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March 29, 2011 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 5

Wiz Khalifa gets 'Rolling'
Philly rapper sticks to the usual themes,
but the pop pays off
By Emma Gase I Daily Music EditorI

Film passion
put to the test

Wiz Khalifa has made it. Call
it fitting, then, that the major-
ity of his third album has Wiz
waxing poet-
ic about this
very fortunate **
twist of fate in Wiz Khalifa
his life: He's
famous now, Rolling Papers
and don't you Atlantic
fucking forget
it. He really
couldn't have picked a better
city to be from during this par-
ticular football season, either
- there's no doubt "Black and
Yellow" probably tripled the
amount of exposure for himself,
and for his newest album, Roll-
ing Papers (Lil' Wayne's comical
"Green and Yellow" rebuttle also
probably didn't hurt). But "Black
and Yellow" was a smash, Super
Bowl connections aside, without
the convenient and marketable
associations. Like 2009's Deal or
No Deal, Rolling Papers wants to
be a hit - these songs are asking
for it, no shame. But the differ-
ence is this time - high quality
or not - they kinda are hits.
There's no question that
Wiz has an exceptional ear for
melody. A decent chunk of his
hooks are addictive and aching
to be played in the summer with
the car windows rolled down.
"Wake Up" has him musing on
his rise to the top: "I came up in a
big way / And I hardly ever sleep
/ Well it's like a dream." "Top
Floor" is equal parts sexy R&B
sizzler and lush synthesizer bal-
lad. Wiz's fanbase, the cutely
dubbed "Taylor Gang" (in honor
of Wiz's kicks of choice, Chuck
Taylors), will have nothing to
complain about. But soon after
the initial infatuation with4Roli,
ing Papers the enamored feel-

ings fade away, leaving listeners
with an OK album from a newly
famous rapper whose subject
matter rarely deviates from hip
hop's Big Three: weed, bitches
and money.
Oddly enough, Wiz hits the
mark the most when he sings
rather than raps (if you can call
talking over a beat and occa-
sionally guffawing "rapping").
Despite his shortage of clever
wordplay, Wiz has succeeded in
what Kid Cudi failed to do on
Man on the Moon II - crafted
the truly perfect stoner song.
"The Race" has the same breezy
sonics of his earlier minor hit,
"The Thrill," but where "The
Thrill" gets you on your feet,
"The Race" kicks back, lights a
bong and smokes you out. "The
Race" glides effortlessly with
a synergistic grace, aided by
a slow, buoyant beat and airy
strings, right to the chorus
where Wiz sings, triumphant:
"I'm in the race / And takin' the
winner's place / No foot on the
brakes / One of the best, homie
that's what they call me." But
life's not all champagne and tok-
ing up, as Wiz feels the growing
pains that come with success:
"It's lonely at the top / Got no
company/ So now I just stunt on
my own." Sounds rough.
It's true that the vast major-
ity of Rolling Papers reads like
a carefully executed formula
to crack the Top 40. But to be
honest, a lot of it is successful
by sheer virtue that Wiz has
got something for everyone. He
makes sure there's a number-
one hit ("Black and Yellow"), a
party jam ("No Sleep"), one for
the ladies ("Roll Up") and one for
the potheads ("The Race"). Can't
fault a guy for tryingetoplease,
right? Wrong. No ambition could

tino fa
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"I keep it classy."
ever excuse the presence of "Fly
Solo." This acoustic, gratingly
sunny monstrosity cops the
likes of B.o.B. and Travie McCoy
so hard it could be considered
copyright infringement. "Fly
Solo" is as maddeningly catchy
as it is atrociously generic. What
is a jaunty acoustic guitar and
Dispatch-esque chorus doing on
a Wiz Khalifa record? Nothin'
good, that's what.
It's also no surprise that Wiz's
cheapo chart-grasping sound
comes hand-in-hand with Roll-
ing Papers being his first release
under Atlantic Records. This
really is - in every sense of the
term - his mainstream debut.
And after Atlantic's shameless
mangling of Lupe Fiasco'sLasers
last month, it all makes perfect
sense. Major labels mean a major
push for radio play. It also means
more dough for Wiz, more girls
and more room for him to rest on
-his perma-blazed 'laurels:- but
it doesn't exactly compel him

