Friday, May 7, 2010

Wiz Khalifa "Show & Prove" (2006)

If Prince of the City sounded like the first offical mixtape from Wiz Khalifa, Show & Prove is obviously his debut album and demonstrates exactly what it is that has kept him on the tips of cats tongues nation wide since. Show & Prove is a great album all the way through with a wide range of beat styles present and the content Wiz spits is far more thought provoking than much of what was present on Kush & Orange Juice.

The street edge present on his first mixtape is still here but it has lost some of its bite. He has grown into a comfortable story teller and is more inclined to address the negatives to a life surrouded by questionable actions. He still shouts out packing pistols at times and references bagging up product, rarely without a resolution that makes you feel as though he is looking for a moral to the things he has seen.

Woman and sex are the second and third most discussed topics on Kush & OJ, here he dedicates a few songs to the ladies. "Keep The Conversation" sees him and Boaz riding over an awesome piano driven beat that features a vocal sample for the hook stating "Tell the girl a comical lie to keep the conversation alive" - their verses go hand in hand with this concept and while I can't say I would follow the advice if you think your game can match that of Wiz by all means give it a shot. I think it's more of that bragadoccio swagger rappers like their fans to eat up.

After a smooth intro where he spits a few bars to warm you up, the album jumps into "Pittsburgh Sound" his home town anthem that I'm certain gets crowds silly anytime it comes on in the 'Burgh. His ear for beats has always been one of his best assests and on this, his debut album, he was as critical as always. Some, such as "Bout Mine", feel a little boring given a simplistic synth effect and far from knocking drums. But even here Wiz is great at selecting (or perhaps editing) tracks that change and elaborate on themselves as the seconds tick past.

Johnny Juliano holds down a number of these tracks and it shows why his name is still a constant on the Khalifa mans albums to this day. I don't want to hate on the tracks as they are head nod worthy and display Wiz varried flows and cadences, but the album did drop in 2006 and you certainly feel it. It's hard to believe that beat making has gone through that much of a shift in four short years but few artists, Wiz included, are fucking with the 90s style boom bap today.

Sounds and styles evolve, as do people. Wiz says on this album he felt at fourteen he had something to say. Rapping is something he has had his sights on for some time. He speaks about money often. Maybe he comes from it (his parents are both in the military) maybe rap is really making him cash. Either way his confidence in life is carried through in his rhymes and makes him a potent emcee.

No where here will you find the sing song flow Wiz has been playing with as of late, here it's just beats and rhymes. Some say that Wiz isn't hip hop, or isn't following in the foot steps of legends properly. Like Jay said, if you want old shit buy old albums. Wiz and Rostrum Records moved 10,000 copies of this jawn all on their own. It's been out and succeded. Growth and diversification was the only natural move forward.

Download Show & Prove.