Wiz Khalifa Details How He Brought Big Band Energy to His New Multiverse Album
This era of Wiz Khalifa is called "OG status." With more than 15 years under his belt, the diamond-selling rapper has seen and done it all. A solid catalog of seven albums means plenty of opportunities to evolve while sharing his experiences on wax. The music Wiz releases these days is a breath of fresh air, and his new summer-ready album, Multiverse, out today, is a reflection of that.
The 17-track effort has been in the works for the last five years. Throughout that time, Wiz challenged himself to try new things and perfect the method of how he approaches making music. "I kinda just went with the flow, man, and just let the DNA of the album form itself. I didn't fight it. It’s always been a goal of mine to do something that stands out and something that is more musical," he says speaking with XXL earlier this week.
To emphasize that idea, Wiz utilized the firepower of a live band for a majority of the project. The production, which is also brought to life by notable beat maestros like Hitmaka and Bankroll Got It, is groovy and lush. Take for example, the heavy presence of instruments like the saxophone that run through multiple tracks or the soulful harmonies that provide a big sense of warmth as Wiz dabbles between both rapping and singing. Wiz reveals that those strategies were intentional for a younger crop of listeners.
"It just reminds people of different musical experiences," he says. "Right now, we’re kind of in a box just because the younger generation, they haven’t really experienced the things that we went through, you know what I mean? So, it's like, to give them that option so they can feel it and know what it feels like. That’s not to say that anything is right or wrong or better or worse, but it’s just to give you that experience and involve you into it, and to give you a chance to get that on a heightened level."
Elsewhere in the interview, Wiz reflects on having one of the best rap imprints of the 2010s in Taylor Gang, among others he grew to appreciate like Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group and the Joey Bada$$-led Pro Era. Speaking on his storied collective, the Pittsburgh-bred rapper salutes everyone who contributed to their sound at the time, adding, "It’s a lifestyle. And to really be gang like that, you gotta live that shit. So, there’s a lot of key points that happened back then and just made everything what it is."
Wiz also gives respect to his frequent collaborator Juicy J. Earlier this year, the two worked together for an early 2022 project of bangers called Stoner’s Night, which has yet to leave the rotation of many fans. "That’s my OG and I just felt so proud for him to be able to rep the gang and call us gang. And us being able to rep Mafia. That was just a big moment for me," Wiz reflects. He also highlights Ty Dolla $ign, one-half of their 2015 collab, Talk About It In The Morning, and his respective rise to becoming a sleeping giant over the years. "I have so much love and appreciation. And I had so much faith in him just being such a huge superstar."
Later on in the conversation, the respected rhymer speaks about becoming a businessman who has endeavors in the cannabis (Khalifa Kush), mushroom (Mistercaps) and food businesses (Packed Bowls by Wiz Khalifa), among many others. When asked about who inspires him in that regard, he names nothing but entertainment G.O.A.T.s such as Jay-Z, Master P, Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, 50 Cent and more. "These are people who do what the fuck they want to do," he rationalizes. "They own their shit. They move when they wanna move. And they don’t really show too much. They be on point... I look up to those dudes and how serious they take their business.”
With his new project, Multiverse, out now, and a co-headlining tour with Logic currently on the road, Wiz checks in with XXL to discuss feeding the streets with new music, the current era of his career, his growth as an entrepreneur and more. Peep the interview below.