album’s single, “Young, Wild and Free,” will get it’s Top 40 spins while also shining a light on the direction of Wiz’s sound: Sing-songy records like this, “Talent Show,” and the funky, psychedelic “630” emphasize a focus on his skills as a hookmaster rather than a rapper. Khalifa’s never been known for pushing the envelope lyrically, but here, he seems even more disinterested. If his lyricism could be understood through imperfect statistical methods, the relationship between his commercial success and lyrical range would be classified as a negative correlation; as the former goes up, the latter has gone down.
Pairing up the elder statesman and the apparent heir to his throne for a project was a great idea. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to its potential, and the result is lackluster, with bland efforts both lyrically and production-wise. Perhaps the soundtrack will accompany the film in a more complimentary manner, but standing alone, it falls short of the capabilities of its protagonists. And if, even understood alongside the movie, it still can’t hold up, Snoop and Wiz will have to go back to the drawing board next time Mac and Devin go back to school. —NMB