There was a time where stoner rap/hip-hop was all the rage and slow melodic instrumentals transcended our minds. We can blame the drugs for elevating the sound, but through the years not many albums and mixtapes have tested well with time. Kush & OJ by Wiz Khalifa is one of the few exceptions as it reached 10 years today.
This was the beginning of the peak of dominance in the class and genre for Wiz Khalifa, but Kush & OJ speaks for itself as the pivotal turning point.
A lot of stoner rap/hip-hop have deep seeded thoughts about spacious worlds and smoking hella blunts; but that somber and weird braggadocio approach is somehow holistic for the genre. Is as if there was a slew of too many rappers trying to target everyone with simplistic hits, like ?It?s Going Down,? by Young Joc. It needed to bring back slower hip hop grooves that jazz rap had in a previous generation and it does that to this day.
But Kush & OJ kept it interesting by switching up tempos on a lot of tracks, without losing touch of the essence of what it is. It hit kind of different at the time amongst the others due to its consistency.
Many of the tracks levy a lot of replay value from the instrumentals and the hypnotic hooks, like on ?We?re Done? or ?In the Cut.? Nobody was doing like Wiz Khalifa at the time. He was one of the faces of stoner rap, along with Smoke DZA, Mac Miller, amongst others. One of which, Curren$y, appears on ?Glass House?? and delivers an explosive verse along with Bun B. The world always needs that Houston hip-hop flare.
Kush & OJ spotlights as a cornerstone influence for a lot of the melodic hip-hop music that came within that decade. Though the initial delivery was a bunch of wannabes, these artists later grew and made that core into something new and resonate.
?The Statement,? ?Never Been,? and ?The Kid Frankie,? highlight the kind of influence it had on artists like Mac Miller and Yung Lean. It was also a precursor to the up and coming popular cloud rap genre. It?s slow melodic synths and keys and relaxed tempo that allows different emotions to flourish were the immediate sticking points.
On ?The Kid Frankie,? the instrumental is a strong example with Wiz flexing smooth harmonies and vocals, while bringing that lax confidence in his flows.
The music videos also influenced more artists to go semi-high budget on music videos. They were more focused and simple and use of free things like a friend?s car or certain public places let them do a little more to flex. Like the music video for ?Mezmerized,? which is a bunch of different cuts of Wiz looking Alpha Dog, photos with a fan at a mall, posting outside his home in a mustang. Though he?s been in the game for a minute, he definitely had the money for some of the stuff he flexes. The video isn?t extravagant so it allows the focus to be Wiz.
Nothing speaks more to smoking blunts with your friends in school or post grad adulthood than this tape. It?s the lakeside anthem for the spring and summer, but most importantly it added a new voice to hip-hop.
Kush & OJ is a definitive classic.