On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN welcomed the multitalented Wiz Khalifa to discuss several of his biggest hits, the late Mac Miller, managing Ty Dolla $ign early on in his career and the blog era, to name a few topics.
Born Cameron Jibril Thomaz in Minot, North Dakota, Khalifa burst onto the hip hop scene in the late 2000s with a distinctive style that blended introspective lyrics and infectious hooks. Over the years, he released multiple chart-topping hits, including “Black and Yellow,” “Roll Up,” and “See You Again” featuring Charlie Puth. The last served as a tribute to the late Paul Walker, garnered critical acclaim and peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Khalifa has also made a significant impact through his mixtapes and long-form projects, gaining a dedicated fan base with releases like 2010’s Kush & Orange Juice, 2011’s Cabin Fever, and 2012’s Taylor Allderdice mixtape. His major label debut, Rolling Papers, was released in 2011 and featured collaborations with artists such as Curren$y and Too $hort. The album went on to achieve multiplatinum status and solidified Khalifa as a prominent figure in the hip hop community. Subsequent projects, like O.N.I.F.C. and Blacc Hollywood, further showcased his versatility and growth as an artist, while his collaborative album with Curren$y paid homage to their long-standing friendship and mutual admiration.
Outside of music, Khalifa has also built a successful brand through his entrepreneurial pursuits. He’s the founder of the cannabis company Khalifa Kush Enterprises and has collaborated with various fashion and lifestyle brands, further expanding his influence in the entertainment world. Most recently, the rapper announced he’ll be debuting his long-awaited cannabis label to the public this year.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the Wiz Khalifa “Drink Champs” episode. Check them out below, and watch the full episode here.
1. On the blog era and meeting N.O.R.E. for the first time
Opening the conversation, N.O.R.E. and Wiz Khalifa reflected on the time they first met each other at a showcase. Wiz detailed how the “Nothin’” rapper mispronounced his name onstage, but he was such a big fan at the time that it didn’t bother him. He shared, “It was the best person to f**k up my name. And I feel like you be making up your own words anyways. So ‘Khaifa,’ it means something.”
“I was 17 years old maybe and this was AllHipHop. It was a breeding ground, so this was like the early blog era days. There was only a couple of cats doing blogs and they were covering a couple of dudes. It was me, The Cool Kids, Knxwledge, but it was us and N.O.R.E. was the host,” Khalifa shared.
2. On collaborating with Mia Khalifa for Khalifa Kush
This past week, the famed rapper and Mia Khalifa announced a collaboration, which is both surprising and expected given their surnames. For those who are unaware, the former adult star’s moniker is a nod to the “Bugatti” lyricist, whose music she admired when she was just starting out. The new partnership is centered around the rapper’s upcoming marijuana brand, Khalifa Kush, which is slated to hit shelves later this year.
“She’s an ex-pornstar actually. She came into the game, that’s kind of how people noticed her, but she’s been able to pivot and do other things,” he shared. “We’re doing Khalifa Kush together. Shout out to Berner, I built this whole brand with him. It took us 10 years and now we’ve been all over the United States.”
Wiz added, “We’re branching out, and we’re doing celebrity endorsement deals as well and she’s the first one.”
3. On managing Ty Dolla $ign via Taylor Gang
In 2013, Ty Dolla $ign joined Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang imprint with both artists being signed to Atlantic Records at the time. Over the past decade, their pairing produced fruitful collaborations such as “Or Nah (Remix),” “Something New,” and the Snoop Dogg-assisted “You and Your Friends.” The artist shared, “Ty is a legend. He was always meant to be who he is.”
“Ty is always going to be Taylor Gang. We started out managing him. A lot of people don’t know that Taylor Gang is a label and management company, so a lot of those first moves that you saw early in his career was actually me and Will [Dzombak] managing his career and putting him on tour. Basically, using the same stuff that we were able to accumulate, but he was already there as well. He already knew a lot of radio people; he already knew a lot of writers and producers. It just took a little extra push,” he explained.
4. On “Young, Wild & Free” and Snoop Dogg changing his life
One of Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg’s biggest collaborative efforts to date, “Young, Wild & Free,” was one of the many hit records that helmed from the 2012 film Mac & Devin Go to High School, which starred both artists. Not only did the movie laminate itself as a cult-favorite stoner comedy, but its soundtrack debuted at No. 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Speaking on the six-times-Platinum track, Khalifa told N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN about how the collaboration came about.
He stated, “I lived in a hotel for a week and I was like, ‘If I don’t find a crib, I’m just going to be f**king homeless because I’m not going back home.’ In that week, I met up with Snoop, we shot a couple of videos. We did a video for ‘That Good.’ We just talked about a bunch of s**t and we just came up with a whole game plan.”
