Interview: Wiz Khalifa
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 09:16:10
Wiz Khalifa is sitting on a classic right now with Blacc Hollywood.
It's easy to feel excitement about his third full-length album as soon as he starts talking about it. There's something special at the heart of this collection, and it's undoubtedly going to flip the game upside down when it hits shelves on August 19. Whether it's the anthemic bombast of "We Dem Boyz" or the smoky and soulful "KK" featuring Project Pat and Juicy J, Wiz once again pushes the boundaries in terms of verses and hooks. He carries some of the most infectious choruses of this millennium, but he also can spit like a champ. That's the brilliant balance at the heart of Blacc Hollywood. It's about to be the Golden Age of Wiz Khalifa...
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Wiz Khalifa opens up about what to expect from Blacc Hollywood, talks a dream collaboration, discusses Neff x Taylor Gang, and so much more.
With Rolling Papers and O.N.I.F.C., you always had a clear vision. What's your vision for Blacc Hollywood?
First off, thank you bro. I appreciate that. The vision for this one is to be the biggest and best version of myself possible. I went into this one thinking like a Michael Jackson album, a classic Aerosmith album, or something like that. You know? It's short, sweet, and to-the-point. It really captures all the best moments that people are either living out right now or want to be living out.
Was there something that inspired that mindset? Was it just living?
It's definitely living, talking to people, traveling, and just experiencing different things. I'd have conversations with people, and they'd tell me who I can be in the world as I opposed to who I already am. I'm not saying there's a problem with who I already am, but you take the steps necessary to get to where you're supposed to be in life. When you look at music, I don't look at it as only a career and a profession, but I look at it as art. Every great artist goes through periods, I want this to be a great period of my life.
What songs are you most thrilled about right now?
I'm really excited about songs like "Raw" and "True Colors" with Nicki Minaj. I'm also thrilled about "KK" [featuring Juicy J and Project Pat]. I have a song produced by Jim Jonsin. It's called "Ass Drop". I could name each and every song off the album because they're all really special pieces that when people hear them, they're going to be like, "Oh man, Wiz was really being generous when he made this song!" [Laughs]
Did you get to try anything new in the studio?
Yeah, definitely! I worked with writers. I worked with Rico Love. He helped me write "Promises"—the hook and the first verse. Everybody knows Detail did me a solid and helped me write "We Dem Boyz". I have songs from Nicki Minaj that we put together just in outer space, man. The process was weird, not in a bad way though. We made a real album this time, instead of me just coming up with some stuff in the basement. We really went in and made a professional album that will stand up there for years and years.
Do you want to collaborate with more rock bands at some point?
Yeah, I would love to do something with Red Hot Chili Peppers. That'd be tight. They're one of my favorite bands, and they're legends.
How did you choose the lineup for the Under the Influence of Music tour this year?
We got really lucky because a lot of the artists we reached out to were willing to come on the tour with us. Being that everybody has such big radio hits and such big fan bases, we're all so young and energized. I think it made sense. I'm happy that everybody was with it. As a fan myself, I'm going to have a great time being in it.
How do you approach it in terms of production? Is designing the stage and production fun for you?
Yeah, it's really fun. It's really interesting too to see what kind of boundaries we have and what kind of boundaries we can take, break, and bend. Knowing where we've come from last year, it's great. We even meet people who know what type of show it is, and they test out their newest technologies with us. We're able to see what's the best.
If you were to compare Blacc Hollywood to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
I'd say The Godfather—the whole series though. I say that because this is the beginning. It's not over. It's a favorite too.
What excites you about the collaboration with Neff—Neff x Taylor Gang?
I appreciate you bringing it up! They were interested in doing a collaboration with us because they've done a bunch with Mac Miller, Steve Aoki, and artists like that. Knowing the influence that Taylor Gang has on the lifestyle, not even just the fashion world and us, they came to us. They were really generous in letting us help design and come up with creative ideas for commercials, how to style it, and things like that. They let us be really involved and showed nothing but support and love. It's a great product for us to give to the kids. Now, people can get it. It's available at Zumiez, and it's doing really well. [See our feature here]
What's your favorite Wiz Khalifa song? Are you excited for Blacc Hollywood August 19? Will you be seeing Wiz Khalifa on the Under The Influence of Music tour?