Wiz Khalifa - Nokia Theater - 10/18/11
Better than...taking bong hits alone.
For a couple years or so now, the mainstream hip-hop world has been engulfed with what seems to be a never-ending wave of stoner rap. Over the course of his abridged 75-minute set -- due to the venue's strict curfew rules -- Wiz Khalifa showed why he's leading this pack, while also showing off his skills as an MC and an entertainer.
Combining these two aspects in a live performance at a 7,100 capacity venue isn't easy, but Khalifa -- wearing thick-rimmed glasses -- had the near-capacity crowd reacting to each head nod he dispensed and each track he performed.
The 24-year-old's set list consisted of songs from works including Rolling Papers and Kush and Orange Juice. From hipsters to high schoolers, from sorority girls to hip-hop heads, the one common thread in this crowd was allegiance to Wiz's Taylor Gang. Sporting snapback Pittsburgh Pirates caps, Steelers jerseys -- or any item that mixed black and yellow -- many folks clearly felt a strong connection to the Iron City through the rapper's words, even if they weren't from the land of Ben Roethlisberger.
Mainstream success didn't happen overnight for the rapper, who gradually built a loyal cult following after his 2009 departure from Warner Bros. Records. Though many would have given up after being dropped from a major, Wiz has seemed to find his voice and swagger, which translated into him becoming one of the most well-known commodities in the game.