to push the envelope in style or
Wiz Kahlifa wants to be great.
That's no mystery. And at first
glance, it seems that he has a
decent chance to be able to hang
with hip hop's bigwig up-and-
comers (Drake, Nicki Minaj, J.
Cole). The arrogance, the hedo-
nism, the hooks - they're all
there, and in abundance. But
unfortunately for Wiz, the whole
is not greater than the sum of
the parts. There is no "ah-ha"
moment, no "Holy-shit-this-
dude's-a-genius" realization,
just some top-shelf cheap thrills
courtesy of a skinny guy from
Pittsburgh. Wiz Khalifa perfects
the art of being pretty good, and
when it comes to smoking 'dro,
stealing chicks and partying in
hotel rooms, Wiz is your man.
Whether or not he can cross into
something more significant or
inventive is up to him. Or if the
Steelers go tethe Super Bowl in

ne asked about how I've always loved the film
he learned to be a film- "Jerry Maguire," but not for
maker, Quentin Taran- any highbrow deep reason - it
mously said, "I didn't go is pure entertainment with a
school, I went to films." cleanly delivered message that's
ost easy to consume. When I study
ears "Jerry Maguire" for my screen-
urse- writing class, though, it's some-
s an thing different - it isthe gold
Arts standard of screenplays, one in
ltures which not a word is misplaced or
here at included without reason. When
iversi- Jerry (Tom Cruise) and Doro-
quote thy (Rene Zellweger) witness
to me ANKUR ahearing-impaired man sign,
ot so SOHONI "You complete me" to his girl-
s it friend, my innocent film-going
- the self would see it as simply a cute
nt words of an underper- moment. Now, with a moment
g talent - but rather as like that, the moment is only a
ight of a person who truly seed, from which I expect some-
he craft he's chosen to thing further - like the payoff of
Jerry telling Dorothy the same
ike to think this love is thing at the end of the film.
c, and something unique I used to cherish the sublime
beholder. As hundreds musical moments in film - like
'r students study film the end battle scenes in "Lord
se at the University, it's of the Rings: The Two Towers,"
ting to find so many which I recently watched for
g into college with the an SAC class. The way Howard
ttachment to the screen Shore's score combines with the
save. But my constant slow-motion descent of Gandalf
the one that drives my and the Rohirrim upon the
tion away from those swarm of Uruk-hai at Helm's
udents and the studies Deep - moments like that used
age in - is the concret- to be what film meant to me.
f that attachment and the My heart would jump and never
truction of the love that fully return.
more innocent consum- Now, I look at the film's third
ilm, once thought divine. act and I think of the structural
t is what an education in flaws a screenwriter would
abused, seems to result probably point out. Suddenly I
en you infuse academics feel over-educated.
mething that was once Knowing the tricks film-
entertainment, it can makers use may help me one
e luster that captured day become a filmmaker, but it
the first place. It becomes doesn't help me enjoy my place
an indulgence and more as a filmgoer. It is possible to
ore. know film too well, to the point
where it takes away from the
How IBut there's a reason I've
learned these things - perhaps
i to Sta t is the artist whomustlose his
u tor her enjoyment of the art, only
or ying and to journey and find it again. To
hbecome filmmakers, maybe we
ye the film. have to detach ourselves from
the experience film was once
to us. Even Quentin Tarantino,
in avoiding film school, must
never fallen asleep ina have had to let go of his previ-
theater. But I've fallen ous notions of film and seek out
in many a University through semi-academic studies
rium when movies are -his place on the other side of the
ted as coursework. The screen. Until we fully engross
g discourse about the ourselves in one perspective
nerits and its relation to on the art of film, perhaps both
can suck the excitement of our perspectives will suf-
he experience. fer. Lost in reluctance, we are
ying something you love neither viewer nor artist, but a
es a challenge and a deli- lessened form of both.
lance between necessity Perhaps it's time for me to
oyment, in which we try let go of that reluctance and
vate our interest through embrace my identity as a film
stroying it. Jumping into major with the hope of return-
of film required faith ing to the pure joy film once was
would eventually regain for me. While I can never again
ight that I had in igno- carry the innocence or igno-
- a light at the end of the rance I used to, I can relate to
that I have yet to see. my teenage self, watching "Lord
n I watch a film now, of the Rings" or "The Matrix"
n't wash over me like for the first time. I know that
to - I am constantly there are certain things we
d in the tricks, the strut- understand without ever learn-
d the details within. ing a thing, and to a point, that
that helps me in my for me is the movies.

