Wiz Khalifa - Cabin Fever (Taylor Gang/Atlantic, 2011)
With no promotion and no release date to be heard of, Wiz Khalifa finally released his year-long delayed Cabin Fever today, a mixtape I thought was nothing more than a myth at one point. After the incredible marketing plan behind Kush & Orange Juice, and the fact that Wiz has the number one song in the country, I was absolutely shocked by this when I came home and turned on my laptop. I’ve been wondering about its status as a release lately, especially after Taylor Gang dropped and carried the same vibe as the title track present here, which was first released in an unmastered form in February of 2010. I’m pleased to say (for myself, maybe not so much you) that Cabin Fever is nine tracks featuring that same signature 808s and bass-heavy aesthetic.
Lex Luger produced a large chunk of this mixtape, which may not sit well with those who weren’t feeling their first collaboration. Personally, I approve of Taylor Gang, and I think their union here, although not perfect, is certainly interesting. Wiz is more capable of riding a Lex beat than Kanye, Jay, or French Montana, but he’s certainly not tailor-fitted (no pun) for it. I don’t think he ever becomes overwhelmed by the production despite the stark contrast between his delivery and the instrumentals that Lex provided here - he’ll never be able to master the Zen of Luger, or get in Lex’s lexicon (PAUSE?), but as far as I’m concerned he’s more than sufficient enough and the final product sounds quite good.
Drumma Boy also makes an appearance hear, adding the left-field intro Phone Numbers which features a dope Trae verse and a intolerable Big Sean verse. After hearing Sean’s verses here (he also appears on Gang Bang, which is pretty great aside from Sean’s attrocious rapping), I’m pretty deadset on crowning Sean as one of the worst rappers alive. It’s just so awkward hearing him try to rap over these bass-heavy instrumentals, raising his voice to a pitch that resembles a foreign language teacher cursing at a student in a shitty teen movie. Thankfully, Wiz has some other guests here, including the promising young Chevy Woods who I am not familiar with outside of his three features here, all of which stand well on their own. Wiz is actually bringing back some of his original humor on some of these tracks, such as the one that breaks away from the formula of this tape the most, Middle Of U; at one point, Wiz spits smoking loud weed, yeah that Leonidas. Come on, that’s fucking clever.
This isn’t Wiz’s best tape, but it’s certainly one of hist most consistent. It’s targeted at a very niche audience, but at a short nine tracks and with plenty of great beats and some genuinely good rapping from Wiz in spots (as well as Chevy, Juicy J, and Trae), Cabin Fever is definitely worth your time.
Tracklist x Production Credits (by request)
1. Phone Numbers (feat. Trae and Big Sean) (prod. Drumma Boy)
2. Cabin Fever (prod. ??? - I wish I knew, it’s hardbody [do kids still say that? pause])
3. GangBang (feat. Big Sean) (prod. Lex Luger)
4. Errday (feat. Juicy J) (prod. Lex Luger)
5. Taylor Gang (feat. Chevy Woods) (prod. Lex Luger)
6. Hustlin’ (prod. Lex Luger)
7. Middle Of U (feat. Chevy Woods) (prod. ??? - it’s definitely not Lex - OR IS IT? I’m hoping no. Could it be Johnny Juliano?)
8. WTF (prod. Lex Luger)
9. Homicide (feat. Chevy Woods) (prod. Justice League? I heard a “Justice” tag, and I don’t think it’s the French-dance band)