Unofficial release; songs are from July 18?22, 2011.
A great number of hip-hop fans around the world will always appreciate the chemistry between the stoner rappers Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa. The New Orleans veteran and Pittsburgh rapper first linked up in 2009 for a joint mixtape (no pun intended), How Fly. The mixtape was released to a wide amount of praise, and 10 years on, is hailed as a classic. The two have continued their chemistry together on more songs such as ?Choosin?? with Rick Ross, ?Glass House? with Big K.R.I.T. and ?The 560 SL?. They even currently dropped their third project together (following the average Live in Concert EP) a few months back called #2009, commemorating with the 10th anniversary of How Fly. However, while all that is cool, there?s a moment that we don?t talk about enough: that Summer when Wiz & Spitta linked up with Big Sean for not only one, but FIVE songs!
2011 was a great year for the three rappers. Wiz Khalifa broke through with ?Black and Yellow? back in 2010 and released his debut Rolling Papers the following year. Spitta did his own thing, inking a major deal with Warner Bros. and releasing the amazing Weekend at Burnie?s album, along with the Verde Terrace mixtape. And Big Sean finally released his debut album Finally Famous, getting his shine with songs such as ?My Last? and ?Marvin & Chardonnay?.
During the Summer of 2011, Wiz took Sean with him on the Rolling Papers World Tour, where the two, along with Curren$y, had a studio bus for them to work on music. According to Big Sean when speaking with MTV about the five songs, Wiz & Spitta were already working on another project themselves, and when they wanted a verse from Sean for one song, he instead suggested to work with them on more than just one song. With a song from the 3 being released everyday from July 18?22, rumours of a mixtape between the three started to spark up, and apparently, it was going to be called How Fly Boys. This name came from the Wiz?s talking intro on the trio?s first song from that week, ?O.T.T.R? (?Starsky and Hutch minus the fuzz, How Fly Boys?, although the actual lyrics on Genius says it?s ?mild flat boys?, ha). However, after those five songs dropped, no news of a mixtape came up anymore, although Sean did reveal in that same MTV interview that they had more songs in the stash. But in 2012, Spitta ended up clarifying in a Fuse interview that those five songs were basically the whole mixtape, and that they never actually said they were dropping an official project together.
So? with fans only being left with those 5 songs after Spitta finally clarified and shut down the rumours about a collab project, many people ended up compiling those songs into an unofficial EP under the original rumoured title How Fly Boys. 4 out of these 5 songs on the ?EP? were handled by former ID Labs producer Big Jerm, while the last song was produced by Cardo.
But enough with the paragraphs, let?s dig deeper into the music and actually see what it?s actually saying?
- O.T.T.R. (Off to the Races)
The first song to come out from Wiz, Spitta and Sean, and it?s actually pretty smooth. I still remember the first time hearing it, and it always bugged me how long the song was. I was like 10, I wasn?t used to 5+ minute songs like that (outside of a few Drake songs). It wasn?t until I revisited these five songs in Summer 2017 that I realised how dope this song actually is. I enjoyed the beat from Big Jerm a lot, it?s something slow and real soulful. And the verses from the 3 of them were pretty solid. Wiz started off nice as usual, with some real fly ass raps. And ?Starsky & Hutch minus the fuzz? is definitely a great description for his chemistry with Spitta too, ha! Spitta comes with the strongest verse on the song, coming out a lot better than Wiz, especially with his delivery. But Big Sean comes through last and, although the weakest on this song, actually didn?t do that bad of a job. His flow was pretty solid, and he sounded mad comfortable over the laidback instrumental with his bragging bars. Overall, a great song to vibe out to.
Now this is what I call elite morning music. The type of shit you can wake up to and can brighten up your day. And it works for Summer and regular, chill moments as well. The sample is so fuckin? beautiful, it feels like an ascension into heaven (which, for the sample being a Miracles song called ?City of Angels?, is pretty self-explanatory there), and Big Jerm?s production makes the sample knock out even harder with his drums. Oh yeah, about the verses? Wiz?s verse was nice, and it?s your usual content about getting high and living life. And that?s the same with Curren$y?s verse, whose braggadocios verse takes jab at haters and flexes about his money being made off mixtapes and tours. I even loved the shoutout to Wiz killing the BET Awards with his new-found success at the time. Sean, on the other hand, was OK, but this time, I lowkey found his verse a bit better than Wiz. Out of all the five songs, this was definitely the best song, and all 3 rappers really connected so well together!
