Wiz Khalifa

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Wiz Khalifa
Wiz Khalifa 7, 2012.jpg
Khalifa performing at Under the Influence of Music Tour 2012 in Toronto.
Background information
Birth name Cameron Jibril Thomaz
Born (1987-09-08) September 8, 1987 (age 26)
Minot, North Dakota, United States
Origin Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupations Rapper, singer, actor
Years active 2005–present
Labels Rostrum, Taylor Gang, Atlantic, Warner Bros.
Associated acts Chevy Woods, Curren$y, Juicy J, Mac Miller, Snoop Dogg, Smoke DZA, Ty Dolla Sign, Yelawolf
Website wizkhalifa.com

Cameron Jibril Thomaz (born September 8, 1987), better known by the stage name Wiz Khalifa, is an American rapper and singer-songwriter. He released his debut album, Show and Prove, in 2006, and signed to Warner Bros. Records in 2007. His Eurodance-influenced single, "Say Yeah", received urban radio airplay, charting on the Rhythmic Top 40 and Hot Rap Tracks charts in 2008.[1]

Khalifa parted with Warner Bros. and released his second album, Deal or No Deal, in November 2009. He released the mixtape Kush and Orange Juice as a free download in April 2010; he then signed with Atlantic Records.[2] He is also well known for his debut single for Atlantic, "Black and Yellow", which peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. His debut album for the label, Rolling Papers, was released on March 29, 2011.[3] He followed that album with O.N.I.F.C. on December 4, 2012 which was backed by the singles "Work Hard, Play Hard" and "Remember You".

Early life

Khalifa was born Cameron Jibril Thomaz in Minot, North Dakota on September 8, 1987 to a mother and a father serving in the military.[1][4] His parents divorced when Khalifa was about three years old. His parents' military service caused him to move regularly. Khalifa lived in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan before settling in Pittsburgh where he attended Taylor Allderdice High School.[1][5]

His stage name is derived from Khalifa, an Arabic word meaning "successor", and wisdom, which was shortened to Wiz when Khalifa was a young boy.[6] Khalifa stated to spinner.com that the name also came from being called "young Wiz 'cause I was good at everything I did, and my granddad is Muslim, so he gave me that name; he felt like that's what I was doing with my music." He got a tattoo of his stage name on his 17th birthday.[7][8] He cites Jimi Hendrix, Camp Lo, The Notorious B.I.G. and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony as musical influences.[9]

Career

2005–08: Early mixtapes and Show and Prove

Rostrum Records president Benjy Grinberg first heard about Wiz Khalifa in 2004 when the rapper's contribution to a mixtape of various new Pittsburgh artists attracted his interest.[10] When Grinberg finally met the 16-year-old artist, he immediately decided he wanted to work with him, later telling HitQuarters: "Even though he wasn’t all the way developed you could just tell that he was a diamond in the rough, and that with some polishing, guidance and backing he could become something special."[10] Khalifa signed to the label shortly after and began a seven-year period of artist development.[10]

Khalifa released his first mixtape, Prince of the City: Welcome to Pistolvania, in 2005. The mixtape paved the way for his first full length album entitled Show and Prove in 2006. Khalifa was declared an "artist to watch" that year in Rolling Stone magazine.[11][12]

In 2007, Khalifa signed to Warner Bros. Records and released two mixtapes through Rostrum Records: Grow Season, hosted by DJ Green Lantern and released on July 4, 2007, and Prince of the City 2, released on November 20, 2007. His debut Warner Bros. single "Say Yeah" reached number 25 on the Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 music chart and number 20 on Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks. The song samples "Better Off Alone" by Alice Deejay. Khalifa's vocals from "Say Yeah" appear near the end of Pittsburgh mash up producer Girl Talk's 2008 album, Feed the Animals, over music from Underworld's "Born Slippy", Usher's "Love in This Club", and the Cure's "In Between Days".[13] Khalifa appeared with The Game, David Banner and Play-n-Skillz at U92's Summer Jam at the USANA Amphitheatre in West Valley City, Utah on August 2, 2008.[14] Khalifa released the mixtapes Star Power in September 2008, and Flight School in April 2009 on Rostrum Records.

Khalifa parted ways with Warner Bros. Records in July 2009 after numerous delays in releasing his planned debut album for the label, First Flight. Khalifa stated to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that, "I learned a lot during my time there and matured as an artist during the process. I'm happy to be moving on with all of my material and having the chance to be in control of my next moves".[15] Khalifa appeared with Girl Talk, Modey Lemon, Donora, Grand Buffet, and Don Caballero at the Amphitheatre at Station Square in Pittsburgh on July 31, 2009, where he announced that his relationship with Warner Bros. was over.[16]

2009–10: Deal or No Deal and signing with Atlantic Records

Photograph of Wiz Khalifa
Wiz Khalifa performing at Columbia University in New York City in April 2010.

