The new Wiz Khalifa mixtape Laugh Now, Fly Later dropped last week and was highlighted as part of Go 95.3’s New Music Friday. Every Monday, we follow up with some critical thoughts.
The hosts listened over the weekend, and the verdict’s in. All reviews are on a 1-5 scale.
= a few thrills
= above average
= one of the year’s best
= lit today, and forever
DJ Bonics – It’s a different experience for me to listen to Wiz cause I actually have lived a lot of what he’s talking about with him. When he speaks on the come up, I’ve seen it. When he says he smokes anywhere he wants, I’ve been there. That being said, when a Wiz song or project drops, I have a very emotional tie with it because I want him to win. This is the project Wiz fans have been waiting for. There are a lot of Kush and OJ comparisons to this tape, which was some would say was his best tape of all time, and they aren’t wrong.
But what perhaps sticks out to me here in this project is Wiz is establishing that none of the new “hype machine rappers” are in the same conversation. He’s been doing it, he’s doing it now, and will always be doing it whether it’s music or just money moves. The track “Long Way To Go,” produced by longtime friend of Wiz, Sledgren from Glitch Realm, perhaps the sums up the whole project. Over all this is a great project to hold us over while we are waiting for him to drop Rolling Papers 2 which he says here will be “worth the wait.”
Mr. Peter Parker – Wiz Khalifa‘s new mixtape Laugh now, Fly Later is exactly what I’ve been waiting for from the Taylor Gang general for a long time. Over the last 10 years Wiz Khalifa’s superstar pot head persona at times has overshadowed his music, not in a bad way, but overshadowed none the less. One of the most lovable characters in hip-hop history took us back on this one to why a lot of us became real fans in the first place, that Kush and OJ sound. Don’t get me wrong Laugh now, Fly Later isn’t a throwback, but a 2017 upgraded evolution of an already very successful format. The stand out songs for me were “Royal Highness” with Casey Veggies (oddly the only feature on this project), “No Dirt” and “A Long Way to Go.” Overall though, the sound of the production, Wiz’s attitude and the vibes on this project are a win across the board for me. The production is impeccable, very funky and very musical. I’m excited to hear Wiz back in this space creatively.
Auggie 5000 – Sonically, this album is pretty amazing. Sledgren was really the MVP of this with the crispy drums and soulful bassline of “Long Way To Go,” a highlight for me. Wiz was talking about being on top of the game and taunting young artists that might be hating on his success. He shines light on these successes throughout the album, which I found empowering. But, it started to come off as a 10 song advertisement for his designer brand of medicinals. I don’t partake so I can’t really relate.
Subject matter and musicality aside, I found myself bored as I got towards the end of the album. Wiz’ flow just doesn’t do it for me anymore. It’s a very simple ABC flow that doesn’t change at all; although he delivers it well and I guess you don’t fix what isn’t broken, right? I found myself really digging most of the songs.
Sophia Eris – As the first full listen I’ve ever done of a Wiz Khalifa project, I would say I was perfectly whelmed. It was sonically well done. The hooks were great, and the lyrics and delivery were simple and meaningful. All in all, I feel it was an album for those that were already hooked, but it may not be the one I that would use to convert. An MC may not be as inspired as a producer on this one, but if I were to take a puff of his product, which is heavily promoted on this project, I may feel differently.
Chaz Kangas – Wiz Khalifa is a fashionable personality, an emotive live show and an icon of marijuana use. These three pillars make up the foundations of his music, and Laugh Now, Fly Later in particular seems built on the promotion of these three aspects. Production wise, it’s one of his most consistent projects, with beats that vary from an uproarious festival jam to ideal background smoking music. But I found the most enjoyable aspect to be Wiz really flexing his deep arsenal of flows. While his vocals don’t tonally vary all that much, the rapidfire staccato flow of “Letterman” and his dedication to that rhyme scheme is indicative of how Wiz really seems tapped into what he can do with his sound. Nothing here feels mailed in, as many of Wiz’s stoner rap contemporaries seem to let haphazardly slide given the subject matter. It’s refined, reinvigorated and has me ready for Rolling Papers 2.