|(Victoria Feloni photo)|
Pittsburgh isn’t one of the first places that comes to mind as far as hip hop goes, but it’s the launching pad of one of the genre’s most promising new stars, 22-year-old Wiz Khalifa.
In April, Wiz released his online-exclusive free mixtape “Kush and Orange Juice,” which quickly became the top trending topic on both Google and Twitter. He recently confirmed a new record deal with Atlantic, and is poised to release his major label debut in 2011.
Is this festival setting something new?
Nah, the festival setting — I’ve been doing some outside stuff. The love is great — it’s growing more and more.
Did you know you had that much love in Boston?
I did not. But now we know how to control ‘em next time. That’s what’s up, man. Shout out Boston.
Do you think that getting your popularity through Twitter and mixtape websites gave you a solid foundation?
Yeah, definitely. Just all the groundwork I was doing, me and my label Rostrum Records. It’s really like getting in touch with my fans, you know what I’m sayin’? Like let me connect with them personally before I’m on a major label and doing these big things. So now they feel like they’re with me and they can follow me, and not like I’m inaccessible and that they can’t touch me. You know, my fans built me. So it’s like they’re always gonna have everything to do with my whole career.
So you think that’s how you’re able to reach out, through mixtapes and interacting with fans online?
Definitely, definitely. Online gives me a platform to spread it to so many people, and you know, videos as well, ’cause we’re selling our lifestyle. They get to see our whole lives on the Internet.
In terms of your style and image, that’s grown a lot since your debut album “Show and Prove.” Did that happen organically?
Yeah, it happened organically. Just me, you know, learning more about myself. When I did “Show and Prove” I was still in high school. I’m about to be 23 next month. So just growing up, learning more about the business and marketing and what people will buy into, and like what I want people to look at me for. Just a combination of those things. And, uh … being cool. [laughs]
Now when somebody hears a track, they know “that’s Wiz” — did that just happen over time, with each release?
Yeah, man. You know, just consistency. People start to know what to expect from you when you give them a lot of different stuff. And then, I’m always doing different things as well, trying to get bigger and better, so I think my fans really know me for that.
Anything else you’d like to say about the show?
Man, they [expletive] rushed me — that was great. I fell — that was my first time falling in my career — that was kinda fun. I mean, you know, it happens. I’m human just like everybody else. I’m glad I got it outta the way. [laughs]
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