Going back nearly six years ago, come April, it will be the 6th anniversary of Wiz Khalifa‘s wildly raunchy, Trap-esque and heavy-party-vibes mixtape, ‘Cabin Fever‘. Before I get to the review, just a quick disclaimer. This is, as well as ‘Taylor Allderdice‘ are my go-to Wiz projects. While the majority of the production is handled by the always reliable Lex Luger, other notable producers, such as Drumma Boy, WillPower and DJ Spinz all appear as well.
“Phone Numbers” is a great start to the always re-playable tape. With heavy 808s, a trippy vocal sample and sporadic piano keys, Wiz lays down a smoked out verse and brags about the amount of money he’s getting. Houston legend Trae the Truth also provides a slow-burning verse, but around halfway through picks up the pace and gives one of the standout verses on the tape. Big Sean however has the best verse on the track. His melodic sing-a-long verse about the luxurious food he eats and how his competition need to up their game.
“Cabin Fever” begins with fast-paced keys. Heavy drum snares and kicks allow Wiz to have a quicker pace than he normally shows off on the first verse. However, it primarily sees Wiz let the beat just ride. While the production on this track is straight up 100/10 and Wiz’s flow is just pure dankness, it is one of the weaker tracks on the tape. However, the track does add a certain ‘turn-up’ factor to the tape and provides a great transition into the definitive songs on the tape.
“GangBang” sees the second feature from Big Sean. Starting off with Lex’s most recognisable production tag, Wiz lets the beat ride until he comes in with a hard but chilled flow that picks up and floats on the beat halfway through his verse. He brags about “not paying for shit” while not even knowing the label as well as his insane smoking habits. The beat is just ridiculous, though. The quick claps of the symbols and hits of hi-hats build up the hype and aggression of Big Sean’s verse. Typically, Wiz loses out to his feature and sees Sean stealing the song. The real show-stealer here, however, is the production from Lex Luger, and the ability of the beat to carry the track to the point of overshadowing the lyrics.
“Errday” is in no doubt the second most LiT track on the tape. The beat begins with slow keys but the second Juicy J starts chanting “GET UP BITCH, SHUTDAFUCCUP”, you know it’s going to be a highlighted track. The chemistry between the two weed-enthusiasts is undeniable. While Wiz’s verse is broken up between ad-libs and breaking of the beat, it is one of the tracks where Wiz does shine. However, Juicy’s flow reminds me of something from a previous Three 6 Mafia album. While the two handle a verse each and share the chorus, the two are a perfect match to collaborate.
“Taylor Gang” is an obvious ode to Wiz’s own label, Taylor Gang. Not only have I had the pleasure of seeing Wiz perform this song live, but it is one of his strongest songs in his discography, along with this tape. The ratchet synths, blaring horns and heavy claps of snares make this track difficult to not smoke one too (shoutout Kosta for being my Wiz). The standout on this track though has too be Chevy Woods verse. While it’s a very smoked out verse, the switch-up of flows and way that Chevy rides the beat just leaves you asking for more.
“Hustlin” is another brag-about-my-wealth track from Wiz. However, Lex’s production makes the track. The distorted synths in the back and the choir like keys add a dark but hazy feel to the track. Wiz reflects on how he came from nothing and came to the forefront of the industry as the face of the new-age weed rappers.
“Middle of You” feels like a ‘filler’ track to add bulk to the tape. It’s also the most the radio-friendly. While it is beaming with wavy synths, quick-paced hi-hats and subtle DJ scratches, there isn’t much replay value or innovation found in the seventh track of the mixtape.
“WTF” is a certified BANGER. The typical Lex production is really the selling point of this track. Easily, Waka Flocka could’ve supplied a guest verse or vocals t this track. However, Wiz rides this beat perfectly by himself. His flow is quick and witty, and he sounds truly energised. Even on the chorus, it sounds like he’s trying to shout down the mic, but this just adds to the hype of the track.
The final track, “Homicide” is in my mind, no doubt, the most underrated track on the tape. The loop of the keys, Wiz’s calm and smooth harmony of vocals on the chorus don’t sound as forced as recent commercial releases. While Wiz’s verse is particularly LiT with his smoked-out flow and making sure people know he’s more wealthy than you think. Chevy appears for a second time and absolutely takes over the track. His flow is fast and although the topics they talk about are similar, Chevy steals the show ultimately on this one.
Overall, it’s a great tape. The production is undeniably great and showcases a young and less aggressive version of Trap with some influence of Psychedelic infusions. Although Wiz is the frontman for this tape and the majority of his solo songs are repeatable, the guest features do at times over-shadow him.
(Edited by Kosta K)