With Wiz Khalifa’s much publicized recent arrest, (and subsequent jail selfie) in Texas this past month for marijuana possession, one can argue there wasn’t a more opportune time for him to drop his latest project, entitled 28 Grams. “For y’all who don’t know what 28 grams is… it’s an ounce. Of weed, preferably,” says Wiz unapologetically, at the end of “Aw Shit” or his first “gram,” letting people know early on what the overarching theme of this project will be.
28 Grams, on its surface, is a true 28-song mixtape; no skit tracks, which is a commendable feat nowadays since so many tapes double as “albums.” What makes this mixtape interesting though is its experimental nature. Wiz Khalifa’s alter-ego, “Trap Wiz”, takes us through a journey of THC laden raps about cars, money, and the conquests of being on top of the rap game, over mostly trap beats popularized by Atlanta producers. In doing so, the Pittsburgh native embraces a production style that is very in-the-moment, but it is also something we’ve seen him dabble with in his Cabin Fever series.
There are moments on the tape where Wiz sounds as if he’s been rapping on trap beats forever, the infectious jam “James Bong,” being one of the best examples of this. The issue that arises as one plays track after track on the nearly hour and a half mixtape, is that, after a while, each song begins to lose its distinctness, leading to a bit of listener fatigue. As a result of the trap-centric nature of the project, and the somewhat lack of variety as it pertains to subject matter on Wiz Khalifa’s account, what began as novelty at the beginning of the tape, may turn into a bit of a nuisance towards the end of the tape for the listener.
This is not to say that the mixtape doesn’t have its bright spots. Hearing Wiz rap on popular instrumentals such as “Up Down” (“Up Down”), “Cut Her Off” (“Get That Zip Off”), “Man of the Year” (“Mann”), just to name a few, and even taking it back with Missy Elliot’s “The Rain” (“The Rain”) is definitely a treat. Adding solid features such as 2014 XXL Freshman Ty Dolla $ign, Curren$y, Juicy J, and even Pimp C to the equation further solidify the tape.
After listening to 28 Grams, the term “quality over quantity” automatically comes to mind. It is extremely unrealistic to expect a project at this length from any artist to be filled with quality songs from top to bottom. There will inevitably be some “throwaway songs” in the mix. Though Wiz Khalifa must be commended for his clever “each song represents a gram” idea, that very idea may not connect with fans who just aren’t into weed culture. On top of that, too much of Wiz can be tiresome.
It is had to resist the thought that if only the song count were trimmed down a bit, to create a much more tight, concise, and focused project, maybe then the Taylor Gang leader could’ve delivered a couple dimes of that “loud,” as opposed to some less potent hitters.—Marvin Jules