Wiz Khalifa Talks Strategy of Singles, 'Blacc Hollywood' Album and That Miley Cyrus Collab
The "We Dem Boyz" rapper tells THR of his Under the Influence setlist and his symbiosis with Ty Dolla $ign: "That's when the best things happen, when two people are at their best."
Wiz Khalifa has a signature laugh that he puts on records. It's a few beats long — maybe written as eight "ha's" — and can come before or after a verse. For the 26-year-old rapper, it's a trademark of sorts, a reminder of the smoke-filled good times that he injects into his songs. And with his third studio album, Blacc Hollywood, on the way, Wiz has even more to feel good about.
Since his last studio album, 2012's O.N.I.F.C, Wiz married girlfriend Amber Rose and celebrated the birth of their first son, but spirits are especially high for Blacc Hollywood: the song's lead single has reignited Khalifa's radio dominance and pace-setting cultural position: "We Dem Boyz," has spent 18 weeks on Billboard's Hip Hop Charts since its February release, eclipsing both O.N.I.F.C singles and giving him his biggest hit since the 2011 breakout smash, "Black and Yellow."
For Wiz, the track's resonance was immediately palpable. "There's a difference between singles that define what music is going to sound like and singles that go along with what music already sounds like," the Pittsburgh native told The Hollywood Reporter. "I felt like 'We Dem Boyz' was one that defined." That definition reads as chant-heavy, call-and-response anthems that place greater emphasis on melody; the repeated hook of "Hol up, hol up, we dem boys," is far more memorable than any rapped lyric, with the help of producer and artist Detail.
And after signing R&B artist Ty Dolla $ign to his Taylor Gang imprint last July, the two musicians have collaborated on a number of hits like Ty's "Or Nah," each with its melodic pull. And though the singer appears three times on Blacc Hollywood — including the recently released bonus track "You and Your Friends" — Wiz says that the two have a symbiotic creative relationship. "We have each other. That's what being a big business is; being able to both bring the best out of each other. I would never depend on Ty, and he would never depend me. We're just both really, really creative and that's when the best things happen, when two people are at their best."
Fans can witness that "best" this summer, as Wiz, Ty and slew of additional rappers tour the country on the third annual Under the Influence tour, which kicked off July 24. "I'm not sure what songs I'm going to perform. I'm only doing seven songs off the album for the summer, so those (with Ty) might or might not be it, but 'You and Your Friends' is definitely on the set," said Wiz.
One song surely left off any onstage set is that rumored Miley Cyrus collaboration. The two share an affinity for herbal prescriptions and joined forces with Mike Will Made It and Juicy J last September for "23," but any harmonious chemistry between the two carefree artists will remain unexplored. "It didn't get cleared, just because of some things that had to do with the song. I think somebody else ended up paying for the beat, so that song didn't make it."
Blacc Hollywood, now available for preorder on iTunes, also features Nicki Minaj, Nas and Juicy J, and hits shelves Aug. 19.