NEW YORK — The heat wave that beat down on the city for the past week finally broke yesterday only to give way to a persistent rain. But storm clouds didn’t dampen Wiz Khalifa’s mood as he brought his Rolling Papers Tour to Central Park on Monday night.
Taylor Gang member Chevy Woods opened the show as concertgoers filed into the park’s Summer Stage area. Despite a nagging drizzle, the Pittsburgh MC entertained, performing songs from his Red Cup Music mixtape.
MTV Jams 2011 Fab 5 inductee Big Sean was up next. Starting off with fan-favorite freestyles from his trio of mixtapes, Sean ended the back half of his set with tunes from his debut album, Finally Famous. Spirited renditions of “Marvin & Chardonnay,” “Dance (A$$)” and his VMA-nominated hit “My Last” rocked through the speakers as the rain winded down.
At around 8:30 p.m. ET, the lights went low and Khalifa took the stage, and his introductory “When I’m Gone” from Rolling Papers prompted a sing-along. “I’m gonna spend it all, why wait for another day,” the crowd of 6,000 sang in time with Wiz.
The energetic performer then treated his Taylors with a trip down memory lane, diving deep into his mixtape catalog. Sean was invited back onstage to rap along to “Gang Bang” from Khalifa’s Cabin Fever and then Wiz tore into cuts from his mixtapes Burn After Rolling (“The Thrill”) and classic Kush and Orange Juice (“In the Cut” and “Mesmerized”). The crowd was worked into a frenzy by the time DJ Bonics dropped the beat for the Lex Luger-produced “Taylor Gang.” Wiz rapped the track’s lyrics along with Chevy Woods, while his faithful following twisted their fingers, throwing the Taylor sign in the air.
With all of his street material in the can, the rapper sang “The Race,” “Wake Up” and “Fly Solo,” all from his RIAA-certified gold album. During the bridge of his lovey-dovey single “Roll Up,” Wiz brought his model girlfriend Amber Rose onstage and grinded with her in a public display of affection.
By the time the instrumental to his VMA-nominated “Black and Yellow,” rolled in, it was apparent that his hour-and-a-half set was drawing to a close, but Wiz threw predictability out the window and instead closed out with the underground “Ink My Whole Body,” an ode to his multiple tattoos .
At the end of the night, the clouds had cleared, and Wiz once again proved to be one of rap’s most engaging and charismatic performers.