3. Weed Brownies
The weakest out of the five songs for me, but it still remains a solid cut. This song lowkey put me off at first, because of how it was mixed, especially hearing Wiz Khalifa?s vocals throughout his verse. But it did grow on me, and Big Jerm?s beat is another smooth one to vibe out to, just like the previous two songs. Wiz definitely came across the weakest to me a lot this time around, his vocals sounded so weird, like it wasn?t mixed right; and it felt so monotone and a bit boring in comparison to how he sounded on the other 4 tracks. So with that, the main two people who came out the strongest on this song was Spitta, as usual, and Big Sean. As a matter of fact, Sean?s verse is probably my favourite on this song; I love that he switched up the main song?s flow during the first half of his verse, and even with a few corny lines, he kinda came out a bit strong with it.
4. Dot Dot Dot?
My second favourite joint out of all the five songs, or is it hands down the best? This song and ?Flowers? is interchangeable for me when it comes to deciding on my favourite song from the batch, it?s that good and Big Jerm provided some top notch production on both songs. Wiz returns to form after the last song, and does a pretty good job with his verse. But Spitta?s verse is straight up my favourite moment from all the five songs, his fly raps delivered way too hard and his flow was A1. Big Sean is the final verse on the song, and he was flowing real nice on this. He does a decent job, with a few slips here and there (not too much like usual though), but it?s all cool. Overall, a remarkable song which features mainly Spitta?s best performance from the batch.
The only song in the batch that isn?t produced by Big Jerm. This time, Cardo handles the production, and this song bangs so HARD! Wiz, Spitta & Sean all come through with braggadocios and lifestyle raps about the usual: weed, partying and taking trips; but their performances came out a lot stronger than almost everything else in the batch (apart from ?Dot Dot Dot?). Wiz?s verse is probably the best he?s done out of all the five songs, and that?s the same with Sean?s verse as well. Both rappers floated over the beat like it was nothing, especially Sean, who actually has the most reflective verse on here, touching on how far he has come in life and how things have changed since he blew up (remember this was the breakthrough Finally Famous era). The bars throughout his verse came out pretty good, and I loved his flow A LOT here. In fact, this verse might be one of my favourite verses from Sean, in general. It?s surprisingly that good! Oh yeah, can?t forget Spitta tho, cos he did a great job as well. Overall, all 3 rappers really came in clutch on this song so well!
Final Thoughts: I?m trying not to classify this as an EP, because it wasn?t released officially as one and I?m just reviewing these five tracks all together into one little review; hence why I?ve been referring to these songs as a ?batch? almost throughout the whole thing. Anyway, lemme keep it brief?
The so-called How Fly Boys batch is an EP?s worth of pretty good tracks from start to finish. Wiz Khalifa & Curren$y have already shown to have strong ass chemistry together with the original How Fly mixtape, but the two of them happen to connect a bit decently with Big Sean, especially considering how corny that guy can be with his verses. I normally enjoy frying the hell outta Sean nowadays, and this has been after I?ve tried to give him chances to follow up Dark Sky Paradise strongly; but this time around, I can still give credit when due. Pretty much all of the songs are your usual content about smoking weed, partying and living life, but with the smooth and laidback production from Big Jerm (apart from on ?Proceed?, which Cardo did), Wiz, Spitta & Sean all sound so refreshing and hardly boring with their raps. I did find Sean to be the weakest of the bunch on the first two songs, as both Wiz and Spitta had their dope verses as usual, but by ?Weed Brownies?, I think Sean really gets to work with his verses, especially when it came to his flow. Both ?Proceed? and ?Dot Dot Dot? were, in my opinion, his best performances out of the five songs, with the former even being one of my favourite verses from him in general, for somewhat reason. As for Wiz and Spitta, they both delivered as usual, with songs such as ?O.T.T.R? and ?Flowers? showing how elite they are when they link up together most of the time. Overall, I loved these five songs, and all 3 rappers showed some great chemistry together. Since these songs never materialised into a proper full length project between the three, I always thought it was a slightly underrated moment in their careers, especially Spitta and Wiz if we talking their chemistry and work together on songs. But yeah? go peep those songs if you haven?t!
Recommended Tracks: All songs, preferably ?Dot Dot Dot?, ?Proceed? and ?Flowers?