“Taylor Allderdice”: A Step Backwards For Wiz Khalifa


Going into Taylor Allderdice, Wiz Khalifa had a lot on his mind. His career was on a path we’ve seen time and time again in the past two years. It’s hard to name any new stars that haven’t followed this path:

– Artist gets popular on internet
– Artist builds loyal fan base
– Artist can’t be talked about without using the word “buzz,” artist gets cosigned by more famous artists
– Artist signs deal, everyone gets excited
– Artist puts out less exciting, watered down version of their music for debut album

It’s hard to avoid this. Major labels seek mass appeal, mass appeal means hit records, and look at the fucking charts—if your song doesn’t have a big hook on it, forget it, get a real job. Rolling Papers might have been watered down, but it went gold. Wiz admitted his “mistake” (his business decision) on his major label debut:

“The mistake I made on Rolling Papers was thinking it was time to move on from that genre not knowing that it had impacted people so much. The album did great numbers, but creatively wasn’t my best work. No regrets though. We live and we learn. So for my fans sake and own personal enjoyment,  Ive gone further into the world we’ve created and elaborated on our genre with the mixtape Taylor Allderdice and of course my sophomore album ONIFC. Im so confident in the artistry and creativity of these projects because so much living went along with them. These aren’t songs aimed to be hits or widely accepted or even understood. It’s for people who live like us and can relate. And informative to those who can’t. Either way we’re inviting mu fuggas deep into our world and I can’t wait.”

Wiz is right. Rolling Papers was not—creatively speaking—his best work. But is Taylor Allderdice the creative breakthrough that he made it sound like in his letter to fans? No, it’s not.

The Taylor Gang pack leader who inspires kids to make shirts that say things like “Taylor Gang Or Eat A Dick” has had his ego nurtured very well over the past few years. Not only does he have one of the most dedicated fan bases around, but he’s also made a little more money, accumulated a little more fame, and got himself engaged to a model. It’s not that he ever had a problem with self-doubting, but it’s clear, through both his music and his fashion choices, that Wiz’ confidence is at an all time high.

It’s not a bad thing. While some guys turn into cocky assholes, Wiz remains a likable guy. He’s got a charm about him, and his laugh still sounds genuine. It sounds stupid, but that’s a telling sign, especially in rappers. There’s the calculated boss laugh, the zany mad scientist laugh, the trying-too-hard-to-sound-cool laugh—it’s funny because you probably know who I’m talking about from these descriptions. Fame and money hasn’t extinguished Wiz’ charm; it hasn’t ruined his laugh, but it has changed his reality.

In Wiz’ letter to fans, he makes it sound like his new work is a window into his special world, some wild picture he’s painting that’s never been seen before. We get it Wiz, you smoke a lot of weed, you’re going to marry a model, and you’re making a lot of money. It’s fun, it’s cool, we’d like to hear more, possibly about your jewels and the fabric your clothes are made from. But don’t pretend that this is something special, because we’ve heard it a million fucking times before. Even talking about this is pointing out the obvious. You know what is is.

Taylor Allderdice is a lot of what we’ve heard from Wiz a hundred times before, but we’re no longer rooting for the underdog, and that changes things. It’s impossible to ignore: entering the world of mainstream music changes things. It changes the sound, it changes the content, and it changes the person behind the music. More often than not, the change is to the disappointment of the original fans. At the risk of sounding snobby, it’s a fact that most people (most, not all) who are passionate and well-versed in music do not enjoy what’s on the radio, and they do not enjoy what’s in the Hot 100. It sucks, but it’s true, and you can blame it on snobbery if you want, but there are a million reasons best left to another post on why this is the case.

Taylor Allderdice is not a great creative step, but it is a step away from the chart-seeking path that he was taking with Rolling Papers. If anything, it’s a step backwards, but to most Wiz fans, that’s a step in the right direction. While it’s not the leap that Wiz implied in his letter, this mixtape is a return to why we really liked Wiz in the first place. He’s still got a knack for melodic hooks. He’s not the best wordsmith, but he’s got a charismatic delivery and can craft a catchy ass song without being annoying. The beat selection is scattered, but strong enough to keep things interesting. From the smoked out to the synthed up, there’s no consistency to speak of, but his presence is enough to tie things together, and the jazzy vibe of songs like “Number 16″ jump out.

If you weren’t a Wiz fan in the first place, Taylor Allerdice might not win you over, but if you’ve got an attachment to the young Pittsburgh stoner, this is a sign that he’s not sticking to the formula for success—he’s not taking the B.o.B route, and it’s a great thing to hear. Somewhere deep down inside Wiz Khalifa, there is a desire to do more than be a well-branded voice on hit songs. He promised artistry and depth, and he didn’t exactly deliver, but he did return to what gained him a rabid fanbase in the first place, and he’s not trying to be molded into anything he’s not. That’s a statement in itself.


  • Kenny

    great article…the title threw me off at first but makes def sense. also keep in mind it is a mixtape…maybe its a bit too ambitious to think hes holding back a bit but there’ll be more to come. (ps TGOD)

  • http://juiceswag.com Machiaswelly

    Dope article. Although, I wouldn’t do the service of calling Amber Rose a model.

  • C

    confusion is the best, he can always put to words what others are feeling. a rare gift, part of what makes this blog the shit

  • Confusion

    Thanks guys. .@Kenny I was worried about the title. Not at all trying to say this is a bad move. I’m liking the tape. Track 16 is my shit. But it’s not some next-level thing that I kinda half-hoped it would be.

