Coming Down From The High: What’s Next For Wiz Khalifa?
The release of Wiz Khalifa‘s official debut album Rolling Papers earlier this year was a pivotal moment in his career. Not only did the album sell almost 200,000 copies its first week out (it’s now almost reached sales of half a million) it launched him as a commercial success, thanks to popular singles like “Roll Up.” Diehard fans, however (known as “Taylor Gang” members) were up in arms at the music, complaining the album was an obvious ploy for Top 40 radio play and lacked the edge that made Wiz’s mixtapes like Star Power, Flight School and Kush & OJ classic material.
Here are some fan comments from a YouTube interview with Wiz and myself regarding his newer sound:
Rolling Papers gained Wiz many new followers thanks to singles like “Black & Yellow,” a slow burner that became one of highest-selling hip-hop songs of 2010, obtaining massive radio air-play and attaining sales of 2,342,000 in the US (not to mention its “G Mix” featuring heavyweights like Snoop Dogg and T-Pain). A packed tour schedule has also ensured Wiz stays fresh in the minds of fans both old and new. Still, finding the balance between commercial fame and critical darling is a constant struggle. According to reports, Wiz has already snubbed Drake as a tour partner and declined an offer to sign with Rick Ross, so it appears his underground roots are still strong (even though on the flipside, he’s dating media favorite Amber Rose and is currently nominated for a BET Award). It remains to be seen whether the 23-year-old born in North Dakota can maintain the momentum he has now.
For his part, Wiz recently told The Santa Barbara Independent:
“I’ve already reached the point where I’ve made more money than I’d ever imagined making at this age, and I’ve done things with my career that people work their entire career to achieve, and this is just the starting point. So, just to really realize what I have in front of me and work hard, that’s the best thing and what’s going to guide me 20 years from now.”
Wiz is up for Best New Artist at the 2011 BET Awards, airing live this Sunday June 26 at 8pm ET.