Elsewhere, he continued, “This particular record, we came together because I had just signed to Atlantic. He was like, ‘These motherf**kers keep sending me this weak **s song. It ain’t for me, but I think together, it’ll work for both of us.’ That’s Bruno Mars singing the hook, but he had caught a little case around that time, so they didn’t want him getting involved in a get-high record.”
5. On “Black and Yellow” hitting radio the same year the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl
The release of “Black and Yellow” was a pivotal moment in Khalifa’s career, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and selling over 4 million digital copies to date. It paid homage to his hometown of Philadelphia with the song’s title being a nod to the team colors of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Steelers, the latter of which picked it up as their fight song. Alongside several remixes that helped propel it to the top of the charts, Khalifa stated that the Steelers going to the Super Bowl the same year the track hit radio helped significantly.
“When I did ‘Black and Yellow,’ that was just me representing my city. Everybody in Pittsburgh loves the city so much, so it was just my way of letting everybody know where I’m from. The Steelers just happened to go to the freaking Super Bowl that year. It was the same year that ‘Black and Yellow’ went on the radio,” Khalifa stated. “I knew I had a hit, and I was just willing to work with anybody that was making good music at that time.”
6. On being among the first rappers to do festivals
During the late 2000s, when the internet irrevocably altered the music industry, hip hop acts turned to blogs in search of widespread exposure. Artists like Hopsin, Big K.R.I.T., Curren$y, Chance The Rapper, and Khalifa were among the many to lead the genre when it came to performances. The rapper spoke about how he, alongside many others at the time, pioneered festival culture.
“We pioneered a lot of things just by being available. I think me being one of the first rap acts doing festivals and just bigger headlining stages, it opened up a lot of opportunities for people to bring that same attention to the other artists as well. It’s really good to see the whole show scene and festival scene budding,” he told N.O.R.E. and EFN.
7. On Kush & Orange Juice
Released in 2010, Kush & Orange Juice was Khalifa’s eighth mixtape and notably took the internet by storm thanks to the hashtag #KushandOrangeJuice on Twitter. Blending smooth beats with his laid-back flow, the project was joined by guest appearances from Curren$y, K.R.I.T., Johnny Juliano, and several more. When asked about it, the rapper reflected on the mixtape’s impact, sharing insights into its creation and lasting influence.
Speaking on how the name came about, Khalifa revealed, “The Kush & Orange Juice name came from my homie Jake in Toronto. So I went up to Toronto for a couple of days, and I was recording the last couple of pieces of How Fly, which is the mixtape I did with Curren$y. But I was also working Kush & Orange Juice, and everything I would say was wake and baking. We would wake, we would bake, and we would do this. And randomly, ‘Man, your laptop smells like kush and orange juice.’ I was like, ‘Damn, bro, you don’t understand. That’s my whole life right there.’ It just felt like a different way to say wake and bake.”
8. On “See You Again” originally featuring Lil Wayne and Chris Brown
Following the death of actor Paul Walker in 2013, the Fast & Furious franchise enlisted Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth for the Furious 7 soundtrack cut “See You Again.” Unsurprisingly, the tribute spent a whopping 12 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and marks the rapper’s only time going 11-times Platinum. In addition to becoming the most-streamed track in a single day on Spotify upon its release in 2015, Khalifa revealed that the song originally boasted an array of features, including Chris Brown and Lil Wayne, who were ultimately cut.
“They filmed the movie and he was in a lot of the movie, but then the situation happened mid-filming the movie. The last scene of the movie, they had planned it. They were like, ‘This is the song that’s going play in the last scene of the movie. Here you go, buddy.’ The hook was already here, and the idea behind the song was to have a lot of artists on it,” shared Khalifa. “There was a Lil Wayne verse. I think they had Chris Brown cut the hook as well. They had a lot of different artists on the song, and it just went through a trimming and shaving phase, and it ended up just being my verse on there with Charlie’s hook.”
9. On remembering Mac Miller and his impact
Mac Miller’s untimely passing was felt across the globe, sparking conversations about mental health, addiction and suicide prevention throughout the hip hop community. Khalifa and Miller knew each other since before they were hip hop stars and both went to Taylor Allderdice High School. The pair also collaborated on 2009’s “Cruise Control” and 2011’s “Keep Floatin’.” Khalifa reflected on Mac’s legacy and how he deeply influenced later generations of hip hop.
The multihyphenate explained, “He came up at a time where everything was still finding direction. He made his own way, and the way that his fans respect and love him, and the way that people cherish his music, it’s beautiful the way that they keep him alive and going. It’s super sad what happened to him and what it represented. I was talking to one of my homies the other day and he was saying how for a whole era of people Mac spoke to, losing him is kind of like a lesson for them, but it’s also really sad that’s the way they had to learn that.”