These days Cameron "Wiz Khalifa" Thomaz, the rapper behind platinum hits “Black and Yellow” and “Roll Up,” is dealing with the highs and lows of superstardom.
BET honored Wiz with nine nominations for their upcoming Hip-Hop Awards show, matched only by Kanye West (and surpassed by Lil Wayne’s seemingly absurd 18 nods).
Add to that the rapper’s venture into cinema with the stoner movie “High School” - which he’s making with his idol-turned-mentor, Snoop Dogg - and it seems like he can’t lose. Or can he?
A marijuana enthusiast, Wiz Khalifa was recently cleared of a felony drug trafficking count. In another odd twist, while visiting the Barney’s department store in Beverly Hills over the summer with girlfriend Amber Rose and their families, he was mistaken for a thief.
(Speaking of Rose, Wiz Khalifa’s public displays of affection with the former girlfriend of Kanye West have brought on the ire of fans who seem to think he loses credibility with every photographed hug.)
In this interview with CNN, Wiz opens up on his love for Amber, the best advice he gets from Snoop, why he’s cool with being called a “rock star” and all of the responsibility that comes with the title.
CNN: Where does the name Wiz Khalifa come from?
Wiz Khalifa: The name “Wiz” comes from me being the youngest dude in my age group of people that I hung out with. I was pretty good at anything I tried to do, so they would call me a young wiz. Khalifa is Arabic, it means successor/leader/shining light, and my granddaddy gave me that name. He’s actually Muslim and just saw my path, what I was doing and how hard I was working, and he gave me that name and I just put the two together.
CNN: You've been referred to as a “rock star.” Do you feel you’ve reached that status?
WK: It’s great because it just puts me in a different realm of how people see me. Of course I do rap music and I’m a hip-hop artist, but as an individual, as a personality and what I give to the people – it’s that perspective. I see myself as like the lead singer of a band or something [laughs]. When I go out there I’m a real performer, so I’m cool with [being called that].
CNN: You’re often compared to Snoop Dogg...
WK: Just because of the vibe. Snoop is the boss dog, you know what I’m saying, and I’m a young boss so they see where I’m going with it. And even Snoop fully embraces me and gives me more [ammunition] for them to call me “young Snoop.” It’s a blessing, it’s a great thing, because I’ve always been a fan and everything that he brings is positive.
CNN: What life lessons did you learn from Snoop?
WK: He always just tells me to keep focused, to stay working when everybody’s not working. When people feel like they don’t have to work that’s when you’re supposed to be on your job. And always give back.
CNN: Let’s talk love and Amber Rose. Rappers aren’t supposed to be all lovey-dovey - what’s that feel like?
WK: It’s awesome to have that support and to have that base. It gives me structure, it gives me discipline and it helps me work on other stuff that’s much more important. I feel like everybody has some person that’s out there for them. If you tap into that and take advantage of it and hold it close and treat it like what it is, that’s when you’ll get – fully – out of it what you’re supposed to.
CNN: Let’s talk about your love for weed. How much are you spending these days? Give us a figure.
WK: Oh nah, there’s no figure, man. It varies [laughs].
CNN: Would you see your financial habits or relationship with the drug change if it was ever legalized?
WK: It would be the same.
WK: Yeah, because it’s not about being illegal and it’s not about it being bad or anything like that, it’s about what makes me happy and what I know is not too dangerous. It’s a huge umbrella – doctors smoke weed, old ladies smoke weed, soccer moms, players, coaches – everybody smokes weed. I think it’s a common ground, it’s a peaceful ground.
CNN: You’re recognized more often now, but at a Barney’s store you were confused for a thief while shopping with your mom and Amber. Did that make you angry?
WK: It’s cool because I never have any expectations. I don’t expect to get the red carpet rolled out. Other people expect me to get [Hollywood]. That situation kind of blew up and Barney’s ended up sending me an email being like, “We apologize! Any time you come to the store…” It ended up working out in my favor anyway, by not blowing up and by just remaining who I am and being cool. That doesn’t bother me at all. The only time I would lose is if I give up who I am. As long as I stand up for me and what I believe in, I’ll be straight.
CNN: You started taking music seriously at 14. How has Cameron grown up as a person since then?
WK: I see myself [as] pretty cool. I was a cool 14-year-old, too. I always envisioned myself being a rapper and being in the game and having success, but you never know what it feels like or how you’re going to be when you’re there…Like from it being a dream and from just watching it on TV and seeing people’s tours to now having my own tour, having my own buses, having my own production. I shake the hands of all of my production guys my lighting guys, and I’m like, “Yo, you’re doing a great job!” It’s just knowing, the knowledge. I’m really, really happy with I’ve learned.
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wiz you are my idol.and i hope to be a rap star like you
Wiz Khalifa es lo mejor me gusta mucho su forma de cantar espero y siga teniendo tanto exito !
Black and Yellow Wedding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r6Rup0GL4I
I love the hip and the hop but who is this kid? Is he really that good or are his fans 13 year old girls?
weed well kill someone graveyard dead and wiz khalifa is the biggest smoker of weed i no
Rapper Rock Star
Nice read, I respect his artistry
Please do not put me in the category of "everybody". I do not smoke-not regular cigarettes, not weed, not even meat. I first smelled it at a KISS concert and just the odor was enough to make me nausea, so I can only imagine how literally physically ill I would if I inhaled that @$@#.
