Wiz Khalifa Is the Normcore Dad We Need

Categories: Wiz Khalifa

Credit: Rob Menzer
Wiz Khalifa when he's off-duty as a dad
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.

See also: Wiz Khalifa Returns Home With Blacc Hollywood

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Seven Must-Dos For The Modern Young Weed Rapper

Wiz Khalifa is in love with weed. The Pittsburgh-raised rapper has established himself as a hip-hop superstar by making songs that are largely hooked around getting high. While it's not all that a unique pastime—the likes of Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill ushered in the first great rush of weed raps back in the early-'90s—a fresh bunch of young greenery fiends now defines the rap scene. Here's SOTC's handy seven-step guide to becoming a Modern Young Weed Rapper, should you want to follow the current crop's trail of smoke.

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Chris Brown Dedicates Video To MCA, Misses The Point (Yet Again)

Today the perpetually troubled R&B brat Chris Brown released the video for "Till I Die," a collaboration with Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean that waxes semi-poetic about the joys of getting fucked up and eating shrimp-laden pasta. (Is that a sex metaphor? Please say no.) The song itself sounds like a reverse-engineered version of the Karmin cover of Brown's hit "Look At Me Now," only with lyrics to prove that he's still a badass, y'all; the video has a lengthy section that brings to mind the Go-Gos' iconic clip for "Our Lips Are Sealed," only with some Disney-flick-like CGI that dances around the three principals' heads in an effort to represent just how fucked up the substances of which they sing have made them. There is also a dedication to Adam "MCA" Yauch, the recently deceased Beastie Boy slash activist slash all around great guy. Which is a nice gesture! Except when you look at it in the context of not just this video, but Brown's very recent behavior.

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Underwhelmed And Overstimulated, The Finale: Jay-Z And Kanye West Fiddle While The Underground Gets Wasted

Smell that money burning.
This concludes Sound of the City's year-end roundtable, a conversation about pop music in 2011 between Tom Ewing, Eric Harvey, Maura Johnston, Nick Murray, and Katherine St. Asaph. Read it all again.

Thanks for the handoff, Nick, and thanks to Katherine, Tom and especially Maura for the great conversation over the past few days. I'll try and wrap this thing up with the rigor and candor you all have displayed so far. Quickly, to Tom's question about Skrillex: he is a big deal, and we should be talking more about him. I was just having a conversation about the fact that, yet again, hi-NRG dance music is making important inroads into American dance culture—for the first time since the "electronica" moment of the Chemical Brothers and Prodigy, then the Big Beat microsecond of Fatboy Slim and Moby, which we quickly learned worked best on this side of the Atlantic in car commercials and movie trailers.

Skrillex's (and Canadian contemporary Deadmau5) most immediate predecessor—in terms of function, not form—is clearly Girl Talk, who taught American college and high school kids that it's okay to wild the fuck out now and again. Yet whereas Greg Gillis seems like an accidental hero who started making music off Limewire downloads after getting home from work, Skrillex strikes me as much more of a musician's musician—an ex-emo kid who saw an opportunity he couldn't pass up. As some of my smart esteemed colleagues (including Tom—hi Tom!) were discussing on Twitter yesterday, critics need to pay attention to this new wave of party-starters. It's very likely to be a passing fad holding us over until Rock Comes To Reclaim The Fist-Pumping Throne, but maybe—just maybe—it'll trigger the rise of an entirely guitar-free musical culture for the next decade.

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Ke$ha Works Both Sides Of The Pop Aisle

This morning brought the release of "Sleazy 2.0 (Get Sleazier)," the all-star remix of Ke$ha's Dr. Luke/Bangladesh banger about men who are a bit too impressed with their wealth "Sleazy"; the new version contains the quietly gut-punching verse that Andre 3000 added to the original remix, as well as contributions from Wiz Khalifa (decent), T.I. (Coming To America-referencing!), and Lil Wayne (2010-retro thanks to the name-drops of Black Swan and Kings Of Leon?). While the braggadocio on the new verses clashes somewhat with the don't-need-your-money declarations of the original track (Three Stacks, perhaps unsurprisingly, got what Ke$ha was going for with his contribution), all three of the new verses sound pretty fantastic over the booming beat. Then again, it's so undeniable that me reading the phone book in a fake British accent over it might sound not-half-bad as well. Clip below.

