Today, Wiz Khalifa released his major label debut Rolling Papers. Among the guests on the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania emcee's anticipated release is Curren$y, a close friend and industry mentor who appears on "Rooftops" . Recently, HipHopDX spoke with Wiz at Philadelphia's Wired 96.5 FM studios about Curren$y, who just signed with Warner Brothers, a place that was home to Khalifa for over two years, despite not releasing a full-length from the rapper. Asked if he had any concern for Spitta's move, Wiz explained, "When I heard about [Curren$y signing to Warner Brothers Records], I told him congratulations. I know they've got new people over [at Warner]. That's one thing. And I rock with Curren$y; that's my people, regardless of what situation he's in or what he's doin'. I always want to see him do good. And I know, him as a person, he's not gonna set himself up for failure. So I just trust him with that." Although Wiz and Warner were never able to achieve much success together outside of hit single "Say Yeah" , that has little to do with Curren$y. "Even if it was a bad situation, he'd still be my man."
In the last year, Wiz Khalifa has ascended the ranks from a perceived rookie to one of Hip Hop's biggest stars. In December of last year, Wiz and Rostrum Records label-mate Mac Miller performed two sold out shows at Pittsburgh's newly-opened Stage AE, an American Eagle-backed venue on the city's North Shore. Asked about the impact of selling out a large venue back-to-back nights after years of opening for touring acts in his city, Wiz noted, "It was a big deal opening for Nas [at University of Pittsburgh in 2007], and it's a big deal doing my thing [as a headliner] at the Stage AE. When we do Mellon Arena, it's gonna be a big thing...when we do Starlake Ampitheater, it's gonna be bigger and bigger. I'm just glad that my fans and everybody who supported me from the beginning, we all get to grow together."
Looking back at his rise, Wiz was also asked about lyrical moments within Rolling Papers. While present hit single "Roll Up" might be more Pop than some Taylor Gang fans favor, Wiz maintains that he still busts down bars on his Atlantic Records project. "'The Race' is definitely a lyrical moment, 'Star of The Show'...I got a lot of different stuff when I go deep and say different things, but a lot of my growth and development as an artist has been taking things that are really complex and make them seem simple. So the way that I say things on [Rolling Papers] might come across as really easy to listen to, but if you dig deep or go back, I want people to find [my lyricism too]."
Lastly, with fellow DXnext alum and label-mate Mac Miller rising within Hip Hop, and also releasing digital EP On & On today, Wiz was asked if Rostrum Records can do for the Steel City what Ruthless Records did for Compton, or what No Limit and Cash Money Records afforded New Orleans. "I think Rostrum can be a vehicle for great music, period. [Rostrum founder and CEO] Benjy [Grinberg] works really hard and he knows what's really important. He's not just trying to sign artists before they blow up. We work hands-on with everything, so it takes a lot of time and a lot of attention," said Wiz. As far as joining those aforementioned dynasties, the humble emcee said,"It can get to that point."
Rolling Papers is in stores today.
Filming by Zac Shull.