"SELF-MADE, been through what I been through—so I know what I know."
In his 22 years, Cameron "Wiz Khalifa" Thomaz has lived all over the world (a military brat, he followed his father to Germany, Jap- an, and England), built a rabid fanbase independently (capable of selling out shows coast to coast), and signed with a major label—twice. He was making his bones, dropping the buzz-loaded mixtape Prince of the City, and getting profiled in Rolling Stone before he finished high school in his beloved Pittsburgh. After his early success brought him into the Warner Brothers fold in 2007, Wiz found his new home sluggish to put out his aborted major label debut, First Flight. Taking wing, he quickly found massive success in the independent realm, seeing his video views launch into the millions on YouTube and his mixtapes (such as this year's massively popular mini-album Kush & OJ) flying off the digital shelves of popular download spots like DatPiff.com.
Today, Khalifa is the indisputable leader of a new school of lifestyle rap, cleverly playing with the notion of fly. He repeatedly references "Paper Planes," shorthand for both his crew and the joints he rolls (his circle is vocal in their rejection of the blunt). Like plenty of emcess, he raps about Louis Vuitton duffle bags, but instead of the usual implied drug commerce, Khalifa is simply packing his luxury bags for the next flight, the next town—where, he promises, he'll be chiefing high-grade marijuana, frequently with your significant other. Floating through the skies on an almost Rastafarian cloud of pro-weed sentiment that manages to stand out in a field where everybody loves the stuff, Khalifa ashes on much of his competition from lofty, airless heights with an effortless flow, seductive game, and a half-decent singing voice he frequently employs to great effect.
Able to write his own first-class ticket, Khalifa has passed on offers from some of rap's biggest names (Rick Ross wanted him for his Maybach Music Group label, Drake wanted him for an opening act), and recently announced a new partnership with Atlantic Records. Nowhere to go but up for one of the savviest cats in hiphop, so listen close—this is your captain speaking.