Fifteen years ago, rapper Wiz Khalifa was touted as a star-in-waiting, with many industry insiders and tastemakers predicting his promise of eventually becoming a household name. Having just secured a record deal with a major label through Rostrum Records at the time, the Pittsburgh native appeared primed to an instant leap to mainstream success. Yet, Khalifa would have to endure various hurdles to fulfill his potential. And he eventually did after releasing a string of Platinum and Gold-certified albums and chart-topping singles in the aughts. No longer an upstart or newcomer, Khalifa is a bonafide veteran, conducting business through his own label, Taylor Gang Entertainment, with his latest studio album, Multiverse, on the ledger.
His seventh solo studio album, Multiverse, is his third musical release of the year, following the collaborative projects Stoner’s Night with Juicy J, and Full Court Press with Big K.R.I.T., Smoke DZA, and Girl Talk. Arriving four years after the release of his last solo project, Rolling Papers 2, Multiverse is Khalifa’s first solo effort under a new partnership with Asylum.
Comprised of 17 songs, Multiverse is short on guest appearances, with its lone features coming from Girl Talk and They. Producers include TM88, Sledgren, Don Cannon, Hitmaka, ID Labs, and more. Recorded in Khalifa’s own home studio in Encino, Calif., Multiverse marks one of the rapper’s more sonically cohesive releases to date and is a captivating listen from beginning to end, marking a return to form for one of the biggest stars of the past decade.
VIBE thumbed through the Multiverse tracklist and picked out six of the most memorable songs that piqued our interest and should be on your radar.
Somber organ keys and soulful wails provide the sound bed for Khalifa to lay his innermost thoughts over. On the song, he memorializes the various close friends and collaborators he’s lost throughout his life and career. “Even though you may not be here physically, you still walk with me,” Wiz says in acknowledgment of his various fallen comrades, ranging from childhood associates in Pittsburgh to rap stars like former labelmate Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle. “Homies” is one of his more heartfelt moments on wax to date.
"We Don't Go Out To Nightclubs Anymore/Candlelight Girl"
Bedroom lights are dimmed on this grand composition, as Wiz Khalifa channels the swagger of a seasoned balladeer while serenading the lady in his life. Kicked off by a fluttering backdrop, which makes way for a soulful groove that’s akin to the throwback slow jams of yesteryear, this inclusion is a surprisingly infectious number on which Wiz belts out the praises of Candlelight Girls across the globe.
Good vibes receive an invitation to Wiz’s cipher on this mellow track, as Wiz deploys a stream of consciousness flow while putting forth his most impressive lyrical showing in recent memory. Gleaning inspiration from a litany of rap legends, who receive mentions for their influence on his artistry and overall style and game, Khalifa gets contemplative on this number while schooling the listeners to the valleys and pitfalls of life and success.
"1000 Women" Feat. THEY
A jazzy saxophone helps set the mood on this sensual offering, where Wiz documents his past history as a ladies’ man and his evolution in embracing monogamy. Featuring guest vocals from crooners Drew Love and Dante Jones of R&B duo THEY, the track captures flexing his own melodic sensibilities; he and his costars send off the proceedings in a harmonious blaze.
"Iced Out Necklace"
This rambunctious selection finds producer Sledgren making the speakers shake with a booming soundscape that Wiz uses to wax poetic about his diamond-encrusted necklace and decadent lifestyle. The first single released from Wiz’s latest long player, this rollicking salvo finds the Taylor Gang general getting aggressive over frantic 808s and synths and captures the raw exuberance and energy exuded on earlier offerings in his catalog.
The self-proclaimed player of the year gets loose on this breezy offering, which finds Wiz getting the party active while acknowledging his own status as a boss in the game. Mentions of his collection of female companions and overall finesse dominate this feel-good number, as the Pittsburgh native turned Cali resident basks in the trappings of the high life.