There’s no artist whose independent grind paid off more thanWiz Khalifa’s. Ever since his cross-over mixtape Kush & OJ broke some type of imaginary ceiling (and Twitter records), Khalifa has made his presence known everywhere he goes. On his new album Blacc Hollywood, due out August 19 on Atlantic Records, he promises a stadium sound and positive vibes. Pigeons & Planes recently spoke with Khalifa about Blacc Hollywood, being spiritually self-aware, finding happiness, and the last thing he Googled.
What’s your earliest memory of music?
Earliest memory of music is probably listening to Alexander O’Neal and stuff like that with my dad. Singing Chubb Rock lyrics. He used to listen to a whole lot of ’90s rap.
I live in Atlanta, which is sometimes referred to as Black Hollywood… any influence on your album? I know you shot the “We Dem Boyz” video here.
Yeah, it could definitely be a huge influence because the energy of the youth and the people down there and the fashion, music, film. Everything is always moving forward. Not necessarily like the cameras and, you know, because of the party scene… but because of the ideas and the energy that’s down there.
What are your dreams like? Do you ever have lucid dreams?
There’s certain times where there’s functions that don’t work in my dream. Like, I won’t be able to see correctly—just weird shit.
When I’m 90, though? I’ll probably just be getting high and watching whatever my favorite TV show is at the time.
Do you fear death?
Nah. I just feel like life is all about experiences and learning new things and doing them over and doing them differently. Just not letting anything become old. Just finding new ways. Even when I’m 50, I’m gonna have a chance to reinvent what I did at my age now. Knowing that excites me. When I’m 90, though? I’ll probably just be getting high and watching whatever my favorite TV show is at the time.
Are you afraid of anything?
No, I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of anything. I don’t think anything would happen to me that I’m not able to handle.
How important do you think It is to be your own hero and your own biggest fan?
I think it’s very important. The better you are to yourself, the better you can be to other people. Knowing your self worth is so important.
If you could gain a new skill instantly like Neo in The Matrix, what would it be and why?
Flying a helicopter. I was just in one and I was thinking to myself, “I could use this as a means of transportation everyday.”
How do you really know anything for sure?
Everybody has something deep down inside them that drives them towards something. It’s just the path that you take to get there. It’s just picking and choosing. You know right from wrong—it starts there. Then it’s like what you want to do with your life, who you choose to be around, and how you choose to handle situations. There’s so many different ways to do it. At the end of the day, you just keep your originality, keep who you are, and never lose that. Everything else kind of comes from that.
At the end of the day, you just keep your originality, keep who you are, and never lose that. Everything else kind of comes from that.
What would you change if you knew you were never going to die?
I wouldn’t change anything. I just want to keep moving through life and keep learning.
Is the country you live in really the best fit for you?
Uh, I question it at times. I mean… America. Just growing up here you get accustomed to the American way but when you’re gone you’re like, “Ah, man, I miss America.” But there are so many other places. Maybe if I was away for longer and went through America withdrawal, I would be good.
This girl recently told me that she thinks happiness is just a temporary feeling and it’s not a real emotion. It’s just something you feel for hours or maybe a couple days at a time. Do you think that’s true?
Nah, that’s not true. Not true. Happiness is like… you can be a happy person in general, and nothing can ever get you down. Those type of people exist. And certain people, you know, they just need something to make them happy.
These photos recently surfaced of you and Kid Cudi out somewhere. What’s your relationship like with him? I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t be mad at a collaboration.
Man, Cudi is a really big artist in my mind. He’s a huge artist. I look up to him. He came up before me. He was able to do what I’m doing now before I was able to do it. I looked at his path, his performances. He gets a lot of money to do what he does. I look up to him for that and I respect him. I think a collaboration hasn’t really happened due to that respect. We don’t really try to push it too far. We just respect the hell out of each other.
What’s your favorite 50 Cent hook?
“21 Questions.” But he didn’t sing that one. RIP Nate Dogg. You wanna know what really one of my favorite 50 Cent hooks is? “Candy Shop.” That was classic.
What’s your personal favorite TGOD [Taylor Gang or Die] scenario?
Oh, man. Taylor Gang or sit your nuts in a bear trap.
What are some of the last things you’ve Googled?
The location for OAK in NYC, because I’m in New York and I went shopping. I Googled Anita Baker because I randomly forgot her name. And I Googled how to spell “impersonation” because I was about to type it in a tweet.
Blacc Hollywood drops August 19. What kind of vibe can people expect from this?
It’s big music. It’s really big music. It’s really my best way of describing how I feel and how I want people to feel about life. That’s pretty much what all my projects are, just my outlook on life. I want people to feel positive about themselves and their game plan for life. Blacc Hollywood is that motivation.
What are your favorite place to eat on tour?
If they got Pappadeaux’s there, I’m good. I fuck with Pappadeaux’s.
Being this major label recording artist while simultaneously being a family man, how is it balancing the two? Does it ever get overwhelming?
I’m just learning that it’s really all about sacrifices. The more you get, the more you have to sacrifice in order to make it all work. When I started out and was a little younger, I didn’t have too many responsibilities, I didn’t have to look out for anything. It was kind of like the Wild Wild West, anything goes. Now, there’s things that I want to be around for that I can’t be around for. Being on tour for seven weeks and not seeing my son is really, really difficult. That’s something I didn’t have to deal with before. Before it’d be like, “Oh, I’m going on tour for seven weeks? Fucking party!” That’s really what it is. It’s like the real life sacrifices, the things that matter that you have to juggle with the stuff that you have to do.
Me knowing my purpose and knowing my path, it’s easy for me. I know it’ll pay off later. I’ve done things and unknowingly made sacrifices and they’ve paid off now. Later on I’ll just be able to whatever I want to do in life. That’s what I’m headed towards.
When will you be good enough for you? Is there some point when you will accept everything about yourself?
Man, I just think it’s going to be a constant struggle. Especially as an artist. Artists like to please everybody. We like to please ourselves, we like to please our family, we like to please people who we don’t even know. A whole lot of thought goes into that. There are rare moments where it all settles down… and it’s like, “Man, this is what we do it for.” You just got to bottle those moments and keep it moving.