  • Hop

    I totally disagree with some of your points. I think it was a good creative step for him. The first 4-5 tracks alone all had different vibes the mood never stayed the same in my opinion – which I appreciate. Also I liked how he talked about different subjects throughout the album – we need to hear more from the artist that way.

    Also why does it seem like artist should create music based on what other people think? They are unique they should create the music they like the true fans will appreciate it no matter what… I’m a huge Outkast nut and my favorite album is Aquemini and the change from Stankonia to Speakerboxx/Love Below through people even me, but I rolled with them because I was a fan I respected what they were offering and trying to do. I didn’t care that they evolved into that. That’s where I think this gen has changed we are too quick to turn our back on artist we like because they don’t sound how we want them too… It’s ridiculous.

    Its hard not to judge artist on previous work, we do it so often because they come out with way more music on a frequent basis now a days. If you cut out everything else and just listened to this mixtape for what it is, it’s excellent.

    Nice title to bring in readers not indicative of the subject matter. Bottom line music is subjective Wiz has came a long way and I won’t judge him on past work because every artist evolves. You somewhat touched on this and its merely an opinion.

    We need to go back to the tape/CD days where we aren’t exposed to so much music so often then people would appreciate music more and have time to digest it. We should play something for weeks maybe months then form an opinion. We listen to something for a couple days then think we have it figured out. Months from now we will listen to the shit and say damn Wiz really did his thing on this tape. Just saying, I’m just old school….

    Know I was all over the place but that was me spitballin’

  • http://www.adriannesoundslike.com Adri-Anne R.

    Great insight! I do like Wiz, but agree with your assessment of what’s going on in the industry today. I love your statement at the end… there are so many artists who want to be more than just “a well-branded voice on hit songs”, but it seems like once an artist gets signed, they begin to sound like all the others. Let’s hope he really does keep branching off the mainstream and keeps his art alive.

  • gk

    provocative title to bring in the readers…i see you con

  • Confusion

    so provocative

  • http://DCtoBC.com modi

    psh. this joint rocks. juicy j and wiz should be the only taylor rappers though. i think everybody else needs to keep on working on their craft a little more. i woulda liked to see neako on this joint…i thought he was a taylor!

    “and she DID!” – juicy j

  • eRowdy

    not to mention the song “California” has nothing to do with the state, but he does mention private islands, and Las Vegas once.. shouldn’t rappers be trying to name their song something relevant to its content.?

  • Confusion

    Isnt Curren$y taylor gang too now?

  • prinskadra

    only thing worth listening to on this is juicy

  • rick

    Ill article I almost completely agree if but this project is just not worthy of the pre mainstream flight school, how fly wiz khalifa. He will never have the same hunger he once did and that is what kills the quality sound for most rappers.

  • YumSter

    This giraffe SUCKS…..I hope he fades away and very soon his music is straight trash, along with Nicki Minaj…total GARBAGE….

  • SK

    I totally agree with the article, the mixtape isn’t some next level creative shit. But its a great tape to light up to, and in the end Wiz is a stoner rapper, his music is about getting high. I would rather listen to this tape than a Kanye album while smoking, even though Kanye is 10000x better than Wiz and he actually gets on that next level creative shit. I think people have too many expectations from Wiz.

  • http://culturerich.tumblr.com Richard

    The title got me. I totally thought you were going to slam everything about the tape. I liked it a lot and I loved the Frank Ocean “Acura Integurl” sample. Good article bro! culturich.tumblr

  • Jade

    that was really well written article and i completely agree with you about this not being his most creative work but a step in the right direction. I am a big big fan of wiz. i don’t know what it is but his music is that good mood kinda music, something you just roll up to hah. He is a talented artist, hopefully he can put forth his best work and really show all the taylor’s the old Wiz. I think alot is riding on ONIFC; it’ll either make him or break him.
    Great blog, you’ve gained a reader

  • Dee

    Awesome article

  • wolf

    agree with the point that we need to sit with tapes and albums longer. but hey thats life.

  • Jus Sayin

    @Confusion Curren$y’s still with JLR (Jet Life Records). It’s him, Trademark, Young Roddy, plus Sir Michael Rocks & Smoke DZA, who were the most recent signings

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/bbyrckstr?feature=mhee B-Boy Rock-Star

    @ Confusion

    Great Article… !!!

    (P.S.) You should give Allderdice a few more (full) spinz though…

    (08) Never Been Pt. II IZ MY S#%T… !!!

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  • pete

    Thats what frustrates me. Who is he to talk about creativity? Do people listen to the music?

    It’s the exact same content regurgitated over a different Cardo beat

  • Confusion

    @pete I mostly agree. I think Wiz has a cool style, he’s a likable dude. I get why he’s popular. But I don’t know how he can honestly talk about this creatively. He’s a step above a lot of the radio singles on this one, but it’s still pretty basic stuff, nothing new.

  • Franko Sinatra

    i enjoyed this article well spoken

  • Not-so-notorious

    “…it’s a fact that most people (most, not all) who are passionate and well-versed in music do not enjoy what’s on the radio, and they do not enjoy what’s in the Hot 100. It sucks, but it’s true, and you can blame it on snobbery if you want, but there are a million reasons best left to another post on why this is the case.”

    Too true. Would definitely read a post about the disconnect b/w popular music and the refined listener.

  • http://kevinmeagher.tumblr.com kevin

    I agreee….maybe not be 100% creative stuff he released but it had some better production.

    Wiz sticks to his same “schtick” on every song: WEED, BITCHES. That’s it. Until he gets out of that funk (it aint baad …but its party music) he will forever be labeled a young SNoop

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