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ALBUM REVIEWS

Wiz Khalifa

Rolling Papers

By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / April 5, 2011

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So who is Wiz Khalifa anyway? Is he the kid that Warner Bros. convinced to turn Alice Deejay’s Euro-pop track “Better Off Alone’’ into the forgettable pop-rap of his 2007 single “Say Yeah,’’ or is he the guy whose indie mixtape (2010’s “Kush and Orange Juice’’) nearly broke Twitter? “Rolling Papers,’’ his major-label debut, doesn’t do much to clue you in. If anything he’s a chameleon. He tries to keep up with Too $hort’s misogyny with “On My Level,’’ then finds a comfort zone on “Rooftops,’’ rhyming with Curren$y. He panders to the ladies on “Roll Up,’’ and “The Race’’ is what Spandau Ballet’s “True’’ might have sounded like if the group had formed post-Biggie. Despite the hype Wiz earned with his hit “Black and Yellow,’’ he somehow managed to make the safest album possible, a collection of radio-accessible singles and one homer. After clearly finding his identity on his mixtapes, it’s like he used his debut to make music for everyone but himself. (Out now)

ESSENTIAL “Rooftops’’ feat. Curren$y

Wiz Khalifa performs at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell with Mac Miller May 3.