It was spring of 2010 when Wiz Khalifa dropped this groundbreaking mixtape that LITERALLY changed the game. I was just a young, dumb, and handsome 18 year old who was still wet behind the ears. Not much has changed since then. Summer is still hot. Wiz Khalifa is still high. I’m still young, dumb, and handsome. So today, I will be doing a throwback review on Wiz Khalifa’s breakout mixtape, Kush & Orange Juice.
Unknown to many, Wiz Khalifa actually had several projects out prior to the release of K&OJ. Even though Wiz has been consistently dropping mixtapes since 2005, beginning with Prince of The City, this is the tape that lifted Wiz into the upper echelon of hip hop and has grown to become one of the classic mixtapes of this generation. But what was it that made this mixtape so much better than the rest and what makes it a classic?
First of all, Kush and Orange Juice is an awesome name for a hip hop project. The title itself is a salute to the wake-and-bakers worldwide who start every morning by flying paper planes. (Side note: For those unfamiliar with the paper plane terminology I’ll explain. Joints are rolled in paper. Smoking joints will get you high. Planes fly high. Get it?)
Next, the production on the mixtape sounded like nothing else at the time. Play “Mezmorized” today and any true hip hop fan will immediately recognize its greatness. Wiz assembled his signature team of producers including Sledgren, Cardo, and Jerm. This team is phenomenal in creating a sound unique to Wiz and it’s obvious why he still sticks with these guys to this day. Kush & Orange Juice also samples many songs, videogames and movies ranging from Chrono Tiger to (wait for it….) Demi Lovato!
The flawless production paired with funny skits combine to make K&OJ an entertaining mixtape that is actually fun to listen to. Skit 2 still makes me laugh to this day. Besides the sound, let’s discus the actual lyrical content here. Wiz Khalifa never gets a lot of credit for his lyricism but he is still a talented rapper through and through. “I don’t love em/ I don’t chase em I duck em,” is perhaps the most memorable and honest quotable in the entire project. Marijuana references have ALWAYS been present in hip hop lyrics but Wiz takes it to another level here. Wiz’s limitless weed references is one of the many things that sets him apart from other rappers. Yes, Mary Jane has always been a friend to many, but Wiz actually made it cool to smoke weed. To some, that may sound irresponsible but it is what it is. Wiz is the modern day Snoop when it comes to weed and he’s such a proponent for the heavenly green grass that it’s no wonder he’s got his own strain.
K&OJ is a 20 track project with features on only 4 of them. These artists include Big Krit, Currensy, Killa Kyleon, Johnny Juliano, and Nesby Phips. My favorite of these tracks is “Glass House”, ironically because of Currensy’s verse. Wiz definitely holds his own here as all 3 rappers spit that fly shit, but it’s Currensy’s choice to rap uptempo as opposed to going with his conventional slow paced, conversational rapping. I really enjoyed “Spotlight” featuring Killy Kyleon for one major reason. Many people don’t realize the irony in Kyleon’s verse when he raps that all of his women are bad like “Amber Rose/ Kim Kardash type”. Wiz actually went on to marry Amber Rose years after the release of this project! That’s a hell of a coincidence.
As you can see, I can write forever about what makes this legendary mixtape….legendary. But for the sake of time and your attention span, I’ll stop here. Kush & Orange Juice is a great tape to go back and listen to and it will be the theme for my summer 2016.
Junky Locker’s Favorite 3 Tracks
- Never Been
- Glass House