Wiz Khalifa is sitting, or, more accurately, smoking rather pretty right now. The 28-year-old Pittsburgh rapper flawlessly survived (with a little bit of help from Amber Rose’s finger’s GPS history) Lord Yeezus’ now-infamous Twitter onslaught; officially owns the world’s coolest pants; ended a bitter custody battle over his son, Sebastian; and just dropped arguably his best studio album since his 2006 debut, Show and Prove. With 13 tracks and a runtime slightly more than 50 minutes, Khalifa, Wiz’s sixth studio album, is chock-full of the wake-and-bake, perennially stoned rapping that turned Wiz into music’s most venerable stoner since Willie Nelson.Wiz Khalifa rating graphic

As soon as the album begins, it’s clear that Wiz wants to remind his once-fans, the non-TGOD diehards who have dismissed him as a legitimate rapper since he began his transition from the street grind to the radio-play hustle, that he indeed still has the flow that, 10 years ago, made him the soundtrack to every and anyone’s vehicular hotboxing. The first track, “BTS,” showcases Wiz at his simple, self-motivational best: “Try to be the best that I can/ They got the right decisions, handle business like a man/ You know I try to do shit with my heart/ They talk but I don’t listen, I just finish what I start.” He also, in the most Lil Wayne way possible, has a way of somehow pulling off the cheesiest punchlines of all time (and I’m ashamed that I’ve been walking around with this stuck in my head): “Pull up in the Phantom, paparazzi taking pictures/ Sellin’ so much swag we should be your swag vendor.” I guess it really is time for “swag” to make its comeback as a staple of modern-day English conversation.

The Khalifa hit parade is long-lasting and undeniably fun. “Elevated” is the quintessential Wiz anthem, with an inspirational hook and escalating lyrics that lead to what is possibly the album’s most standout line (one that epitomizes Wiz Khalifa): “marijuana, steam sauna, young n—- from the bottom/ Cracking lobster, eating pasta, you would think that he a mobster.” “Cowboy,” a nostalgic ode to the tough Pittsburgh environment that created Mr. Khalifa, is Wiz’s most technically impressive rapping in recent memory. “Bake Sale,” “Make a Play,” “Most of Us,” “Lit” and “No Permission” are certified bangers and foolproof aux-cord material. “Zoney” features the album’s most memorable, immeasurably adorable moment, as Wiz’s son, Sebastian, hops on the mic and says various phrases as instructed by Wiz. As young Sebastian wins over hearts while offering quotables like “Taylor Gang,” “TGOD” and “I love you, Daddy,” Khalifa draws the aforementioned once-lost Wiz fans back to Taylor Gang sidelines.

However, the album is neither flawless nor iconic. “Celebrate,” the album’s second song, presents nothing memorable and features a forgettable Rico Love hook. “Call Waiting” is dope for the first minute and a half of Wiz singing over a groovy island beat but grows old over its four-minute runtime and could have been better utilized as an interlude of sorts. Certain songs beg for bigger-name features. Courtney Noelle, J.R. Donato and Rico Love, while not bad, are far from the type of headline-grabbing artists that make listeners yearn for a follow-up collaboration. Fortunately, the album’s lows are low in number and fail to take away from what’s an overall enjoyable work.

Being completely transparent, I went into this album fully expecting not to like it. Over the past five years or so, Wiz really hasn’t been putting out the sort of content to warrant his level of success or fandom. However, Khalifa truly is a departure from Wiz’s streak of disappointment; his sixth studio album sounds like that of an artist who has matured rather than regressed over the past 10 years.