Rolling Papers (album)

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This article is about the album by Wiz Khalifa. For the mixtape by Domo Genesis, see Rolling Papers (mixtape).
Rolling Papers
Studio album by Wiz Khalifa
Released March 29, 2011 (2011-03-29)
Recorded 2009–11
Downtown Recording Studios
Lotzah Matzah Studios
Roc The Mic Studios
(New York, New York)
I.D. Labs
(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
The Treehouse
(Los Angeles, California)
Circle House Recording Studios
(Miami, Florida)
Genre Pop rap[1]
Length 57:51
Label Rostrum, Atlantic
Producer
Wiz Khalifa chronology
Deal or No Deal
(2009)
Rolling Papers
(2011)
Mac & Devin Go to High School
(2011)
Singles from Rolling Papers
  1. "Black and Yellow"
    Released: September 14, 2010
  2. "Roll Up"
    Released: February 3, 2011
  3. "On My Level"
    Released: May 28, 2011
  4. "No Sleep"
    Released: March 22, 2011

Rolling Papers is the third studio album by American rapper Wiz Khalifa. It was released on March 29, 2011, by Atlantic Records, and Rostrum Records. The album features guest appearances from Too $hort, Curren$y, and Chevy Woods. It contains the singles "Black and Yellow", "Roll Up", The Race, "On My Level", and "No Sleep". The album has been noted by music writers for having a pop rap style.

Rolling Papers debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 197,000 copies in the United States.[2] It has been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, having shipped 500,000 copies in the US.[3] Upon its release, the album received generally mixed reviews from music critics, who complimented its hooks, but criticized its subject matter.

Background[edit]

Following the release of his independent second album, Deal Or No Deal, Khalifa released his mixtape Kush & Orange Juice, which immediately became widely praised as one of the best hip hop mixtapes of 2010.[4][5] After generating buzz from the mixtape, Khalifa not only won MTV's "Hottest Breakthrough Hip Hop Artist of 2010" award,[6] but he also became the center of a bidding war between various labels, including Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group label.[7] He also came to the attention of fellow rapper Drake, who offered him the chance to co-headline his album tour.[8] After declining both rapper's offers,[9][10] he announced that he was signing with Atlantic Records live on July 30 on MTV's "RapFix 34 Live," and confirmed that he had begun work on his debut on the label.[11] His first official single, "Black and Yellow", produced by Stargate,[12] became one of the highest selling hip hop singles of 2010, eventually selling over two million digital downloads.[13]

Title significance[edit]

On January 26, 2011, Wiz announced the album's title and release date via Ustream.tv. According to Wiz, there are three different meanings behind the Rolling Papers title.

Guests[edit]

Khalifa had confirmed that rappers; Curren$y, Rick Ross, Too $hort, and Snoop Dogg would appear on the album in late January, 2011.[15][16] In 2010, Khalifa had also toured and been in the studio with fellow rapper Yelawolf making their appearance on the album a possibility.[17] He also confirmed via Twitter, that he had been in the studio and finished two tracks with rapper, Game, one of which will appear on Khalifa's album.[18][19] Fellow Pittsburgh and Rostrum Records labelmate rapper, Mac Miller, has also confirmed working with Wiz for the album in the studio.[20] Upon the album's release, the only guest appearances on the album were from Too $hort, Curren$y and Chevy Woods.[21] He also expressed a desire to get "veteran rappers" featured on the album such as 8Ball & MJG, Devin the Dude and Cam'ron, this last one being a personal friend and influence to Wiz, although none of them made an appearance on the album.[22]

Release and promotion[edit]

On April 14, 2010, Khalifa released his eighth mixtape, Kush & Orange Juice. The following year, on February 18, 2011, Khalifa released another mixtape, Cabin Fever, in promotion for the album.[23] Rolling Papers was released on March 29, 2011 by Atlantic Records and Rostrum Records, making it his first release on a major label.[24]

