Diddy's not from Wiz Khalifa's home base, Pittsburgh, but he knew what referencing the rapper's runaway hit single “Black and Yellow” would do. Clutching gold-accented black Nikes, he captioned his Twitpic, “Gettin' my get fresh on for my brother @realwizkhalifa's show tomorrow … Black and Yellow … Let's goooooo!” Diddy's no dummy. With two clicks, he became cool to a whole new crew.
After all, Khalifa built his ever growing, sticky-green empire on Twitter. It'd be easy to dismiss him as just another next generation Snoop Dogg-stoned rapper if he hadn't been blowing so much smoke across the country for the past year that he's now the general of a rabid army of fans who call themselves the Taylor Gang.
Since his amicable split with Warner Bros. last summer, he's spearheaded a grassroots campaign that included releasing not only a mixtape, How Fly, with fellow marijuana aficionado, Curren$y, and an album, Deal or No Deal, but also inspiring such allegiance that when he dropped Kush and Orange Juice this past April, it quickly became Twitter's number one trending topic. His placement on XXL magazine's “Freshman” cover in January, billing on Guerilla Union's famous hip-hop festival Rock the Bells, and striking appearance–tall, thin, and almost completely tatted up–have only increased his visibility. Increased it so much, apparently, that Diddy wanted to make a guest appearance at the first of his two sold-out Waken Baken tour dates in L.A.
These fans aren't old enough to remember “Puff Daddy,” the party promoter. Khalifa's shows, which are almost always sold out, are all-ages, because he's in the enviable position of having cornered the teenage market. If he's a little limited in his subject matter (weed and women, specifically taking yours), it's because that's all his devoted demographic talks about, too.
He didn't disappoint them last night, yet his fans are the sort who consider being disappointed such an unspeakable offense they'd never even allow the thought to take mental shape. But at the top of his set, Khalifa seemed more subdued than in previous performances. Ambling onstage with a joint, which he soon accidentally dropped, he grinned out into the sea of smokers, “I can't even fuckin' see shit!” Indeed, it seemed like puffs of weed smoke were being piped into the Music Box. Contact highs were party favors.
Watching Wiz throw himself into his show like a man possessed is especially impressive when you know he's probably never not high, so the muted performance was something of a surprise. Is it possible that Wiz Khalifa, current co-grandmaster of chiefin', can get too stoned?
Running through “Cabin Fever,” “The Thrill,” and “Mezmorized,” it seemed like it. His movements looked rote and uninspired, and his usually dizzying star power was much dimmed. Luckily, the weed wore off a little, and he reverted back to that workout that leaves him looking like a praying mantis with “The Kid Frankie,” a jacked Loose Ends' beat that Wiz practically skips through. It's a jubilant rendition, and was serendipitously placed–Diddy bounded onstage for the next song, “Never Been.” Diddy's nothing if not a nonstop hypeman; no way could Wiz not see his raise.
The momentum continued, with snippets of Kid Cudi's “Poker Face” and Luniz's “I Got 5 on It”; and Three 6 Mafia's Juicy J joined the party. To his considerable amount of groupies' delight, Wiz found his groove, a nerdily sexy hip-hop version of Axl Rose's snake dance. He crooned the closest thing he's got to a love song (though whether it's directed more towards women or weed is debatable), “Up.” He stripped off his shirts in his now-traditional show-n-tell, “Ink My Whole Body,” an early, glistening banger.
Offstage, Diddy emerged from the haze and stood watching. “I must be dreamin',” Wiz sang through a wide, winning smile. That, or smokin'. Either way, he's living in the clouds.