#25. Wiz Khalifa, Rolling Papers
Released: March 29
Sorry, haters. Contrary to everything you've heard on the Internet, Rolling Papers was actually a very good album. The rap community's reaction to Wiz Khalifa's pop-slanting, Top 40-ready major label debut was volatile, but did you really expect to hear Kush & Orange Juice all over again? As Jay so eloquently put it: "Want my old shit? Buy my old album." If you wanted a more hardcore Wiz, just peep the Cabin Fever mixtape he released the month prior—nine tracks of street-oriented, Lex Luger'd out, rap madness.
On his official album, Wiz might have been overtly chasing mainstream success but that didn't bother us. Whatever he may lack as a rapper (let's face it—Wiz will probably never make anybody's greatest MCs list) he more than makes up for as a songwriter and melody maker.
"Hopes and Dreams" is as good of a strip club anthem as anything Waka Flocka's ever done. "Fly Solo" was so daring and well-executed it probably could have gotten play on country stations. And if you're truly too hardcore to swing that way (and we know most of you aren't—despite what you say), then "On My Level," "The Race," and "Rooftops" are for you.
Plus, the production on the album is so cohesive that the whole LP can stay on repeat. Rolling Papers was better than folks gave it credit for. We suggest you revisit it without delay.