Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Without Me You’re a Dime, But With Me You’re a Buck Fifty"

One of my buddies from the other side of the state asked me last weekend why I have been sleeping on Wiz Khalifa. He pointed out that a couple weeks ago he took the crown for Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010, beating out Snicki Minaj by almost double 70,000 votes to around 40,000 votes and that his #kushandorangejuice TT is still averaging 78 tweets a day, 4 months after it was released in April.

My reaction to his facts were at first a little disbelief. First, I was shocked that artists like , Donnis or even Yelawolf weren't even in the running for MTV's Hottest Breakthrough artist of 2010 and that J. Cole, Diggy and Travis Porter made a subpar Top 5 showing in the vote. Seems like it turned into a popularity contest, which was a little easier to comprehend when I read Wiz achieved top Google search topic momentarily as well as reach #1 on Twitter with his #kushandorangejuice TT. In other words the MTV vote was more or less a popularity contest and lo and behold, ya boy @REALWIZKHALIFA has one dedicated following (over 250k Twitter followers as well as other fan accounts @wizkhalifa_fans).

Alright dude, maybe you're right, maybe I haven't given him his due and fully jumped on the bandwagon despite making his latest single This Plane a multi-song list top 10 track. As a result, here's a little limelight Wiz, whom you probably know holds down The Steel City to the fullest. He also reps Taylor Gang, that consists of his closest friends, presumably from Taylor Alderdice High School outside of Pittsburgh. What you may not know is that his real name is Cameron Jibril Thomaz, but his stage name Wiz Khalifa comes from the Arabic word khalifa which means successor and Wiz is short for wisdom. Roughly translated, he's a modern day wisdom successor/representative. His last studio album Deal or No Deal reached the #1 Album on iTunes the day it was released in Nov 2009.

Since then he has dropped the aforementioned Kush and Orange Juice mixtape that he provided free via Twitter and Dat Piff. Interesting that Pitchfork gave the mixtape a 7.2/10 grade, noting that it was "suprisingly relaxed and easy listen." My favorite track on the mixtape without a doubt is the very laid back, steadily knockin' Never Been. That beat goes hard on a real chilled out tip...check out the newly filmed video and track below...

Wiz Khalifa - Never Been
| Download

With all the talk of smokin' on every track, there's probably good reason for the chilled out sound of the mixtape. Is it me or does Wiz sound like he is getting real comfortable in the game and sounding more and more like a Hip Hop veteran? I feel like it's almost illegal for him to be called a breakthrough artist when he's done 7 mixtapes prior to Kush and already had a widely known single like Say Yeah.

What's also notable of his growth as an artist is his willingness to try different sounds, like he did on the track Fly Solo below. It's an unreleased track that comes off sounding more like a B.O.B. or Wale track with the live band and guitar sound than anything he's done. As you've probably been able to tell if you read frequently, I really like it when artist push the barriers of music and experiment with different genres. This type of track let's him show off his lyrical talent and very nonchalant, easy delivery, which I feel like I haven't done justice in giving him props for. Couple quoteables too....
"See you be catching feeling’s now and I be catching planes
The story of my life, you’re just another page"
"But everythings good until it goes bad
And your gonna tell all the people about the fun you used to have
It hurts when it don’t last
No easy way saying bye
So I’mma spread my wings and head for the sky"

Wiz Khalifa - Fly Solo

Lots of quality material coming of late from the Wiz kid and there will be no falling asleep at the wheel on his progress from here on out, as I've gained a great deal of respect for not only his talent, but also his underestimated following that has jettisoned his launch into the Hip Hop mainstream. Don't miss him if he's coming to a town near you...I definitely won't miss the Waken Baken tour, especially because Big K.R.I.T. and Yelawolf are opening for him...talk about a 3 for 1 deal...


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