Wiz Khalifa shows off his superstar chops at Rogers Arena
At Rogers Arena on Tuesday, November 6
Twenty-five-year-old superstar rapper Wiz Khalifa is going to be a father soon. His fiancée, supermodel (and ex-girlfriend of Kanye West) Amber Rose, is very, very pregnant. The couple announced they were expecting their first child at this year’s MTV VMA awards, and she’s been tweeting photos of her growing belly ever since. This hasn’t slowed down the North Dakota–born rapper (aka Cameron Jibril Thomaz) or his career down one bit.
Khalifa’s latest studio album, O.N.I.F.C., is due out December 4, and this is the reason he graced Rogers Arena on Tuesday night, alongside his “Taylor Gang”, consisting of Juicy J and Chevy Woods, plus up-and-comers LoLa Monroe, Berner, and Tuki Carter. It was a packed bill and a packed house.
The drunk and excited crowd (which included children with glow sticks and dumbfounded smiles) that massed outside Rogers Arena was patted down by security one by one, and it took forever to get in.
The gauntlet cleared, Juicy J (of Three 6 Mafia) was hilarious to watch. It wasn’t so much about skill but about his showboat performance. The southern rapper commanded the crowd like a horny teenager who had suddenly been dubbed the sexiest guy at a slumber party. As he made his way through “A Zip and a Double Cup” and “Everyday”, he demanded new Twitter followers, convinced girls to show their breasts (they did), and questioned who was going to take him to the “nastiest, most rancid strip club in Vancouver”.
Juicy J brought a stream of willing ladies on-stage—100 was what he asked for—and, like a perpetual adolescent, commanded “Kiss, kiss, kiss” when some male crowd members followed. After he played his verse of the Three 6 Mafia mega-hit “Stay Fly” and his own “Drugged Out”, he asked for more “titties” (and got them), then stumbled off.
Rap is the new Led Zeppelin. Juicy J could have fucked a girl with a piece of a mud shark if he had wanted to.
After 10 minutes of Bob Marley songs playing over the PA, Khalifa arrived.
The rapper blew up when he signed to Warner Bros. in 2007 and released his breakout, Show and Prove. Then came Deal or No Deal (2009) and a free mix tape, Kush and Orange Juice (2010), followed by 2011’s Rolling Papers, all of which produced radio-friendly hits and critically respected singles (some peaking high on the Billboard charts.)
At Rogers, the lanky rapper, in leather and Chucks, looked like Alison Mosshart of the Kills with a touch of Joey Ramone. Opening with “GangBang”, he pushed the crowd further into a happy oblivion of pot and overpriced booze. The thing that really works about Khalifa is that he can actually sing. In fact, at certain points between the excellent live rapping, he wailed.
Whereas Juicy J was all show, Wiz has presence and talent. He hollers like Steven Tyler (and mimics his scarf-on-the-mike-stand rocker vibe to a T) and raps hard, fast, and tight. “Homicide”, “Rise Above”, and “Cabin Fever” were full of live-wire energy. Maybe the dude was high (he claims to spend over $10,000 on pot every 30 days), but it didn’t matter. He was giving the crowd the vocal power and swag it wanted.
The only weird part was when the costumed characters came on-stage to dance. One was dressed as a lighter, the other a joint (though the latter looked more like a used condom). It was like some smoke-pit-dwelling misfits got lost on the way to Disneyland and Khalifa adopted them. Très weird, Dad.
Khalifa teetered over the audience with his strange The Nightmare Before Christmas frame during “Never Been” and “Still Blazin”, slowly stripping off layers of clothing and exposing his fully tattooed body. Closing with “On My Level”, “Black and Yellow”, and “Work Hard, Play Hard”, he was on his game enough that even the totally wasted viewers stood up to dance.
The father-to-be left with a bang. I just hope those freaky Disneyland things aren’t gifts for his soon-to-be kid.