Wiz Khalifa: Back in “Blacc”
At cookouts, in clubs and just about anywhere else where music at ignorantly high volume levels is tolerated, enthusiastic party people have been heard chanting, “Hold up! Hold up! We dem boys!” The undeniably catchy chorus to Wiz Khalifa‘s latest hit, “We Dem Boyz” has been seemingly inescapable so far this summer. The platinum rapper even upped the ante when he unleashed the star-studded official remix with Nas, Rick Ross, and Schoolboy Q, solidifying “We Dem Boyz’s” spot as one of the top songs of summer 2014.
Having the song of the summer isn’t the only thing Khalifa seems to be focused on these days. His “Under The Influence of Music” Tour starring Jeezy, Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Drama and others is set to tear up every city it touches down in starting July 24th. Then, of course, there’s also Blacc Hollywood, his highly anticipated third album. Due August 19th, the disc, which is Wiz’s first major release since marrying girlfriend Amber Rose and becoming a father is slated to feature appearances from Nicki Minaj, Juicy J, and Ty Dolla $ign. The Pittsburgh representer recently took a break from all that he has going on to chop it up with Life + Times. Here, Wiz Khalifa talks Blacc Hollywood, fatherhood and working with Nas.
Life + Times: Congratulations on the success of “We Dem Boyz.” It’s a really dope record.
Wiz Khalifa: Thank you. When I first heard “We Dem Boyz” it was totally different from what I was hearing from other people. I go to the clubs. I go out a lot, so I hear the types of music people are making. I liked that the record was different. I felt that if I could be the one to bring that sound out it would be awesome. I liked the energy of it.
L+T: Normally when artists get a Nas feature it’s for an introspective or intricate storytelling type of record, but you got Nas to talk his shit on the “We Dem Boyz” remix. Why did Nas come to mind when you were figuring out who to get on the remix?
WK: That’s what’s up. I’m glad you noticed that. I really appreciate that, because that’s the Nas that I grew up on. I grew up on the flashy, Cristal bottle popping Nas. When I got in the studio with him I told him that. I wasn’t necessarily asking him to do that, but I was letting him know that I appreciated that from him. I guess through that conversation it reminded him of that side of himself [laughs].
L+T: Last year, you said Blacc Hollywood would be very 80s and punk-inspired. Was that in regards to the sound of the album or more so the swagger of the album?
WK: Definitely the attitude. Not even just as far as fashion wise, but as far as if you wanted something you had to do it yourself back then. They didn’t really have all the resources that we have now like the Internet or social media. It’s more of an approach where you’re not really waiting or depending on anything for anything. You’re just making all the moves yourself.
L+T: How would you describe the Blacc Hollywood attitude and lifestyle?
WK: That Blacc Hollywood lifestyle is just taking life by the balls and just spinning it around in a circle. It’s really making the best of the moment. It’s being very creative and up to date with everything from your clothing to your videos to whatever projects you’re working on. It’s knowing that you’re going to stand out, you’re going to make your mark and that you’re going to be you. This is what you have in mind and what you bring to the situation. It’s being an individual in a world where so many people are uncomfortable with themselves. It’s rolling with your plan which you already know is the shit.
L+T: Blacc Hollywood is your first major release since getting married and the birth of your son. What effect did fatherhood have on you during the making of the album?
WK: It has really showed me that anything is possible. I work really, really hard and I juggle so much, so being able to handle my responsibilities to my fans and my family as well makes me feel like that much more of an extraordinary individual. It showed me that I can really do all of this. I can stay up all night being in the studio, meet all my deadlines with my label and still run around with my son in the morning, read to him and put him to bed. I can then eat dinner with my wife, make sure she’s okay, watch a movie and then head right back to the studio to do more album stuff. I’m still having fun. I’m really enjoying life and staying inspired. I’m thankful for that.
L+T: Who are some of the producers you worked with for Blacc Hollywood?
WK: I worked with Jim Jonsin, Detail, ID Productions, Sledgren, Arthur McArthur and Stargate. I kept it where I’m comfortable. It’s nothing too, too crazy with the selection of producers.
L+T: You tweeted that Nicki Minaj would be on the album, but her name isn’t on the recently released tracklist. What’s happening with the Nicki record?
WK: She’s definitely on the album. We just had to put out the tracklist a little early and it was before the song she’s on got mastered. The updated tracklist will be out within the next week or so.
L+T: Is it ever difficult figuring out which songs should make a mixtape as opposed to which ones should make an album?
WK: I kind of let nature take its course when it comes to that. I’m an artist that wants the world to hear everything right away, but playing it for different people and hearing different opinions is kind of how I save my album stuff and work on it later to make it bigger and better. There are some instances where I know it’s an album song right away. It all just depends where I’m at.
L+T: What about this upcoming Under The Influence of Music Tour makes you most excited?
WK: I would say I’m most excited about seeing the crowd, because they are always cool as hell. It’s going to be good being on tour with the homies, but knowing how important this is to the fans and being able to pull it off each night for them is pretty amazing.
L+T: You signed Juicy J right before his career resurgence and signed Ty Dolla $ign before his career began to gain traction, so you obviously have an ear for talent. Do you see yourself ever getting more involved in developing talent? Will we be seeing Wiz Khalifa in an A&R role someday?
WK: Yeah. 100%. I’m really comfortable over here at Atlantic Records. I’m actually about to talk to them today. Hopefully I can get a job [laughs].
L+T: What was it about Ty Dolla $ign that convinced you that he would be such a great addition to the Taylor Gang family?
WK: Ty is an incredible writer, producer and creator of music. He’s not just a singer. That’s kind of how I am. I just can’t sing as well [laughs]. I just love the energy he brings. We trust each other. It just made sense for us to come together.
L+T: Can you talk a little about [your weed strain] Khalifa Kush?
WK: Khalifa Kush is the real deal. It’s available in Northern California now, but it’s going to start spreading real soon.
L+T: That seems like such an obvious business venture for Wiz Khalifa, so why is it now that you’re ready to introduce it?
WK: Because it’s legal [laughs].