This week Wiz Khalifa is releasing his third (!) studio album Blacc Hollywood, which follows the similarly pro-black upper class sentiment of his second album Only Nigga in First Class. The album does not deviate too far from the music of Wiz Khalifa’s entire career: weed, women and bros. The latter is covered in Chicago drill indebted “We Dem Boyz,” the topic of women is heard on the early “Promises” and, well, “weed” is covered by the fact Mr. Khalifa has his own brand (Khalifa Kush) of the stuff. He’s got his friends, wife and his own peculiar niche hobby, could he be even more dad if he tried? Wiz Khalifa moved from simply being a highly successful stoner to rap’s foremost normcore dad.
Wiz Khalifa’s musical personas retained a consistent fluidness by never becoming too locked down into a specific sense of dress or musical aesthetic. Back in 2006 he was sporting black tall tees, then in 2008 he got a fluke minor hit single called “Say Yeah” that sampled the trance hit “Better Off Alone” by Alice DeeJay years before EDM was codified. Eventually, Wiz shed these clothes and musical tastes to become a veritable “weed rapper.” Weed was his alpha and omega. The video for “Memorized” from his Kush and OJ tape with its many bong rips, fast cars and casual mall browsing became the Wiz Khalifa that still exists in 2014: a kush-reeking skeletal teddy bear.
The loving side of Wiz Khalifa appeared at the forefront of his video for “Roll Up,” his follow-up to #1 hit “Black and Yellow.” In the guy side piece anthem, Wiz sings the puppy-eyed hook “I could be your best friend / I could be your homie” in dissing guys that don’t know to respect their girlfriends. Though in the video he’s courting Bad Boy Records singer Cassie, Wiz had started seeing the model Amber Rose in 2011. The relationship withstood plenty of mockery from gossip gawkers who saw this beautiful model — and former partner of Kanye West — with this lanky goofy stoner as more of a joke than potential celebrity power couple. A year later, however, they were married and have since produced a cute son named Sebastian.
Rap does not have a dearth of dads. Even some its youngest stars like Chief Keef are fathers and have devoted recording booth and Instagram time to their young ones. Wiz Khalifa in a way stands apart from other rap dads because he excels in capturing the charming lameness of being a father.
That lameness might be in showing public affection:
Dressing Like This:
And just to be sure again dressing like this:
Or even tweeting this:
you do it for the hate.
such a shame.
you and your dog look cute together.
— We Dem Boyz (@wizkhalifa) August 19, 2014
That Wiz Khalifa dresses like everyone’s favorite great-aunt or a 1977 punk rocker is a pretty hard line to oscillate between. He’s simultaneously going through a pre-mature mid-life crisis at 26 and settling into domesticity. The beautiful part of parenthood after a while is that ability to give no fucks about such trivial matters. Do most dads care that their pants never fit and that wearing gym shoes for all occasions isn’t appropriate? Nope! Parenthood doesn’t reward caring about coolness and once Sebastian is old enough to comprehend old pictures of his dad from back in 2006 where he’s wearing a tall tee will be just as humorous as dad rocking the world’s skinniest pants.
On Blacc Hollywood, such dadisms are almost every line that comes from Wiz’s mouth (see: the entirety of “We Dem Boyz”). Nearly all of Wiz’s poor rapping could have been the thoughts of a too high stoner. Now bound in a relationship, these lines take on a goofy sweetness. That tenderness has always been a quality of Wiz Khalifa’s music; it is rare for him to publicly beef with other rappers and he is constantly reaching out to younger and lesser-known artists. Wiz Khalifa never forgot he used to just be another rapper in Pittsburg and always tries to please his fans with generous mixtape offerings alongside his more divisive major label releases. That humbleness lyrically might not shine through but is obvious in his entire persona and desire to provide a sustainable living for his young family. It’s not hard to love him when he can find tenderness in a song called “Ass Drop” because Wiz Khalifa even at his most lewd has a marshmallow heart.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 22, 2014