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Posted at 1:14 PM ET, 11/19/2010

In concert: Wiz Khalifa at 9:30 Club

By David Malitz

wiz khalifaUpstart rapper Wiz Khalifa usually has one thing on his mind. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

“We just came out here to party and have a good time,” Wiz Khalifa told a sold-out 9:30 Club early in his set on Thursday night. This isn’t exactly something you would expect to hear from N.W.A. or Public Enemy, or Jay-Z or Eminem, or T.I. or Gucci Mane. The 23-year-old Pittsburgh rapper has become one of the genre’s fastest rising stars not because of any revolutionary ideas, virtuosic rapping ability or street credibility. It’s because he simply seems like a fun dude to hang out with -- who happens to smoke lots and lots and lots of marijuana.

Weed is a way of life for Khalifa. (It even got him arrested earlier this month in North Carolina.) His current tour is dubbed the Waken Baken tour -- as in wake up, get baked -- the name emblazoned on a giant backdrop featuring drawings of the leafy green substance. His songs are almost exclusively about being high or getting high. His idea of branching out is the tattoo-ode “Ink My Whole Body.” A song like “Up” was much more the norm, though. “Everything’s better when you’re high/If you don’t smoke, I don’t know why.” Points for being straightforward.

wiz khalifa

For someone who is so perpetually stoned, Khalifa somehow has plenty of energy. Backed by a DJ and five-member crew, Khalifa bounced across the stage and even worked up a bit of a sweat. He started the show -- the first of two sold-out performances Thursday -- wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, stripped down to a white tank top and ended up shirtless, showing off his completely inked torso. His charisma is undeniable; talent is a bit more in question. His lyrics aren’t especially clever, his delivery is appropriately laidback but nothing like the lost-in-the-haze drawl of fellow pot-obsessive Devin the Dude, and the beats he uses are notable mostly for how simple and unobtrusive they are.

His best talent, in fact, is branding. His fans -- almost all of them college-aged -- seemed trained to cheer whenever he dropped one of his slogans. He calls his crew Taylor Gang (as in, Chuck Taylor shoes) and drew applause every time he said “T.G.O.D.” (Taylor Gang Or Die.) His default banter was to simply say “Smoke weed every day!” but that got louder cheers than most of his songs. He tossed rolling papers into the crowd and waved Wiz Khalifa-branded Terrible Towels -- a take-off of the famous version used by fans of his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers -- during “Black and Yellow.” The show was over after just an hour and the audience quickly filed out. There’s little question what most of them were going to do once they got back to the dorms.

wiz khalifa

wiz khalifa

wiz khalifa

By David Malitz  | November 19, 2010; 1:14 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags:  Wiz Khalifa  
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Teenybopper stoners, listening to "music", getting preached at by a stoned, tattoo-obsessed kid in clown clothes who is preaching partying to a lot of white, well-off college teenyboppers. (I'd like to know just how many black folks there were in the audience) So, this is what students do in their spare time: I doubt if many of 'em can read and write...but, YO! De lil' muddahs SHO CAN ROCK 'n ROLL! (joints)

Posted by: chiappe | November 19, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The only thing worse that "teenybopper stoners" is people who clearly have nothing worth living for rather than searching for articles to bash on the internet. If your not interested in the article, don't click it. It only makes you look like an ignorant (possible racist) fool with too much time on his hands.

Posted by: tjteschko | November 19, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

it'll be my pleasure , the guy's simply doing what he enjoys to do and speaks his mind on it, its nothing new but himself n the game, and of course his consistency in his subject matter. lol, i have no doubt in my mind the college students that participated didn't roll up ,spark up , rockin' ta Wiz long before the show(i know i was and would have been)Then would come back n get back on my studies,(high as hell). This world today and its views on how and what you are suppose to do to survive has to me personally got people side tracked from just being able to enjoy life but know when and what time it is to work .weed has never been able to physically, nor mentally stop me from achieving any goal or anything at that, that i wanted to do.
lol it makes no since ...people will forever be HATERS!!! i say just keep doing ya thing bruh

Posted by: smileytattem | November 19, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

This "music" that you're hating on, and the 1.5 million fans that go with it, is the next big thing. You realize that this kid worked his ass off to be where he is, I mean he blew up with his best work on mixtapes. How many artists can you look at and say that? This kid's a lot realer than any of the people you're listening to, the only thing that can bring him down is himself.

So go on and hate but I think that in ten years people will know pittsburgh as the epitome of new rap music and concepts. Honestly, see how many Taylor Gang kids blow up out of the 412 in the next few years.

Posted by: lockdownchase | November 19, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Dear chiappe,

First off, I am a college student at Pitt that listens and loves taylor gang. Secondly, I take offense to "I doubt if many of 'em can read and write". Seeing as you have a loose grip on the English Language I don't see you in any position to criticize us for enjoying Wiz's music, ie your excessive comma usage, excessive and wrong colon usage, incorrect usage of parenthesis and redundancies in an attempt to create humor. You are not funny sir, no one is impressed by your vaguely racist comments. If you had listened to Wiz for as long as many of his fans have you would find joy in his success. In conclusion, Taylor Gang or let Stevie Wonder drive you around.

Posted by: CourageToGrow | November 19, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Dear Chiappe,
Hatin is what you do and you suck at it.
Dear CourageToGrow,
You are a G. TGoDxJets

Posted by: djdp24 | November 19, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse


You are just another typical, brainwashed American. You have a distorted sense of reality and it is blatantly obvious. CouragetoGrow said it right but I will reiterate it for you! You used commas in the wrong places, you used parenthesis for no reason, and you made assumptions that simply aren't true.

I too am a college student. I listen to Wiz Khalifa on a regular basis. I also smoke Marijuana on a regular basis. Does that mean that I am uneducated? NO! It says nothing about my intelligence whatsoever. In fact I bet that I can do anything that you can do, only better, while I am high. You don't have the slightest clue about marijuana use. You have the "Reefer Madness" propaganda imprinted in your brain.

Cannabis is the one plant that can save the world. It has over 2,500 more viable uses than just smoking it to get high. Cure for multiple diseases, it will reduce greenhouse gases, used as fuel, far more superior clothing, building materials, medicine, toys; and the list goes on and on, and on.

So you should probably retract your previous statement, take your pathetic @$$ back to school, educate yourself about the world we live in, and then come back and tell me what you learned.

@CourageToGrow- Nothing but Respect!! It is a shame that WE have to prove ourselves to the IDIOTS of the world!! TGOD


Posted by: TGOD | November 22, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

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