I have a bad habit of not paying attention of things...
until the buzz surrounding them has died down. I think people gravitate to whats popular so they won’t feel left out, not because its dope. So I wait until the smoke clears before I see what I can take from any new development.
The same thing happened when I was introduced to Wiz Khalifa’s music. I saw his name being mentioned in the blogs and although there was some buzz I just didn’t look into his music. Shortly after, someone I knew advised me to listen to the ‘Flight School’ mixtape. I wanted to form my own opinion and not go along with what everyone was saying so I went to Dat Piff to listen to my first Wiz mixtape. The cover was cool and a little different from what most rappers were doing so I was interested.
However, I really didn’t like the mixtape. The beats didn’t connect with me, I didn’t like the video game like sounds. I also didn’t like his half rap half singing flow. Nothing about it stood out to me, I was done, gave it a shot but not for me.
Fast forward a year or so, I was working at a new job and speaking to one of my co workers when he said, “Do you listen to Wiz Khalifa?”
I told him that I tried once before and his music wasn’t for me. He told me to listen to his new mixtape ‘Kush and Orange Juice’ specifically the song titled ‘The Kid Frankie’. I trusted my co workers opinion and decided to give Young Wizzle Man another shot. I found ‘Kush and Orange Juice’ on Live Mixtapes and listened to ‘The Kid Frankie’.
The results were the exact opposite of my experience listening to ‘Flight School’ ‘The Kid Frankie’ sounded fresh, it sounded like something I had never heard before. In comparison to ‘Flight School’, the music on ‘Kush and Orange Juice’ stuck with me, it was something about the beats and Wiz Khalifa’s approach to rapping that made me feel like there was much more to learn about hip hop music.
‘Kush and Orange Juice’ is the definition of a mixtape to me, especially in the new age of hip hop with the internet being a major key. The new mixtape is essentially an album, less freestyles over industry beats and more original instrumentals and skits. The new age mixtape is more of a promotional tool then just an outlet to release music. Your mixtape has to have the ability to not only catch the listeners ear, but to also make them connect with the artist’s personality.
Wiz Khalifa: Photo via Cesgekacer (Link - http://tinyurl.com/zaxc8ya)
Another thing Wiz Khalifa showed me about hip hop is that building a brand is a must in order to be successful. Not just a fanbase, a brand, a culture, a way of thinking that resonates with your fanbase on multiple levels. The ‘Taylor Gang’ was dope because it represents Wiz Khalifa and by extension represents his fans who feel the same way he did before someone came along to express it.
Wiz Khalifa’s music is fun, he doesn’t beef he minds his own business, and he always puts a positive spin on things. A part of hip hop is competition, beef, being the best rapper of all time. But Wiz Khalifa showed me you can still be ambitious without comparing yourself to what anyone else is doing. Wiz Khalifa exudes an attitude of ‘live and let live’ or ‘do what works for you and I’ll do what works for me’. It’s motivational to see someone so focused on success they don’t even have time to get angry with anyone else, let alone care.
Wiz Khalifa: Photo Via WeSharePics (Link - http://tinyurl.com/z5p5me2)
My appreciation for Wiz Khalifa goes much further than just the music, he showed me it isn’t all about music. Music is an expression of art but those topics and feelings you rap about can be addressed in more ways.
As a member of the ‘Taylor Gang’ you could wear your Chuck Taylors, camo shorts, and crewneck and connect with anyone who feels the same way. The music described a lifestyle at the time I was living, young, on my own, having fun but still being responsible for real life situations. I wasn’t rich but I had enough money that if I used it wisely, I could make an impact on my rap career. Wiz made it cool to do what you want to do, regardless of what others may think and his success shows his method not only works, it is loved by fans.