OA: Rapper in GJ December 12, 2008

Rapper who put Pittsburgh on hip-hop map coming to GJ

He calls himself Wiz because that’s what people kept telling him, that he’s smart beyond his years, a whiz kid.

Hip-hop artist Wiz Khalifa, 20, writes some racy and profane lyrics, but he is an articulate speaker.

Khalifa, along with two acts from Denver, Black Prez and Livest Vibe, are providing the musical entertainment at the TreStylez.com fashion show at Mesa Theater and Club on Friday, Dec. 12.

Khalifa rose from a pocket-size hip-hop scene in Pittsburgh, and became the rapper that gave the city its rap identity, he said.

“Really, it’s fortunate for me to be in this situation,” he said.

His break has given other performers from Pittsburgh a chance to step up, he said.

“I’m living proof anyone can make it as an entertainer.”

After releasing his indie album “Show and Prove,” Warner Bros. Records signed him, and Rolling Stone magazine called him a “New Artist to Watch” in 2007. More publicity followed and his Internet presence has grown exponentially. Khalifa releases short videos on YouTube on a regular basis.

“I feel like my whole career has been a forward progression,” he said.

Currently, he’s riding out the success of his radio hit “Say Yeah,” recording new music and releasing some of it on mix tapes. The release date for his new CD has been pushed back, but he’s optimistic that time will only make his work better.

Sponsoring the Khalifa show is urban streetwear Internet distributor TreStylez.com, based out of Denver. The founders of the Web site are from the Grand Valley.

Isiah Otero, a representative of the Web site, said the company’s goal is to bring a new sound to western Colorado, as well as a different level of fashion.

TreStylez.com sought Khalifa for the show because he’s “hip, young and fresh,” Otero said.

“He goes along well with the site.”


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