Hippie Hip-Hop

Young rapper Wiz Khalifa enjoys peace, love and herbal pleasures

Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa is not a household name. But his fans are so passionate that they call themselves the “Taylor Gang” (named after his favorite shoe—the Converse Chuck Taylors).

The (self-proclaimed) Bob Marley of Hip-Hop’s music can be coined as hippie hip-hop. His songs embody partying, women and weed. Examples of those themes include 2007’s hit single “Say Yeah” and his recent “Kush and Orange Juice” mixtape, which trended on Twitter the day it was released. Since he debuted in 2005, his work has been recognized by hip-hop heavyweights Drake, Snoop Dogg and Rick Ross. In fact, Khalifa turned down touring with Drake in favor of going solo.

But as Atlantic Records’ newest signee prepares his as-yet-untitled album, he knows that making it on his own is the true sign of realizing his dream.“Like I always say,” Khalifa pauses to take a pull from his herbal pleasures. “I got to keep it going for myself so people will continue to respect it and I can one day be on the same level as a Rick Ross or a Snoop Dogg.”

The 23-year-old paused after a show in Detroit to talk on the phone about his tour. “Every show has been sold out. We’ve made sure that everyone who comes out to the show leaves happy. Everyone participates, so it’s all fun. No fighting and no violence.

“Just expect hella energy,” he says, regarding his stage show. “It’s Taylor Gang mania.”

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