Wiz Khalifa gets out his "Rolling Papers"

Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:07pm EDT
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By Sabrina Ford

NEW YORK (Reuters) - There was a clear winner at February's Super Bowl, but it wasn't the Green Bay Packers.

Pittsburgh-based rapper Wiz Khalifa, whose major label debut "Rolling Papers" drops on Tuesday, was enjoying the success of his first big hit, "Black and Yellow." The song, a tribute to his city, was adopted as the unofficial fight song of the Pittsburgh Steelers who played the Packers in professional football's championship.

Khalifa's team may have lost that day, but shortly thereafter the 23-year-old whose mellow and melodic raps often focus on women and marijuana, had the top song in the United States after five years of quietly making a name for himself.

Perhaps the most covered and reworked song of the year, "Black and Yellow" has spawned countless imitations, including "Black and Guido" an interracial love song from Jersey Shore cast member Vinny Guadagnino and "White and Purple" an ode to Northwestern University.

"A lot of stuff that has happened has come by surprise," said Wiz, reflecting on the events of the last several months, "I'm really humbled by it."

The most exciting thing that has happened, has been working with rap superstar Snoop Dogg. The two are collaborating on a comedy film and its soundtrack titled "High School" and Wiz will appear on the elder rapper's upcoming LP, "Doggumentary."

Wiz, whose real name is Cameron Thomaz, was raised by military parents who frequently moved when he was a small child, living in Japan and Germany before settling in Pennsylvania. He began rapping at 9-years-old and by his teens was selling CDs in the hallways of his school.

"My mom and dad, they're proud of me," said Wiz, "this is what I've been working on since I was little. Since day one. We grew up listening to everything. I combine it in my music. That's what makes my sound -- just being a fan of everything."   Continued...