Seven years since his poppy breakthrough album Rolling Papers, Wiz Khalifa is back with a 90-minute long sequel, quite possibly more Wiz than anyone could ever need. He has not gained any extra talent or depth since 2014, and for most of the album he seems averse to rapping anything interesting or memorable. Production is handled by a large cast including Young Chop, Terrace Martin, Easy Mo Bee and Mike Will Made It, but the songs often seem underdeveloped, two brief verses buried between more noteworthy hooks.
Wiz schmoozes with a partner on Very Special (“I treat you special ‘cause you very special… / …you bring your friends for me like ooh, that’s extra”), gets high on Bootsy Bellows and gets motivational over the glistening synths of It’s On You. But none of it makes a lasting impression, coming across as trap froth with little substance. The guests are refreshing when they appear, particularly PARTYNEXTDOOR with his goofy contribution to Rain and Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony’s show-stealing verses on Reach For The Stars.
One of the better moments comes with B Ok in which Wiz flashes back to various significant points in his life, including his sister’s death last year, and creates some endearing closure with a sung hook, though such moments of introspection are few and far between. His own voice is not the most distinctive, and at times sounds derivative of Future and Travis Scott as he struggles to find his place in trap music’s brave new world.
Wiz Khalifa has carved out a niche for himself, the stoner kid turned baller, that has served him well so far. But it is far too limiting for a project this ambitious, and Rolling Papers 2 suffers badly because of it.