Singles[edit]

"Black and Yellow" was released as the album's lead single on September 14, 2010. The song was written in honor of Khalifa's hometown city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's sporting team's colors,[25] and became the unofficial anthem of the Pittsburgh Steelers.[26] The single topped the US Billboard Hot 100 and Rap Songs chart, and reached 6 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It became one of highest selling Hip-Hop songs of 2010, obtaining massive radio air-play and eventually attaining sales of 2,342,000 in the United States.[27] It also reached the top ten in Canada and the United Kingdom and reached the top forty in many other countries. The song is also notably popular for being remixed numerous times by fellow rappers, including Lil Wayne, Tyga, Slim Thug, Young Jeezy, Wale, Donnis, Game, SoLouCity YG, Kendrick Lamar, Jim Jones and Maino.[28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][35] The official remix entitled, "Black and Yellow" (G-Mix) would later be released in February, and feature Snoop Dogg, Juicy J and T-Pain.[36]

"Roll Up" was released as the album's second single on February 3, 2011.[37] It peaked at number 13 on the US Hot 100, number 7 on the US R&B charts, and number 2 on US Rap charts. It achieved moderate success in international markets, where it reached the top 50 in the UK.

"The Race" was released as the album's second promotional single on March 8, 2011,[38] and debuted at number 66 on the US Hot 100.

"On My Level", featuring Too Short, was released via digital download on February 22, 2011 as the album's first promotional single,[39] was later released as the album's third single in North America on May 28, 2011. It debuted at number 52 on the US Hot 100, and has reached a current peak at number 61 on US R&B charts.

"No Sleep" was released as the album's third promotional single on March 22, 2011.[40] It became one of the best performing releases from the album, as it debuted at number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song was later released as the album's fourth and final single on August 9, 2011.[41] It has also debuted at number 38 on the Billboard Pop Songs chart.

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 197,000 copies in the United States.[2] It entered at number 1 on Billboard '​s R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and Rap Albums chart.[42][43] In its second week, the album dipped to number 5 on the US Billboard 200 after selling additional 59,300 copies, bringing its total sales in the US to 257,500 units.[44] In its third and fourth week on the US charts, the album sold another 37,000 and 34,000 units, bringing its total sales in the US to 328,000 units.[45] On June 21, 2011 the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipping over 500,000 copies.[46] As of February 2012, the album has sold 780,000 copies in the United States[47]

In Canada, Rolling Papers debuted at number 6 on the Canadian Albums Chart.[48] The album debuted at number 47 on the UK Albums Chart, and in its second week, slipped to number 78.[49] The album debuted at number 2 on the UK R&B Albums Chart, and maintained that position in its second week.[50] Additionally, Rolling Papers debuted at number 35 on the Norwegian Albums Chart,[51] number 49 on the Dutch Albums Chart[52] and number 60 on the French Albums Chart.[49][53]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[54]
The A.V. Club C[55]
Entertainment Weekly B+[56]
NME 5/10[57]
Now 3/5[58]
Pitchfork Media 7.2/10[59]
PopMatters 2/10[60]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[61]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[62]
Spin 6/10[63]

Rolling Papers received generally mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 59, based on 24 reviews.[64] Brandon Soderberg of Spin wrote that it "embraces the doggedly one-note approach of the numerous mixtapes that built his substantial following".[63] Slant Magazine's Matthew Cole found Khalifa's lyrics "boring" and stated, "he seems to regress to the tepid sing-song rapping that the music demands".[62] Sputnikmusic's Sobhi Abdul-Rakhman panned it as "overproduced, generic disney channel beats by names no one knows, derivative choruses and melodies that obviously sound manufactured by a tie-wielding Atlantic executive, and lyricism that fails at even being anthemic for parties".[65] Jesse Serwer of The Village Voice criticized the tracks with "beats even more pop than 'Black & Yellow'", adding that "Wiz has grown into a more skillful hookmeister than rapper".[66]

