The following list was compiled by ology. He also put together a nice little biography. Good read.. Hit the jump for the full top 15.
Wiz is a revivalist in his own right–the protege of everything that hype-rap should be, and should have been–and he has quickly shoved through the muck and leftovers of the genre’s fallout to the foreground where he continues to demand attention among the industry, fans, and contemporaries. His debut single “Say Yeah” which featured a sample from Alice Deejay’s pop hit “Better off Alone” snagged him his first slice of the limelight and a 20 spot on Billboard’s “Hot Rap Tracks” in 2007, and the various mixtapes he’s released to date continue to build a dedicated following that is spreading the word. His cameo appearances and collaborations with rap VIPs such as Curren$y and Rick Ross prove his worth in the eyes of the industry, and MTV named him the Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010 over finalists J. Cole and Nicki Minaj.
It’s wrong to say that Mr. Ez Wider is fighting his way to the top, because when you revel in the talent of his rapping, his endeavor almost seems effortless. His sound is best defined by the masterful beats and production courtesy of his contemporary Sledrin, and his beats often have techno and house aspects running behind the energetic drums and samples. Khalifa possesses a relaxed flow that can almost be humorous at times, and projects a confident personality that sets him aside from the cocky gun-blazing money-rap attitude that has become so overplayed within the last few years. He is a natural lyricist capable of the occasional creative wordplay, but it’s his ability to write catchy harmonic hooks that capture the fun-loving quality of his music, though the lyrical content is typical to the urban-rap genre. He projects diversity in the occasional rap-R&B hyrbid, such as can be seen on his latest mixtape, Kush and Orange Juice, and despite weaving pop genre characteristics into some tracks, he retains a consistent street tone to his music.
Khalifa is the product of mainstream rap working with the more intellectual underground hip-hop movement that is emerging from its underestimated genre, and his multiple cameos with a myriad of both popular and unknown artists shows how he acts as a liason between the two genres that have quarreled for popularity with one another in the past. Khalifa fever continues to spread as he embarks this month on his 50 city “Waken Baken” tour, and the Pittsburgh MC will certainly draw throngs of fans in the wake he leaves behind. As with every artist, the music is in a constant evolution, whether simple or complex, and I recommend returning to Wiz’s roots in each of the Prince of the City albums to get an understanding of where he is coming from. Expectations couldn’t be higher, and the boundaries of popular rap continue to disappear beneath his steaming footprints. Though he goes by many names, “Mr. Look the F*** Out” is the most fitting, for the products of his efforts only continue to blindside the lofty expectations we’ve set for him.
With such an extensive discography, it’s hard to pick and choose, but here’s a countdown of my Top 15 tracks from Mr. Ez Wider (You’ll notice once more why I stress that newcommers begin with his earlier work):
15. “Youngin’ On His Grind” – Promo Single (Music Video)
14. “The Statement” – Kush and Orange Juice (Music Video)
13. “Oh No” – Prince of the City: Welcome to Pistolvania
12. “Self Titled” – Prince of the City: Welcome to Pistolvania
11. “Do Sumthin’” – Prince of the City: Welcome to Pistolvania
10. “Smokin Good” – Prince of the City 2
9. “Keep the Conversation ft. Boaz” – Show and Prove
8. “Thrown” – Prince of the City: Welcome to Pistolvania
7. “The Thrill (sample from Empire of the Sun)” – Burn After Rolling
6. “Poppin Rubberbands” – Prince of the City 2
5. “Say Yeah” – Promo Single (Music Video)
4. “I Still Remember” – Prince of the City 2
3. “Head To The Sky ft. Kev Da Hustla and S. Money” – Prince of the City 2
2. “Goodbye” – Deal or No Deal (Music Video)
1. “Should I Feel Bad” – Prince of the City 2
Wiz and the Taylor Gang have released a total of eight mixtapes since beginning in 2005. He has released two albums, Show and Prove, and Deal or No Deal, on Rostrum Records, and is set to release his third LP on Atlantic Records in 2011. The single “Black and Yellow” was recently released, and holds promise for what is to come. Listen below: