From the Vault: My interview with Wiz Khalifa for Idolator.
Originally posted on March 29, 2011.
Wiz Khalifa currently has the #1 song on iTunes, “No Sleep”, and it’s safe to say his debut full-length album, Rolling Papers — out today! — will waft toward the top of the charts as well. We can think of no better (legal) way to celebrate Wiz’s album release day than by posting our exclusive interview with the generous rapper, conducted at a private bash at The Gramercy Hotel in New York. So what did MTV’s big man on campus have to say about fame, Hannibal Lecter, and — brace yourselves for a shocking revelation — smoking marijuana? Experience the contact high along with us in our interview below.
Needless to say, the “Taylor Gang Or Die”-themed event (taken from Wiz’s crew motto) was a good time, with plenty of drinking, mingling, and — surprise, surprise! — a little inhaling also (on Wiz’s part, that is). Here’s what the “Rooftops” dweller had to say to us:
IDOLATOR: I just watched your episode of “When I Was 17” on MTV, where you said you had your own song playing at your prom. It seems like celebrities always say “I never expected this” about their fame, but did you have any idea of where’d you be now?
WIZ KHALIFA: Well, I knew what I was working towards, I knew what I hoped for. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to get there, or what it was going to feel like when it happened. I didn’t know what age I was going to be, or what clothes I was going to be wearing, but I hoped it’d happen. So you know, it’s all you can do, living day-to-day.
And is it any different than what you expected back then? What’s the fantasy versus reality of the situation?
I never put it too up there, you know what I’m saying? I always tried to keep a clear head about it. The difference is, you know, how real it is. The only detachment from it is how detached people themselves get. If you don’t want to get that detachment, you can stay really realist, stay grounded, stay working. That’s important.
What does the Taylor Gang mean to you?
It’s all about the lifestyle and it’s all about the following. My whole career has been built on being myself and making people feel good about being themselves. And that’s what Taylor Gang is, people feeling comfortable dressing how they want to and looking how they want to, being who they want to be.
Listening to the Cabin Fever mix tape compared to what we’ve heard off the studio album, it sounds like there might be two different versions of you. Is there more than one Wiz Khalifa?
There’s not really two different versions. That’s me being well-rounded. It’s me covering all angles and doing different things every time. The album Rolling Papers has elements of Cabin Fever, like “On My Level” is more hard, more edgy. And then I got more cool laid-back songs, like on Kush and Orange Juice. And I got more like pop-oriented dance crossovers. So it puts all that together.
Creatively, is there a difference between when you’re high or not high? Do you need to be high to work?
I’m always high.
I don’t want to find out. [laughs]
Do you ever worry having your image being so based around marijuana might limit your fan base?
No, because there’s more people who smoke pot than don’t. And for people who are too young to smoke pot, then they get other things from my music than just the pot, you know, so it balances out. I feel like it does.
And with High School coming out in April, do you have a favorite stoner movie to watch?
All the stoner movies! I love every freakin’ movie about weed that ever existed. Ever.
What about a worst movie to watch under the influence?
A bad movie to watch? Silence of the Lambs. That’s a bad movie to watch, that’s scary shit.
Yeah, I can imagine that’d be a pretty bad one. So how did your collaboration with your co-star Snoop Dogg come about?
Me and Snoop were about to do a video. He was doing a video for his album and then we did the “Black & Yellow” G-mix. And we just kept in touch. He was a real big fan of my movement, and we linked up and started talking about the movie and the soundtrack immediately.
Besides working with Snoop, do you have another dream collaboration?
My dream collaboration is Cam’ron for sure. That’s the next person I’d really like, that I look up to and look forward to working with.
And after “Black and Yellow,” do you think you’ll ever have to pay your way into a Steelers game again?
Who knows? If I do, let’s get it. [laughs]
—Reporting by X. Alexander (@hardinthecity on Twitter)