NEW YORK — A year ago, Wiz Khalifa was a relative unknown. Sure, Wiz was selling out shows, but outside his loyal Taylor Gang fanbase, he wasn’t a household name.
That all changed with the release of his breakout mixtape, Kush & Orange Juice, and the anthemic single “Black and Yellow.” Fast-forward 10 months, and Khalifa’s major-label debut, Rolling Papers, is in a battle for the week’s #1 release against Snoop Dogg and Britney Spears.
MTV News caught up with Khalifa on Tuesday afternoon (March 29) for his in-store at Best Buy in Union Square, and even he was shocked to see fans lined up around the block.
“It’s totally exhilarating to see kids lined up outside, screaming, wanting the album and purchasing the album,” Khalifa marveled. “It was actually like a year ago that I first started working on the album.
“I didn’t really know where I was going, but I knew I was going somewhere,” he continued. “To have it done and to see the full vision and for people to be excited about it and the entire buildup, it’s just really magnificent.”
Plenty of excited — but also laid-back, of course — Wiz fans waited outside Best Buy for a chance to meet Khalifa and get his autograph. Many of them came out on Monday night to buy the album at midnight and receive a wristband to meet Wiz on Tuesday.
“I love that kid, no lie. I don’t know that kid personally, but when I greeted him, I was in the zone,” fan Daniel Candelairo told MTV News. “I’ve been listening to him since ’07, so unlike most people out here claiming Taylor Gang — I’m not into all of that. I just listen to his music and I promote him.”
Candelairo recalled catching flak for being a Wiz fan back in the day, but he’s enjoyed the turnaround. “He’s blowing. Everybody loves this kid,” he said. “It’s awesome. I’m proud of him.”
Have you checked out Wiz’s debut album yet? Share your reviews in the comments!