Wiz Khalifa

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Wiz Khalifa

Khalifa performing Under the Influence of Music Tour 2012 in Toronto.
Background information
Birth nameCameron Jibril Thomaz
Born(1987-09-08) September 8, 1987 (age 25)
Minot, North Dakota, United States
OriginPittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
GenresHip hop, pop
OccupationsRapper, singer, songwriter, actor
Years active2005–present
LabelsRostrum, Taylor Gang, Atlantic
Associated actsSnoop Dogg, Rick Ross, Curren$y, Big Sean, Chevy Woods, Mac Miller, Juicy J, Tinie Tempah, Yelawolf, Maroon 5, Big K.R.I.T.
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Wiz Khalifa

Khalifa performing Under the Influence of Music Tour 2012 in Toronto.
Background information
Birth nameCameron Jibril Thomaz
Born(1987-09-08) September 8, 1987 (age 25)
Minot, North Dakota, United States
OriginPittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
GenresHip hop, pop
OccupationsRapper, singer, songwriter, actor
Years active2005–present
LabelsRostrum, Taylor Gang, Atlantic
Associated actsSnoop Dogg, Rick Ross, Curren$y, Big Sean, Chevy Woods, Mac Miller, Juicy J, Tinie Tempah, Yelawolf, Maroon 5, Big K.R.I.T.

Cameron Jibril Thomaz (born September 8, 1987), better known by the stage name Wiz Khalifa, is an American rapper. He released his debut album, Show and Prove, in 2006, and signed to Warner Bros. Records in 2007. His Eurodance-influenced single, "Say Yeah", received urban radio airplay, charting on the Rhythmic Top 40 and Hot Rap Tracks charts in 2008.[1] Khalifa parted with Warner Bros. and released his second album, Deal or No Deal, in November 2009. He released the mixtape Kush and Orange Juice as a free download in April 2010; he then signed with Atlantic Records.[2] He is also well known for his debut single for Atlantic, "Black and Yellow", which peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. His debut album for the label, Rolling Papers, was released on March 29, 2011.[3]


Early life

Khalifa was born in Minot, North Dakota on September 8, 1987 to a mother and a father serving in the military.[1][4] His parents divorced when Khalifa was about three years old. His parents' military service caused him to move regularly: Khalifa lived in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan before settling in Pittsburgh where he attended Taylor Allderdice High School.[1][4]

His stage name is derived from khalifa, an Arabic word meaning "successor", and wisdom, which was shortened to Wiz when Khalifa was a young boy .[5] Khalifa stated to spinner.com that the name also came from being called "young Wiz 'cause I was good at everything I did, and my granddad is Muslim, so he gave me that name; he felt like that's what I was doing with my music." He got his stage name tattooed on his 17th birthday.[6][7] He includes Jimi Hendrix, Camp Lo, The Notorious B.I.G. and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony among his influences.[8]


2005–08: Early mixtapes and Show and Prove

Rostrum Records president Benjy Grinberg first heard about Wiz Khalifa in 2004 when the rapper's contribution to a mixtape of various new Pittsburgh artists attracted his interest.[9] When Grinberg finally met the 16-year-old artist, he immediately decided he wanted to work with him, later telling HitQuarters: "Even though he wasn’t all the way developed you could just tell that he was a diamond in the rough, and that with some polishing, guidance and backing he could become something special."[9] Khalifa signed to the label shortly after and began a seven year period of artist development.[9]

Khalifa released his first mixtape, Prince of the City: Welcome to Pistolvania, in 2005. The mixtape paved the way for his first full length album entitled Show and Prove in 2006. Khalifa was declared an "artist to watch" that year in Rolling Stone magazine.[10][11]

In 2007, Khalifa signed to Warner Bros. Records and released two mixtapes through Rostrum Records: Grow Season, hosted by DJ Green Lantern and released on July 4, 2007, and Prince of the City 2, released on November 20, 2007. His debut Warner Bros. single "Say Yeah" reached number 25 on the Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 music chart and number 20 on Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks. The song samples "Better Off Alone" by Alice Deejay. Khalifa's vocals from "Say Yeah" appear near the end of Pittsburgh mash up producer Girl Talk's 2008 album, Feed the Animals, over music from Underworld's "Born Slippy", Usher's "Love in This Club", and the Cure's "In Between Days".[12] Khalifa appeared with The Game, David Banner and Play-n-Skillz at U92's Summer Jam at the USANA Amphitheatre in West Valley City, Utah on August 2, 2008.[13] Khalifa released the mixtapes Star Power in September 2008, and Flight School in April 2009 on Rostrum Records.