Hamish MacBain of NME stated, "Six songs in [...] the start of  '​Rolling Paper '​'s descent into eight loooong, dull filler tracks that, musically and lyrically, are completely indistinguishable from one to the other".[57] Kevin Ritchie of Now wrote similarly, "Around the midpoint, his preoccupation with 'bitches and champagne' (and weed) starts to wear thin as he leans harder on pop choruses, resulting in forced and cutesy-sounding tracks".[58] David Amidon of PopMatters observed "lyrical laziness".[60] Lev Harris of The Quietus called the album "a rap autopilot that engages all too often [...] revert[s] back to the pop rap blueprint as drawn by Dre and Snoop Dogg", noting its lyrical content as too "preoccup[ied] with weed".[1] The A.V. Club '​s Nathan Rabin called it "monomaniacal, largely undistinguished" and commented that "unlike Snoop, Khalifa never seems to be having much fun".[55]

In a positive review, Allmusic editor David Jeffries complimented Khalifa's "keen sense of melody and fat sack of hooks" and stated "Khalifa’s chilled and confused Rolling Papers is an acquired taste [...] purposeful mood music, perfect for bong loading or just hanging out".[54] Entertainment Weekly '​s Brad Wete called the album "lyrically limited to getting high, stealing chicks, and blowing cash [...] Yet it burns with an underdog's passion and a champion's spite".[56] Pitchfork Media's Sean Fennessey called it "mood music for the mindless" and wrote that its production team "has given this album surprising cohesion".[59] Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone commented that Khalifa "manages to give life to those kinds of cash-gorged perma-baked clichés by warmly luxuriating in the space between pop's fresh-faced exuberance and hip-hop's easy arrogance".[61]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "When I'm Gone"   Cameron Thomaz, Eric Dan, Jeremy Kulousek Eric Dan, Big Jerm 4:09
2. "On My Level" (featuring Too $hort) Thomaz, Todd Shaw, James Scheffer, Danny Morris Jim Jonsin 4:32
3. "Black and Yellow"   Thomaz, Mikkel Eriksen, Tor Hermansen StarGate 3:37
4. "Roll Up"   Thomaz, Eriksen, Hermansen StarGate 3:47
5. "Hopes and Dreams"   Thomaz, Brandon Carrier Brandon Carrier 3:59
6. "Wake Up"   Thomaz, Eriksen, Hermansen StarGate 3:46
7. "The Race"   Thomaz, Dan, Kulousek Eric Dan, Big Jerm 5:35
8. "Star of the Show" (featuring Chevy Woods) Thomaz, Dan, Kevin Woods Eric Dan 4:46
9. "No Sleep"   Thomaz, Benjamin Levin Benny Blanco 3:12
10. "Get Your Shit"   Thomaz, Dan Eric Dan 4:36
11. "Top Floor"   Thomaz, Andrew Wansel, Warren Felder Andrew "Pop" Wansel, Warren "Oak" Felder 3:42
12. "Fly Solo"   Thomaz, Dan Eric Dan 3:20
13. "Rooftops" (featuring Curren$y) Thomaz, Shante Franklin, Brandon Green Bei Maejor 4:21
14. "Cameras"   Thomaz, Dan Eric Dan 4:29

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Rolling Papers adapted from Allmusic.[67]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
Canadian Albums Chart[48] 6
Dutch Albums Chart[52] 49
French Albums Chart[53] 60
Japanese Albums Chart[68] 54
Norwegian Albums Chart[51] 35
Swiss Albums Chart[69] 68
UK Albums Chart[49] 47
UK R&B Albums Chart[50] 7
US Billboard 200[70] 2
US R&B/Hip Hop Albums[42] 1
US Rap Albums[43] 1

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s)
United Kingdom March 28, 2011 CD, digital download
Canada March 29, 2011
United States[71][72]
Japan April 4, 2011

References[edit]

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External links[edit]