Pot-smoking Wiz Khalifa says weed's not the point
Rapper Wiz Khalifa makes no secret of his love of marijuana (his latest album is "Rolling Papers") but says in an interview that's not the point. It's all about "embracing who you are." Khalifa performs at Bumbershoot Sunday, Sept. 4.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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Wiz Khalifa9:30 p.m. Sunday at Bumbershoot, KeyArena, Seattle Center; $35-$125 (206-701-1482 or www.bumbershoot.strangertickets.com).
Bumbershoot basicsHours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Monday, at Seattle Center.
Tickets: Buy tickets at Bumbershoot, beginning at 10:30 a.m., at the box offices at the Thomas Street gate (just south of EMP) or the Mercer Street gate (between Bagley Wright and Intiman Theatres); $29-$45 per day; children 10 and younger do not need a ticket.
ST. LOUIS — Wiz Khalifa may be surrounded by a haze of marijuana smoke much of the time, admittedly and unashamedly so, but it didn't stop him from delivering what some say is easily the year's best hip-hop release so far: "Rolling Papers."
The 23-year-old rapper, who headlines at KeyArena on Sunday as part of Bumbershoot, says he knows his image has taken some knocks for being so pro-weed.
"People can have their opinion, and I have been labeled as something," he says. "But it's not a problem. My message is way beyond smoking weed. That's just what I do. I'm about people embracing who they are, whatever they do and whoever they are. Fully embrace that."
Unlike many current hip-hop releases, the smooth "Rolling Papers," which has gone gold and sits in the top 20 on the Billboard hip-hop charts, is easygoing and consistent, sounding like a complete album rather than a collection of disparate singles. And it isn't cluttered with an overwhelming lineup of guest artists.
"Rolling Papers" at times sounds like something Nelly might have recorded. Khalifa recognizes the comparison.
"It's the melodic sense, and the songwriting," he says. "I could relate to it. It's something only a few artists can do."
The first single was "Black and Yellow," a chart-topping hit on the Billboard 100. Its title refers to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I knew 'Black and Yellow' would be a great introduction to the album, but I didn't know it would blow up and be worldwide," he says. "It feels great, but no one can expect that. You just hope for it."
The album was released with a huge amount of buzz and anticipation, thanks to "Black and Yellow" and Khalifa's fierce reputation in underground rap.
"The pressure came after I was done recording," he says. "When it first came out, it was a little nerve-racking. But people understood it and got it for what it was."
There is no doubt some fans at Khalifa's performances will be looking for an Amber Rose sighting. His model girlfriend Rose, whom he referred to as his wife in this interview, made headlines recently for retracting her Vibe cover-story interview, particularly as it relates to comments about her ex, Kanye West.
"The whole Vibe situation is unfortunate," Khalifa says. "But I stand by my wife as far as her feelings, and let her discuss what the specifics are."
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