Wooow wiz s so cool, luv da way u define da holly herb dawg hope every1 could see dat ts a common ground 4 all of us. Biggz up dude we feel u here in Africa
U are the man keep working hard in life u will get there WIZ
Some people are only happy when they see others doing bad. Hate and envy is only poison for yourself. Peace, love and humility ;)
For real, wiz is the best right now. Idc what any of the haters say. I got all his songs and mix tapes. That's my boy. God bless
Loved the interview. I think its been along time coming for Wiz and us The real fans. What I mean when I say Real fans I'm talking about thoes of us who have Listioned, supported the movement and fallowed since day one. We hear And were asking the whole world, What took you So Long to Notice?
MAN LUV HIM I REALLY CAER WAT KNOW BODY SAY ALL OR ANYBODY SAY OK BUT I HAVE 2 ASK IF U HATE HIM SO MUCH Y WATCH HIS EVERY MOVE HIS INTERVIWES HIS LUV LIFE WAT HE SMOKEN I MEAN HELLO PEOPLE HE DOESNT CARE HE SOME RIGH KNOW BLAZN UP AW MY BAD WIZ I MENT ROLLING PAPERS OR GOING 2 FLIGHT SCHOOL 4 ALL U LAMES DAT DONT GET IT:~> STILL NOT GIVEN A @$&% STUDIOLUV
All this hate on someone who has worked hard and got out in the world and did the things that he wanted to do. If you dont like the guy, then go away, theres no point in bashing what he does. He has the rights to his own opinions and he has rights to do the things he wants to do bc he worked for it. In my opinion he is a great artist, a lot better than all these other wishy-washy fake artist, at least he can stand up for what he believes in.
Real talk stop hating on Wiz, same ones that hate, same ones that tag along.
Wiz is a nice good looking man, i love all his songz I can't wait unto he make some more, dam he fine, i can't wait to see him in ST.Louis mo, i love u alway! God Bless u in every way and keep on doing u! by Ciara Miles
Wad up wiz l knw u will be snoop one day or morethan him l like ur swagg guy u are 2much halo!!!weldone my man.
How can you dislike someone who is making a name for themselves? Wiz came from nothing, he rose to the top. He used his love for weed to get there and people relate to him. If anything, people should be happy for him regardless if they like rap or not. Isn't that what America is all about? Making your dreams come true..?
Not only do they OBVIOUSLY lack intelligence but they also seem to be miserable...sucks to be them!!! While they are wasting their time making absurd negative comments about him...he's making the most of his time using his TALENTS & not giving 1thought or care about them. Hahahahaha.
Wiz is the truth, real nice dude when I met him. TGoD
Of course he's talking about himself here.. It was an INTERVIEW. Why would they sit down and talk with him about other people. And he has many reasons to be confident. Haters are lame.
"All ab himself"??? #1 the interview & questions were ABOUT HIM!!! & #2 u might wanna read it AGAIN bc he said "my mentor teaches me 2always give back"
& yes his words rhyme
& amber should b w Kanye bc of NET WORTH??? Ummmm...no, she shouldn't, she should b w who she LOVES!!!
Wow, what an IGNORANT group of ppl.
Have you ever noticed the names of these people whom you consider "ignorant?" I mean seriously... take a look at these names... looks like elementary school kids or high school dropouts.
Surprised CNN doesn't delete those names.
Wiz iz the best in the game now joke n dats real tlk
Blow a pound 4 me forget these haters l
looks like it might rain here. hope it does. gosh i miss american idol. lisa respers france rules !
Don't care for wiz. And amber rose should have stuck with kanye. He may be a little off in the head, but he's not a waifish man and he is more well-known and will have greater net worth. I don't get the appeal of most of these rappers anyway. I'd puke If I had to please them physically.
Booo I definitely agree with you. It upsets me because for a rapper thats like sayin' "aint no fun if the homie can't have none". Now he's in a position where a collaboration is near impossible and Kanye is credible not only that but to be a new artist and get down like that thats messy in my eyes. Maybe he felt like thats the best he's ever gonna get and never imagined being able to get her and she's feelin' him. His new msic doesn't even sound the same
Uhhh......yeah. Ya, know? I'm really starting to get to that place where I want to just give up listening to hip hop all together. I mainly stick with stuff between 80s and early 2000s.
If i drink lots and lots of water sometimes it makes me take a Wiz.
I eat lots of fiber because my turds are long and strong. Maybe it's because I eat them.
Yeah ! I bet his words dont even rhyme.
You must be an idiot to not realize that his raps ryhme and make perfect sense. You obviously don't know anything about rap
I read some of the regular posters quit posting. They should try eating fiber. Fiber keeps me good and regular. :)
i loooooooove snoop dogg. wish he would be a judge on american idol. it would rule ! i would probably pay to watch it !
Mistaking a rapper for a thief. That's unusual.
Legit talent right here. He was even better with his underground music.
Why is he arrogant? B/c he has worked hard & is proud of who he is & loves what he does? It's called confidence.
I did this I did that It dont bother me. Blah blah blah. All about himself, he is so wonderful. Jail awaits...
Thanks for representing the BURGH! But he's not a rock star he's a rap star
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