Many people would argue that Wiz Khalifa is currently one of the hardest working; most recognized artists in the rap and hip hop industry. Constantly working with other rappers and producers, being featured on seemingly hundreds of tracks, and creating chart topping albums like his first studio solo album Rolling Papers. He’s quickly made a recognizable name for himself in the ever-growing rap industry.
There is also no denying Snoop Dogg’s contribution to the rap industry. Originally gaining popularity in the 90s during the age of gangster rap, he quickly climbed to the top. Although his seemingly constant troubles with the law, he used these as publicity stunts, always keeping him in the mainstream of the industry. He’s frequently worked with other famous rappers, typically creating fairly notable and popular collaborative efforts.
Needless to say many were intrigued and excited when Wiz began working on a collaborative album with rap legend Snoop Dogg, titled Mac & Devin Go to High School. The album is actually a soundtrack for a straight to DVD film that was originally due out April 20th, but it was pushed back for undisclosed reasons. Featuring a collection of tracks that tell the story of two drug using high school students, it explores many of the activities that such characters would seem to experience in real life.
First of all it needs to be said that after listening to the album multiple times, this is neither of their best works, not even close. Many of the tracks like “Talent Show” and “It Could Be Easy” seem highly redundant. The constant drug references, although considering both artists’ claimed avid drug use, may seem catchy at first, but seem to mask a deeper lack of developed lyrics and redundant beats. With the exception of a few tracks, there is a serious lack in creativity and style in the whole album.
Wiz Khalifa & Snoop Dogg’s Young, Wild, And Free
After a deep analysis of the album I’ve come to the conclusion that it was designed to attract primarily listeners who were already fans of the artists, instead of attempting to widen their demographic. There is no real push of creativity, beats, or even much musical novelty besides a little on a couple of the tracks. Although the album peeked at 29 on the Billboard 200 list, and received somewhat mixed reviews with some praise, it just feels like it’s lacking so much substance and originality.
The strongest song on the album was actually a collaborative piece with recently popular artist Bruno Mars. It’s title “Young, Wild, and Free” relates directly to the teenage demographic that the song is aiming to appeal to. The instantly catchy chorus paired with a crisp beat and smooth rap verses makes this track an instant hit. The track was released back in September of 2011 as a single, which became quite popular in the mainstream, peeking at 10 on the US Billboard Hot Music Charts. When comparing this track to others on the album like “World Class” and “OG,” there’s no doubt why this was the only track on the album to really make it as a popular single off of the album.
The other single released to promote the album was “Smokin On,” a highly overused themed smoker’s ballad. This track didn’t get nearly the attention that “Young, Wild, and Free” received after release in September. This forgettable track doesn’t push any rap boundaries, but instead remains stagnant, never really dropping.
“I Get Lifted” is a prime example of a track that has smooth flowing verses by both Wiz and Snoop but a fairly generic beat and chorus. The groovy, overused, cliché RnB beat doesn’t take the track to the next level. Many tracks on the album suffer from these generic smooth RnB beats.
The constant drug references also bogs down the album as a whole. It takes away from everything else that normally would set both artists apart in both their style and originality.
The track “6:30” is a slower song, but it matches both Snoop’s and Khalifa’s smooth, flowing rap styles. Regardless of the hit and miss chorus and the underdeveloped beat, this is one of the stronger tracks on the album.
Despite the collaborative efforts of both highly regarded rap geniuses Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa, the album simply put falls flat. Instead of creating something twice as powerful as they could solo, they created an album that in my opinion doesn’t live up to their talents as artists. It was pretty disappointing to hear such a generic, failed attempt by such rap powerhouses.
Simply put, it leaves the listener wondering if there’s more. It feels as though an unidentifiable key element is completely missing from the album. Although it may satisfy die hard fans of both artists, other listeners will be left with a sense of emptiness and vacancy.
By: Denny Ganahl