(Photo: Warner Bros. Records)
Wiz Khalifa led his debut album Rolling Papers with the phenomenal mixtape Cabin Fever, a milestone release for his career that arguably outshined the album it preceded. With his sophomore LP O.N.I.F.C. due December 4, Wiz sticks to the formula and drops Cabin Fever 2, an unspectacular but serviceable appetizer for his coming album.
While the original Cabin Fever felt like it was breaking new creative ground, Wiz doesn’t stray far from the base he and Lex Luger carved out with the nine-track mixtape in early 2011. Production crews League of Starz and The Invasion replace Luger, Sonny Digital and Drumma Boy behind the boards, offering a respectable but inferior substitute to the production magic they’re attempting to recreate. The array of pulsing kick drums and floating melodies Wiz, Luger and company put together on the original Cabin defined the trippy stoner sound that’s dominated airwaves and car stereos the past two years. This time, Wiz adds Bay-area influences to his palate, spitting over muddy baselines.
Juicy J made his triumphant return to relevance on the former Cabin’s “Errday” but, over a year and a half later, his ultra-trippy bars aren’t as potent. On Taylor Allderdice, it seemed like Wiz was leaning on the red hot Juicy’s wave. This time, the 3-6 Mafia legend’s presence is not always welcome. Aside from the soul-lifting "Ridin’ Round," which Juicy produced and spits over, his contributions are mostly forgettable and suggest he and Wiz’s creative chemistry may be waning.
Overall, Cabin Fever 2 seems stale when compared to its predecessor. Wiz continues to focus on melody over lyricism, which makes for a few standout bangers — the Sledgren-laced "Fucc S--t" and French Montana-assisted "Nothin’ Like the Rest" are well worth a download — but nothing that will have the impact that the original made on hip hop’s present and future soundscape.
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