Khalifa parted ways with Warner Bros. Records in July 2009 after numerous delays in releasing his planned debut album for the label, First Flight. Khalifa stated to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that, "I learned a lot during my time there and matured as an artist during the process. I'm happy to be moving on with all of my material and having the chance to be in control of my next moves".[14] Khalifa appeared with Girl Talk, Modey Lemon, Donora, Grand Buffet, and Don Caballero at the Amphitheatre at Station Square in Pittsburgh on July 31, 2009, where he announced that his relationship with Warner Bros. was over.[15]

2009–10: Deal or No Deal

Photograph of Wiz Khalifa
Wiz Khalifa performing at Columbia University in New York City in April 2010.

Continuing his association with Rostrum Records, Khalifa released the single "Teach U to Fly", and the mixtape How Fly, a collaboration with New Orleans rapper Curren$y, on August 9, 2009.[14] Khalifa introduced a more melodic style on the mixtape, alternating between singing and rapping. He opened for Wu-Tang Clan member U-God at the 2009 CMJ Music Marathon in New York City.[16] Khalifa released the mixtape Burn After Rolling on November 2, 2009, where he raps over familiar beats from other artists, including the songs "If I Were A Boy" and "Diva" by Beyoncé, "Walking on a Dream" by Empire of the Sun, "Luchini AKA This Is It" by Camp Lo, and "Best I Ever Had" by Drake.[17] Khalifa released his second album, Deal or No Deal, on November 24, 2009.[18]

Khalifa performed at Emo's in Austin, Texas in March 2010 as part of the 2010 South by Southwest Music Festival.[19] He appeared on the cover of XXL magazine that same month, for the magazine's annual list of Top 10 Freshman, which included Donnis, J. Cole, Pill, Freddie Gibbs, and Fashawn. Wiz Khalifa was named 2010 "Rookie Of The Year" by "The Source", with alongside Rick Ross, "The Man Of The Year".[20] He toured with rapper Yelawolf on a 20-date tour, the Deal Or No Deal Tour.[21] Khalifa released the free mixtape Kush and Orange Juice for download on April 14, 2010. Due to Khalifa's devoted grassroots fan base, the mixtape became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter with the hash tag #kushandorangejuice, and "Kush and Orange Juice download” ranked No. 1 on Google’s hot search trends.[22]

2010: Signing with Atlantic Records

Citing music industry insiders, New York magazine wrote that Khalifa signed with Atlantic Records in April 2010, although the rapper did not confirm it.[23] He stated to AllHipHop in June 2010 that he was working on a new album, but was weighing his options and had not yet decided on a label to distribute it.[24] Khalifa confirmed to MTV on July 30 that he was signing an Atlantic Records deal.[25]

Wiz Khalifa on stage
Wiz Khalifa on stage in Boston in August 2010.

Khalifa was featured in a remix and video for the 2010 Rick Ross single "Super High", alongside Curren$y.[26] He guested on the mixtape Grey Goose, Head Phones, and Thirsty Women by St. Louis rapper M.C,[27] and was featured on the track "The Breeze (Cool)" on rapper Wale's August 2010 mixtape More About Nothing.[28] Khalifa was named MTV's Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010, winning with nearly 70,000 votes, and beating out finalists Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, Travis Porter, and Diggy Simmons.[29]

