When Nielsen SoundScan released its weekly sales report, Wiz Khalifa found himself trailing Britney Spears by only 80,000 units for the country’s top-selling album. Even with some lukewarm reviews, Wiz pulled in a mix of loyalists and new fans with his melodic mix of rhyming and singing on Rolling Papers. To hear Wiz tell it, this was a style he stumbled on accidentally.
“While rapping on instrumentals, there would be a lot of different types of beats,” Wiz told the Associated Press. “I might pick an R&B beat, and there would be points in the beat where the singing part would sound good. But I didn’t have anybody to sing it. So I would really hit those notes, and when it really started sounding good I blended it into my style a little bit and it just took over. It was like, ‘This is what I’ma do. I’m gonna make my own little style of singing and harmonizing and run with it.’”
Wiz said he dabbled with some singing on Show And Prove, but in the absence of live instrumentation, he just pulled melodies from the beats he had access to and benefited from being able to craft a catchy hook. Of course, it never hurts when your lead single becomes the anthem for an NFL team with Super Bowl aspirations.
“It really surprised me because I thought the song was going to be more regional than anything,” Wiz said of his number-one hit, “Black And Yellow.” In addition to being adopted by his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers, the song spent 22 weeks on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 singles chart. “It just took off and grew legs on it’s own. The melody of it kind of stuck.”