Wiz Khalifa, architect of such albums as Kush & Orange Juice and Rolling Papers, performed at Stony Brook University on Friday, April 27.
Wiz Khalifa, whose real name is Cameron Jibril Thomaz, makes a living off rapping about weed and other similar motifs that have pervaded hip-hop ever since Snoop Dogg found his lazy drawl.
Freezing outside of the Pritchard Gym along with thousands of students and a handful of cops I took out my headphones and iPod. The first song to play was Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” whose bellow of a refrain goes, “everybody must get stoned!”
Wiz is like the bastard son of the ’60s, sympathizing with the freewheeling, anti-authoritarian mentality of that time. Dylan’s song was so controversial that it was banned on BBC when it came out in 1966 for fear of the prevalence of “drug songs,” yet his songs are tame by Wiz Khalifa’s standards. Wiz’s work houses such song titles as “You Can Put it in a Zag, I’mma Put it in a Blunt,” “Good Dank” and “Reefer Party.”
It’s no surprise that Wiz’s most well-received song at the concert was his collaboration with Snoop Dogg, “Young, Wild and Free.” The crowd joined in singing along to the chorus that goes, “So what we get drunk?/So what we smoke weed?/We’re just having fun/We don’t care who sees/So what we go out?/That’s how its supposed to be/Living young and wild and free.”
There was a reason Wiz performed in front of a large, white-graffitied peace sign, a modernization of an old theme. Music and marijuana have gone hand-in-hand even earlier than that—in Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” and The Beatles’ “Got To Get You Into My Life,” for example—but never quite to this extent. “All I do is mary, mary, mary/I ain’t fuckin’ with no other drug,” Wiz raps in “Mary 3x,” performed halfway through Wiz’s set, which was sandwiched between performances by R&B singer Miguel and dubstep artist DJ MiM0SA.
This was the first song in what can be described as a marijuana medley, seguing in “In the Cut”—as in, “in the cut, rollin’ doobies up”—then into “Still Blazin’,” finally topping it off with cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry.”
Wiz, wearing an embellished jean jacket and dark blue skinny jeans, began his set with “When I’m Gone,” the lead track of his major label debut Rolling Papers. “When I’m Gone” is a song about spending your money to enjoy the high life. “Back in the day money was short, I’m making it taller/You know what I mean, some say it’s a problem/Blowing my greens, not saving my collards/No NBA, they say I’m a baller/Live for today, it’s not like my father,” Wiz rapped, to adoring cheers. Wiz certainly holds up to it. In a 2010 YouTube video, he claimed that he spent $10,000 on weed a month.
As Wiz Khalifa rapped about Mary Jane and bitches, into a microphone covered in afghans, the stench of weed permeated the crowd, and it wasn’t even coming from the artist who just the day before was busted for pot possession. Every once in a while, a puff of smoke would rise from the pit in front of the stage, to which Wiz would respond with his cackle of a laugh, affirming a connection with the audience, a shared civil disobedience.