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Live: Wiz Khalifa Smokes Out Central Park

Wiz Khalifa w/Big Sean, Chevy Woods
Central Park
Monday, July 25

Better than: Hanging out with your parents.

In September 2008, Wiz Khalifa stood onstage in front of less than ten people on the Bowery, the whole of Crash Mansion abandoned after performances by Mickey Factz and Charles Hamilton. Three years and two record labels later, the tables could not have been turned harder; he performed last night for a crowd of three thousand on Central Park's Summerstage. The night before, he was in Columbia, Maryland, filling a 16,000-capacity amphitheater. Has there ever been a stoner who worked this hard?

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Live: Rick Ross Lives Out His Dreams At Summer Jam

Hot 97 Summer Jam
New Meadowlands Stadium
Sunday, June 5

Better than: Sitting at home and moping like 50 Cent.

Rick Ross closed out Summer Jam.

Just so there's no revisionist history here, let's remember how incredible that statement is. Three years ago, Ross was the punching bag of hip-hop, the laughingstock of the streets. After recording countless verses that fetishized Tony Montana fantasies, someone pinched him—Ross' cartoonish thought bubble vanished into thin air, and he was rudely snapped back to reality. He wasn't a druglord superhero; he was William Roberts, a grown man playing dress-up, a former correctional officer who wanted to be a rapper so badly that he rewrote his personal history. Two years ago, he wasn't being played on New York radio.

And here, onstage at Giants Stadium, was Rick Ross—his chest puffed out, his black-and-yellow Hawaiian shirt open wide but still somehow stretching tight—cheered on by fifty thousand strong. They welcomed his street anthem, "B.M.F.," chanting a chorus and cadence that, in various incarnations, has blasted out of car windows on 125th ever since it came out last summer: "I think I'm Big Meech, Larry Hoover." Rick Ross can make up a lot of things, but even he couldn't make this up.

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Live: Bamboozle Stimulates Every Sense (And Then Some)

So much to see, everywhere.
The Bamboozle
Friday, April 29-Sunday, May 1

Better than: Watching scene reports scroll by on Twitter.

In a lot of ways, the Bamboozle is a festival tailor-made for the current moment of constant distraction. The festival's running time over three days totals approximately 27 hours. There are eight stages of music, plus a stage for spoken-word and comedy bits. The 100-plus acts run the gamut, from critically approved hip-hop to critically reviled screamo to nostalgia-pricking acts from rock eras past. There's a wrestling ring where luchadores--led by the not very subtly named Dirty Sanchez--fling each other around; if that doesn't satiate your urge to watch competition, there's a breakdancing stage. There are carnival rides. There are tons of merch booths, some of which host autograph signings that attract long, snaking lines of eager fans. There's a psychic, an inflatable structure where one can procure free Trojans, and a place to charge your phone so you can keep up with the tweeting that details all the things you're missing. If you play your cards right and bring enough friends, it's quite possible to get a "full" Bamboozle experience without consciously hearing a single song in its entirety.

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Jesse Serwer on Wiz Khalifa, Rich Juzwiak on Britney Spears, Edd Hurt on Those Darlins

Darren Ankenman

In this week's issue, Jesse Serwer examines why Wiz Khalifa isn't Snoop Dogg, despite his spindly six-foot-four frame and self-estimated $10,000-a-month weed habit. "But where Doggy Style and Chronic 2001 were standard dorm-room issue during my college years a decade ago, today's frat party is more likely to be soundtracked by indie rock than rap." ["Why Wiz Khalifa Isn't Snoop Dogg"]

The wonderful Rich Juzwiak on Britney Spears's new record, Femme Fatale. "If Femme Fatale were merely an album of innocuous pop, Britney's distance from it might not matter, but it's problematic for an album whose subject matter is hedonism and how being hot facilitates it. The lyrics say, 'Id!' while Britney says, 'Meh!'" [Running on (American) Idol]

Edd Hurt on all-over-the-place girls Those Darlins. "'Be Your Bro' really is about how Jessi Darlin--the group's main songwriter and, from the evidence of their second full-length, Screws Get Loose, its conceptualist--gets impatient with her boyfriend, who 'just wants to stick it in.'" ["Indie-White-Trash Those Darlins Make Good"]