Cameron Jibril Thomaz better known by the stage name Wiz Khalifa,was born in Minot, North Dakota on September 8, 1987 to a mother and a father serving in the military. His parents divorced when Khalifa was about three years old. His parents’ military service caused him to move regularly. Khalifa lived in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan before settling in Pittsburgh where he attended Taylor Allderdice High School.
His stage name is derived from Khalifa, an Arabic word meaning “successor”, and wisdom, which was shortened to Wiz when Khalifa was a young boy. Khalifa stated to spinner.com that the name also came from being called “young Wiz ’cause I was good at everything I did, and my granddad is Muslim, so he gave me that name; he felt like that’s what I was doing with my music.” He got a tattoo of his stage name on his 17th birthday. He cites Jimi Hendrix, Camp Lo, The Notorious B.I.G. and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony as musical influences.
Khalifa released his debut album, Show and Prove, in 2006, and signed to Warner Bros. Records in 2007. His single, “Say Yeah”, received urban radio airplay, charting on the Rhythmic Top 40 and Hot Rap Tracks charts in 2008.
Khalifa parted with Warner Bros. and released his second album, Deal or No Deal, in November 2009. He released the mixtape Kush and Orange Juice as a free download in April 2010 right before he signed with Atlantic Records. It was after this deal that he dropped his smash hit, “Black and Yellow”, which peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. His debut album for the label, Rolling Papers, was released on March 2011. He followed that album with O.N.I.F.C. in December 2012 which was backed by the singles “Work Hard, Play Hard” and “Remember You”.
Rostrum Records president Benjy Grinberg first heard about Wiz Khalifa in 2004 when the rapper’s contribution to a mixtape of various new Pittsburgh artists attracted his interest. When Grinberg finally met the 16-year-old artist, he immediately decided he wanted to work with him, later telling HitQuarters: “Even though he wasn’t all the way developed you could just tell that he was a diamond in the rough, and that with some polishing, guidance and backing he could become something special.” Khalifa signed to the label shortly after and began a seven-year period of artist development.
Khalifa released his first mixtape, Prince of the City: Welcome to Pistolvania, in 2005. The mixtape paved the way for his first full length album entitled Show and Prove in 2006. Khalifa was declared an “artist to watch” that year in Rolling Stone magazine.
Khalifa parted ways with Warner Bros. Records in July 2009 after numerous delays in releasing his planned debut album for the label, First Flight. Khalifa stated to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that, “I learned a lot during my time there and matured as an artist during the process. I’m happy to be moving on with all of my material and having the chance to be in control of my next moves”.
Khalifa released the single “Teach U to Fly”, and the mixtape How Fly, a collaboration with New Orleans rapper Curren$y, in August 2009. Khalifa introduced a more melodic style on the mixtape, alternating between singing and rapping, which helped him expand his brand and appeal to more people. Khalifa then released the mixtape Burn After Rolling in November 2009, where he raps over familiar beats from other artists, including the songs “If I Were A Boy” and “Diva” by Beyoncé, “Walking on a Dream” by Empire of the Sun, “Luchini AKA This Is It” by Camp Lo, and “Best I Ever Had” by Drake.
Wiz Khalifa was named 2010 “Rookie Of The Year” by The Source, with alongside Rick Ross, “The Man Of The Year”. Khalifa released the free mixtape Kush and Orange Juice for download in June 2010, and due to Khalifa’s devoted grassroots fan base, the mixtape became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter with the hash tag #kushandorangejuice, and “Kush and Orange Juice download” ranked No. 1 onGoogle’s hot search trends.
Khalifa released “Black and Yellow”, his first single for Rostrum/Atlantic, produced by Stargate, which has received radio airplay. The single was peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100; the title of the song refers to the colors of the City of Pittsburgh. Khalifa’s record label, Taylor Gang Records, is named after his love of Chuck Taylor All-Stars and his alma mater, Taylor Allderdice High School.
Khalifa began dating model Amber Rose in early 2011, after her greatly publicized relationship with rapper/producer Kanye West. The couple became engaged on March 1, 2012,and married on July 8, 2013, with a wedding celebration planned for later this year. They have one son, Sebastian Taylor Thomaz, born on February 21, 2013.
Pittsburgh City Council declared 12-12-12 (December 12, 2012) to be Wiz Khalifa Day in the city. Khalifa graduated from Pittsburgh’s Taylor Allderdice High School and in January 2012 purchased a home in nearby Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
Khalifa is open about his use of cannabis, and he has claimed in many interviews that he spends $10,000 a month on cannabis, and also smokes daily.
He is an avid supporter and big fan of all sports teams from his town, mostly the Pittsburgh Steelers, and many others like NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates,Arena Football League’s Pittsburgh Power, and also the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
Wiz Khalifa lives an amazing life, and has an amazing career and track record. Khalifa is proof that if you work hard, stay true to yourself, and know when to lead and follow direction, you can become a true success. Had Khalifa not been working hard on mix tapes before getting noticed, and then was patient enough to allow himself to be molded for 7 long years, he may not have become the Wiz Khalifa we know and respect today.
Stay High, Humble and Work Hard….that’s the Wiz Khalifa ashy to classy success story.