EB: Pittsburg isn't a traditional city for flourishing Hip-Hop. Many artists move to more well scouted areas like LA, or NYC to promote their music. Why were you so animate to stay?
Wiz: It’s definitely necessary at a point to expand to these other places, because the markets are so big. It was important for me to stay in Pittsburgh, just to make sure I could get the love and the support of my whole hometown. Especially before I started going to any other place, just to make sure I had my own fanbase of people who love me where I’m from. A lot of artists don’t even know, that’s the hardest thing to conquer, is your hometown, for real for real.
EB: Is there an undercover music scene in the Steel City, we should know about?
Wiz: Well the Pittsburgh sound is basically a well-rounded sound; it’s real diverse, and it’s got everything you need. Based on where we’re located in Pittsburgh. We're close to the Midwest, we’re close to the East Coast, we got a lot of Southern influence. You really wont be able to put your finger on it like, “Oh, that’s snap music,” or “That’s this,” or, “That’s that.” It’s just great music, period. As far as my music goes, it just goes hand in hand, because Pittsburgh inspires me so much. Just from the time I wake up, what I see outside, and the people that I run into. Attention is totally new for Pittsburgh, so every day is brand new for me. That helps inspire my music as well. Inspires me to just to keep going and really take us to where we need to be at.
EB: Most people don't know that growing up, you were a military brat. How has living everywhere from England and Japan, to Georgia and South Carolina given you a more worldly outlook?
Wiz: Yeah, definitely, definitely. I feel like it got me all the way, just being able to mingle with different types of people and connect. I really put myself out there as the new guy, nobody really knowing me, and just making everybody like me off the bat. And also it just helped me not be afraid to travel. I really like being on the road and being out, because that’s where a lot of the major work gets done. Doing shows, promo runs, this, that, and the other things. It helped me get ready for that, just knowing what I’m up for when I go to these different places, and not bein’ afraid to go to different places. It's definitely helped out.
EB: Does it make a difference to you that your music is considered solely dance worthy, and not lyrically full of substance?
Wiz: Yea, it makes a difference to me. I got other type of stuff too. But I think the fact that people are gearing their music towards dancing and having fun, is real good for hip hop. It changes the durability of the song. If you hear a song come on while you’re in the club, and you’re drunk, you can dance to it because it feels good to you. So you’re going to return to that song all the time. If you’re ridin’ in your car, it’ll just make you love the song more and more if you can dance to it. Or if it’s just got that good feeling to it, that good vibe. And that’s basically what I’ve been tryin’ to focus on, is makin’ good general music with a good vibe and you can dance to it too.
EB: With great power, comes great responsibility. Does a moral obligation to make conscious music, come with a large fan base?
Wiz: I really don’t ever stress myself as far as, “I gotta talk about this,” or, “I gotta talk about that,”. Just because I try to do the first thing that comes into my head, which usually comes off the most creative. But I do feel an obligation to speak on some of these subjects. Because we (artists) do have a platform to talk to so many people and really get our point across, and influence people that do things that they don’t see people that they think are cool doing. I definitely think we as artists or athletes or actors or whoever, we should speak on these subjects, however we feel about them.
EB: Critics say your career will end the same way it began, instantaneously. What do you have to say to them?
Wiz: *LAUGHTER* It just has to do with the whole setup. I like how Warner has set me up and put me out there to the people, and really slow-walking the whole situation. They're not rushing or trying to blow everything out of proportion, before it gets a chance to really bubble. Along with that, I’m just going to make a good complete album. An album that’s full of real music, where people can really know who I am and where I’m from. The album is not going to all sound like, “Say Yeah.” There’s going to be some good party tracks on there, but it’s going be full of good music. I feel like if I just continue to do what I’m doing, my music and working as hard as I am. I’m always in the studio, everyday. I’m always working and trying to make sure my show gets better and better. I’m just going to keep building on top of what I’ve been doing, and hopefully the people will still connect with young Khalifa, and buy my albums ten years from now.
EB: What world issue are you most passionate about, aside from the legalization of marijuana?
Wiz: *LAUGHTER* "The current war. As everybody knows, it’s pretty much senseless. I feel like we’re over there for reasons we don’t need to be, and we definitely need to get a lot of those soldiers back. ‘Cause there’s cats over there dying for no reason. And I have a young family who is out here, and really don’t have too many options and stuff like that. So the military becomes some of the options, and having to deal with the possibly losing family members is real big for me. I definitely think we need to stop that war."