Khalifa appeared at the Soundset 2010 festival in May 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, alongside Method Man & Redman, Del the Funky Homosapien and Hieroglyphics, Atmosphere, Murs, Cage, and others.[30] He also performed at the 2010 Rock the Bells festival, along with hip hop veterans Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, Lauryn Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Rakim, KRS-One, Jedi Mind Tricks and Slick Rick.[31] Khalifa declined an invitation to tour with rapper Drake and launched his own "Waken Baken" tour, a 50-city national tour with rapper Yelawolf. His official DJ on the tour was DJ Bonics.[32] The tour, scheduled to last from September to November 2010, has, as of October, sold out every venue.[8] On November 2010, during his "Waken Baken" tour at East Carolina University, Wiz Khalifa was arrested for possession and trafficking of marijuana. He was then released the next morning after a $300K bail, and resumed his tour. Khalifa performed in a cypher during the 2010 BET Hip-Hop Awards. He recited his verse from the song, "The Check Point", from his mixtape with Curren$y, How Fly.[33]

2010–present: Mainstream success, Rolling Papers and O.N.I.F.C

Wiz Khalifa at SXSW in 2010

Khalifa released "Black and Yellow", his first single for Rostrum/Atlantic, produced by Stargate, which has received radio airplay.[8][34] The single was peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100; the title of the song refers to the colours of the City of Pittsburgh.[35] Khalifa released his debut album with Atlantic Records in 2011.[36] He appeared with Curren$y on the track "Scaling the Building" on producer Ski Beatz' 2010 album, 24 Hour Karate School.[37] Khalifa's record label is Taylor Gang Records, named after his love of Chuck Taylor All-Stars,[8] and Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, PA, where he graduated from.

On March 29, 2011, Khalifa released his first studio album, Rolling Papers. The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 197,000 copies in the United States.[38] Shortly afterward on March 31, 2011 Wiz Khalifa performed at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia as part of the school's annual Dooley's Weekend.[39] On June 26, 2011, Khalifa was nominated and won Best New Artist at the BET Awards of 2011.[40] Khalifa collaborated with British rapper Tinie Tempah whom Tinie announced in an interview with Rolling Stone that his next single is to be called "Till I'm Gone" and would feature Wiz Khalifa and is to be produced by Stargate.[41][42] The single and the video song were released at the end of June 2011.[43] On April 11, 2012 Khalifa announced that he will release his second studio album titled "Only Nigga In First Class" but will be released to mainstream markets as the abbreviated O.N.I.F.C. [11][44][45]

Personal life

Thomaz proposed to model Amber Rose on March 1, 2012 showing off the ring on Twitter.[46] He is personal friends with Snoop Dogg, Juicy J, Yelawolf, and fellow Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller.[47]

In March 2012, Thomaz purchased a 2.8 private wooded acres with a 3,891-square-foot residence in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, a small community southwest of Pittsburgh. The residence includes 5-bedroom, 4-bath eco-friendly, Brazilian Koa floors, stainless steel appliances, a separate guest house, and a lavish master suite with high ceilings.[48] He currently resides there with his fiancée Amber Rose.

Thomaz is open about his use of cannabis, and he has claimed in many interviews that he spends $10,000 a month on cannabis, and also smokes daily.[49]

He is an avid supporter and big fan of all sports teams from his town, mostly the Pittsburgh Steelers, and many others like NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, MLB's Pittsburgh Pirates, Arena Football League's Pittsburgh Power, and also the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks.

In September 6, 2012 at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards he and his fiancée Amber Rose announced they are expecting their first child together.[50]


Studio albums
Collaborative albums


2012Gangs of Roses 2: Next GenerationTimmy
Mac & Devin Go to High SchoolDevin
2011Late Show with David LettermanHimselfMusical Guest
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
2012Master of the MixSpecial Guest Star; episode: Final Challenge
Punk'dSeason 9, episode 12

Awards and Nominations

YearOrganizationAwardNominated workResult
2011MTV European Music AwardsBest NewWiz KhalifaNominated
Best PushWiz KhalifaNominated
American Music AwardsSprint's Best New ArtistWiz KhalifaWon
Grammy AwardsBest Rap Song"Black & Yellow"Nominated
Best Rap Performance"Black & Yellow"Nominated
2012Billboard Music AwardsBest New ArtistWiz KhalifaWon


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External links