Continuing his association with Rostrum Records, Khalifa released the single "Teach U to Fly", and the mixtape How Fly, a collaboration with New Orleans rapper Curren$y, on August 9, 2009.[15] Khalifa introduced a more melodic style on the mixtape, alternating between singing and rapping. He opened for Wu-Tang Clan member U-God at the 2009 CMJ Music Marathon in New York City.[17] Khalifa released the mixtape Burn After Rolling on November 2, 2009, where he raps over familiar beats from other artists, including the songs "If I Were A Boy" and "Diva" by Beyoncé, "Walking on a Dream" by Empire of the Sun, "Luchini AKA This Is It" by Camp Lo, and "Best I Ever Had" by Drake.[18] Khalifa released his second album, Deal or No Deal, on November 24, 2009.[19]

Khalifa performed at Emo's in Austin, Texas in March 2010 as part of the 2010 South by Southwest Music Festival.[20] He appeared on the cover of XXL magazine that same month, for the magazine's annual list of Top 10 Freshman, which included Donnis, J. Cole, Pill, Freddie Gibbs, and Fashawn. Wiz Khalifa was named 2010 "Rookie Of The Year" by "The Source", with alongside Rick Ross, "The Man Of The Year".[21] He toured with rapper Yelawolf on a 20-date tour, the Deal Or No Deal Tour.[22] Khalifa released the free mixtape Kush and Orange Juice for download on June 14, 2010. Due to Khalifa's devoted grassroots fan base, the mixtape became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter with the hash tag #kushandorangejuice, and "Kush and Orange Juice download” ranked No. 1 on Google’s hot search trends.[23]

Citing music industry insiders, New York magazine wrote that Khalifa signed with Atlantic Records in April 2010, although the rapper did not confirm it.[24] He stated to AllHipHop in June 2010 that he was working on a new album, but was weighing his options and had not yet decided on a label to distribute it.[25] Khalifa confirmed to MTV on July 30 that he was signing an Atlantic Records deal.[26]

Wiz Khalifa on stage
Wiz Khalifa on stage in Boston in August 2010.

Khalifa was featured in a remix and video for the 2010 Rick Ross single "Super High", alongside Curren$y.[27] He guested on the mixtape Grey Goose, Head Phones, and Thirsty Women by St. Louis rapper M.C,[28] and was featured on the track "The Breeze (Cool)" on rapper Wale's August 2010 mixtape More About Nothing.[29] Khalifa was named MTV's Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010, winning with nearly 70,000 votes, and beating out finalists Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, Travis Porter, and Diggy Simmons.[30]

Khalifa appeared at the Soundset 2010 festival in May 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, alongside Method Man & Redman, Del the Funky Homosapien and Hieroglyphics, Atmosphere, Murs, Cage, and others.[31] He also performed at the 2010 Rock the Bells festival, along with hip hop veterans Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, Lauryn Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Rakim, KRS-One, Jedi Mind Tricks and Slick Rick.[32] Khalifa declined an invitation to tour with rapper Drake and launched his own Waken Baken Tour, a 50-city national tour with rapper Yelawolf. His official DJ on the tour was DJ Bonics.[33]

The tour, scheduled to last from September to November 2010, has, as of October, sold out every venue.[9] In November 2010, during his "Waken Baken" tour at East Carolina University, Wiz Khalifa was arrested for possession and trafficking of marijuana. He was then released the next morning after a $300K bail, and resumed his tour. Khalifa performed in a cypher during the 2010 BET Hip-Hop Awards. He recited his verse from the song, "The Check Point", from his mixtape with Curren$y, How Fly.[34]

2010–12: Mainstream success, Rolling Papers and O.N.I.F.C.

Wiz Khalifa at SXSW in 2010

Khalifa released "Black and Yellow", his first single for Rostrum/Atlantic, produced by Stargate, which has received radio airplay.[9][35] The single peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100; the title of the song refers to the colours of the City of Pittsburgh.[36] Khalifa released his debut album with Atlantic Records in 2011.[37] He appeared with Curren$y on the track "Scaling the Building" on producer Ski Beatz' 2010 album, 24 Hour Karate School.[38] Khalifa's record label, Taylor Gang Records, is named after his love of Chuck Taylor All-Stars[9] and his alma mater, Taylor Allderdice High School.