'U' alum starts up book career


By TIMOTHY RABB really digging into the numbers, I
DailyArts Writer knew I was ready to start my own
According to a study by the The strategy Edwards outlines
Small Business Administra- in "Startup" doesn't rely on "gut
f tion, more than 70 percent of feelings" or snap judgments -
startup businesses fail within her goal is to give people all the
the first 10 years of operation. facts they need to pitch their
The high risk factor that accom- ideas, find appropriate sources
panies these first-time business of funding and ultimately save
ventures scares off plenty of enough money to stay afloat dur-
budding entrepreneurs before ing the critical period of a busi-
they've even taken out a loan, let ness's conception.
alone gotten their feet wet in an "When people don't have
investment. enough information, they natu-
But 'U' alum Elizabeth rally shy away from any sort
Edwards intends to end the mis- of risk-taking," Edwards said.
conceptions of entrepreneur- "Because I'm a numbers geek,
ship with her book "Startup: The I'm trying to help people navi-
Complete Handbook for Launch- gate these calculations in a very
ing a Company for Less." Though step-by-step way, with solid
not a writer by trade (she studied facts."
psychology at the University), On the flipside, she acknowl-
$ Edwards made the "Top 100 edges that entrepreneurship is a
Books for Business - New Busi- double-edged sword, and hopes
ness" list on Amazon during her to prevent would-be risk takers
book's first week on the market, from sinking money into a shaky
and was endorsed by MySpace enterprise.
VP of Technology Michael Cerda "A lot of new entrepreneurs
and Angel Capital Association fall so in love with their ideas that
founder Bill Payne. they never bother to do the math
and ask themselves the hard
question: 'Can I make enough to
-live on with this husiness model?'
Startup' advises ''Edwards said.
'wannabe In spite of the dire need for
concrete information about the
entrepreneurs. odds of a startup's success or
failure, the availability of sta-
tistical data to aid entrepre-
neurs is regrettably inadequate.
Edwards's success in business Edwards's book helps solve
may seem surprising in light of this problem by translating the
her self-descrihed lark of aca- heat research of small husiness
demic experience in the field. But think tanks like the Interns-
her past research in cognitive tional Council for Small Busi-
human behavior at the Universi- ness (ICSB), the United States
ty shares a relationship with her Association for Small Business
current pursuits. and Entrepreneurship (USAS-
"In the Honors Program at the BE) and the studies of university
University's Psychology Depart- professors into accessible terms
ment, I got to participate in a lot that everyone can understand.
of primary research," Edwards Though she includes a wealth
said in an interview with The of third-party information,
Michigan Daily. "Once I grew Edwards isn't just piggyback-
more comfortable with evaluat- ing off others' work. She started
ing the research of others and her own business - a consulting

firm for other startup compa-
nies - in January 2010 and spent
eight months building it from the
ground up before writing "Start-
up." Consequently, the book
combines a wealth of personal
experiences (including her seven
years as a venture capitalist) with
a collection of well-organized
research that leaves no stone
"I'm trying to work with pro-
fessors and educators to get this
information incorporated into
course material," Edwards said.
"The stuff that's out there now is
only useful if you buy 10 different
books and try to extract the few
useful tidbits from each of them."
Among the tips in "Startup"
are guidelines for seeking fund-
ing from venture capitalists, the
average waiting periods for vari-
ous loans and grants and how,
when and where to pitch an idea
to potential investors.
"The crusade that I'm on is to
let people adapt their strategy,"

a class
out of t
cate ba
and enj
to culti
first de
a study
that I a
the del
it does:
it used
ture an
from th
film in

Edwards said. "Often you might
have a panel of judges at your
business plan competition and
all of them are patting you on
the back, telling you what a great
pitch you had, but no one's writ-
ing a check."
"There's a reason, and it has
nothing to do with you," she

ork (not to mention film
lism), it also takes away
he very reason I study
the first place.

Sohoni wants a B.A. from
Michigan Theater. To dissuade
him, e-mail asohoni@umich.edu.

Please join us for a special presentation by
Drew Westen, PhD
Professor, Dept. of Psychology and Psychiatry, Emory University Dr. Westen's major areas of research include
personality and personality disorders in
Personality and Depression in College Students: adolescents and adults, psychotherapy, and
Opportunities for Early Intervention and Treatment political psychology. His book, The Political
Brain, has had a wide influence internationally.

Tuesday, March 29, 3:00-4:00 pm
Rackham Auditorium, 915 E. Washington St.
No charge for attendance-Open to the public

This lecture is presented as part of the U-M Depression
on College Campuses Conference. No registration
is required to attend Dr. Westen's lecture,

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