Artist: Wiz KhalifaTitle: Show And ProveRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine
Pittsburgh's Wiz Khalifa is finally getting well deserved nods after a sparking grassroots movement from an unheard city and without major cosigns. Since his Big Mike hosted mixtape Pittsburgh, Pistolvania at the top of the year, Wiz achieved tremendous buzz and Show and Prove (Rostrum) reveals the studio work that transpired from jump leading to Wiz's biggest press to date.
"Crazy Since the 80s" is evidence of Wiz's ability to make a radio-friendly record. Using a "Hustlin'" format, Wiz brags over the beat that pays tribute to the 17-year-old's generation. Records like this and "Stand Up" show Wiz in a light very similar to Juelz Santana and Cassidy. Numbing gun and pitching punchlines dominate the verses, but the swagger is top shelf, with music that keeps things interesting. "Pittsburgh Sound" is the one distinction, showing Wiz's hometown in sound and lyrics, revealing an energetic prodigy that could likely exceed what Ray Cash is to Cleveland.
The beats are largely provided by untapped talent, which favor vocal and Soul sampling. "Stay in Ur Lane," produced by Black Czer borrows generously from DJ Premier and Jay-Z's "So Ghetto," though Wiz saves the plagiarism with a faster flow than Jigga. Equally, "Gotta Be a Star (Remix)" mimics "Sittin' Sideways" a bit too closely. The album swings between Southern elements and gritty New York album cuts. While the music isn't always the most original, it's constantly exciting. The beats aren't throwaways in the least, but Show and Prove shows its street-album origins, without the kind of crafting that a major would give the project.
Not many street albums are worth talking about a month after their release. While the Re-Up Gang has nothing to worry about, Wiz reaches higher than the norm. "Crazy Since the 80s" is a runaway single worthy of consideration in any radio market. Equally, the recent high school graduate shows, and proves his worth in the industry with an album that artfully captures the attitude of the youth's American Dream-money, power, and respect.