Wiz Khalifa is one of those rare young celebrities who is cautious about his online presence. He tweets, but carefully. He’s positive. He’s present. He also is reportedly in the midst of a divorce from model wife Amber Rose, but his Twitter timeline is devoid of tweets that might throw shade on that situation. (Conversely, Rose lets everything hang out.)
Khalifa, from Cleveland, took radio and football by storm in 2011 with his anthem “Black and Yellow.” He’s since gone on to become a fashion phenom and has charted with a number of hits, but this year’s “We Dem Boys” became another sports and radio anthem. Born Cameron Jibril Thomaz, the rapper adopted his stage name because Wiz is short for his childhood nickname, Wisdom, and Khalifa is an Arabic word for successor or leader.
WIZ KHALIFA When: 6:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday Where: House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn Tickets:$52.50 Info: (312) 923-2000; www.hob.com
He hits Chicago for shows Nov. 24-26 to support his new album, “Blacc Hollywood.” He also just dyed his hair purple, an ode to a new chapter in his life. Wiz will be answering questions live at his Chicago shows, but you need to tweet him as such: #ASKWIZ + the date of show attending + the question. Until he gets back to you, here’s what else he has to say.
How do you balance parenting with touring?
“I just put being a parent first. It’s not difficult to just wake up every day and put my baby’s best interests first and then let everything else revolve around that.”
Let’s talk social media. Lots of people throw shade online, but you don’t participate. How’s that?
“I know what’s appropriate for the Internet and what’s not. People only know me for positive things. To me, the Internet is only supposed to be fun, and that’s always my approach to it and that’s how I keep it. It’s cool because I came up in the era — two eras — of social media. I used to go on Loud Records, that Wu-Tang was signed to. I used to go on loud.com and they had forums, and I used to battle on those forums. This was before Twitter. And then Myspace came around and I was big on Myspace, and I actually met some of my friends through it, like Curren$y and Big Sean. And oh yeah, when World Star [hip hop] came around, I never went on and wrote bad comments. I’d watch the videos and enjoy. That’s what I’d encourage [other] people to do.”
So … your daily tweet is called “a smile a day.” What’s that really about?
“There’s a point in my Twitter life where I realized that people respond so much better to positive things than they do negative things or weird things. So just the fact that I have an amazing smile and it makes people happy. I look at my career and what people really love me for, and my positive energy and my smile is at the top of that.”
Why purple hair?
“I’m pretty unique, so that’s a just a part of that. I bleached it first because my hair is kinda red. Then I put the purple in. That’s my hair for the next few years. It’s always been one of my favorite colors and it’s really been popping up in my life a lot lately, so I figured It’d take it a part of my life every day.”
You excel at making anthems. “Black and Yellow” and now “We Dem Boys,” which nearly a year later still has heavy radio rotations…
“The secret to making the song that everybody loves is you gotta love it yourself . You gotta believe in it and you gotta push it to the world like they need it. I recorded [“We Dem Boys”] in December and released it in February.”
“We Dem Boys” is on the new album. How is “Blacc Hollywood” different from your last albums?
“I’d say it just evolved more musically and it’s not just rap. It’s to where I can perform live and a band could play without the words and the music would still be exciting. It’s much more of an experience [brought about] as I got older and as I studied music much more, and also just experimenting and working with different people who are better at me at what they do. I’m at a point where I’m able to have a different affect.”
How many songs did you discard before coming up with the final 13?
“I probably discarded about 30. Those songs are gonna come out in some way, shape or form.”
Who are you listening to?
“Man, I’m listening to Vic Mensa. He’s from out there. He’s hot. I always heard his name, and then I met him like two or three times. I met him in New York and then in Los Angeles and I seen him in Europe and we sat down and talked. Our connection is way deeper than I even knew. That’s when I knew this was a good kid and his flow is crazy. I see him to be the next person to blow up and take it there.”
Listen live (there is occasional cursing, so it’s not safe for work or for children) to Mensa’s latest cut “Wimme Nah”:
What’s on your Chi-town must list?
“I have to eat Harold’s. It’s really good. Just wings and fries with the sauce.”