On March 29, 2011, Khalifa released his first studio album, Rolling Papers in the US.[39] The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 197,000 copies in the United States.[40] Shortly afterward on March 31, 2011 Wiz Khalifa performed at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia as part of the school's annual Dooley's Weekend.[41] On June 26, 2011, Khalifa was nominated and won Best New Artist at the BET Awards of 2011.[42] Khalifa collaborated with British rapper Tinie Tempah whom Tinie announced in an interview with Rolling Stone that his next single is to be called "Till I'm Gone" and would feature Wiz Khalifa and is to be produced by Stargate.[43][44] The single and the video song were released at the end of June 2011.[45]

On April 11, 2012, Khalifa announced that he will release his second studio album titled Only Nigga In First Class but that it will be abbreviated as O.N.I.F.C. for release to mainstream markets.[12][46][47] O.N.I.F.C. debuted at number two with 131,000 in first week sales.[48] The album has spawned two singles "Work Hard, Play Hard" and "Remember You" both receiving good commercial acclaim and with the former going platinum. Wiz has also recently talked to rapper 50 Cent, who he collaborated with on the song "Telescope", about making a movie together.[49]

2013-present: Blacc Hollywood

In April 2013, Khalifa revealed that after having his son he decided to work on a new album that he was planning to release in 2013.[50] On April 17, 2013, Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y announced that they will drop their collaboration EP Live in Concert on April 20, 2013. The EP featured seven new songs.[51] On June 24, 2013, he announced that his fifth studio album would be titled Blacc Hollywood and would be released in 2013.[52] On September 3, 2013, Khalifa revealed he had recorded songs with Miley Cyrus and Juicy J for Blacc Hollywood.[53][54] In October 2013, Mannie Fresh confirmed that he provided production for the album.[55] On February 11, 2014, Khalifa released Blacc Hollywood's first single titled "We Dem Boyz".[56] In an interview with Rap-Up on May 22, 2014, Wiz announced that his song with Adele was "just an idea", and that it hadn't been recorded and subsequently wouldn't be on the final cut for Blacc Hollywood.[57] After releasing several "Weedmixes" on SoundCloud, including "Ziplocc"[58] and "Maan!",[59] Wiz took to Twitter to create hype about his new mixtape, 28 Grams, which was due to be released on May 25, 2014. However, Wiz was arrested for marijuana possession the day before, and there were fears that the mixtape would be pushed back. After posting a "jail selfie" and hashtagging "FreeTrapWiz" on Twitter, he was released hours later, meaning the mixtape would go ahead with its intended release date.[60]

Personal life

Khalifa began dating model Amber Rose in early 2011. The couple became engaged on March 1, 2012,[61][62] and married on July 8, 2013, with a wedding celebration planned for later in the year.[63] They have one son, Sebastian Taylor Thomaz, born on February 21, 2013.[64]

Pittsburgh City Council declared 12-12-12 (December 12, 2012) to be Wiz Khalifa Day in the city.[5] Khalifa graduated from Pittsburgh's Taylor Allderdice High School[5] and in January 2012, purchased a home in nearby Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.[65][66]

Khalifa is open about his use of cannabis, and he has claimed in many interviews that he spends $10,000 a month on cannabis, and also smokes daily.[67] As of early 2014, Khalifa no longer pays for cannabis and is sponsored by "The Cookie Factory", a medical marijuana dispenser which sells his "Khalifa Kush" (KK) strain.[68]

Discography

Studio albums
Collaborative albums

Filmography

Film
Year Title Role Notes
2012 Gangs of Roses 2: Next Generation Timmy
Mac & Devin Go to High School Devin
2015 High School 2[69] Devin
Television
Year Title Role Notes
2011 Late Show with David Letterman Himself Musical Guest
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
2012 Master of the Mix Special Guest Star; episode: Final Challenge
Punk'd Season 9, episode 12
This Is How I Made It Season 1, episode 9
2012 Ridiculousness (TV series) Season 2, episode 11
2014 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Musical Guest

Awards and nominations

American Music Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2011 Wiz Khalifa Sprint New Artist of the Year Nominated

BET Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2011 "Wiz Khalifa" Best New Artist Won

Billboard Music Award

Year Recipient Award Result
2012 "Wiz Khalifa" Top New Artist Won
Top Rap Artist Nominated

Grammy Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2012 "Black and Yellow" Best Rap Performance Nominated
Best Rap Song Nominated
2013 "Payphone" (with Maroon 5) Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Nominated
"Young, Wild & Free" (with Snoop Dogg featuring Bruno Mars) Best Rap Song Nominated
2014 "Remember You" (with The Weeknd) Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Nominated

MTV Europe Music Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2011 "Wiz Khalifa" Best New Act Nominated
Best Push Act Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2011 "Black and Yellow" Best New Artist Nominated
2012 "Payphone" (with Maroon 5) Best Pop Video Nominated
2014 "We Dem Boyz" Best Hip-Hop Video Pending

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External links