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Wiz Khalifa upping the stakes with bigger, grander tour

Khalifa says fans can expect a more diverse range of vibes and styles across the show, including some special surprises.

Getty Images for Baby2Baby

Grammy-nominated rapper/cannabis magnate Wiz Khalifa is heading to Chicago with his Decent Exposure tour in tow for a July 27 show at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park. His arrival just happens to coincide with the passage of Illinois HB 1438, legalizing recreational marijuana.

“Smoking up a big--- joint,” Khalifa replied when asked how he plans to celebrate with Chicagoans after the hard-fought bill was passed. “The more recreational weed, the better so we gotta get it smacking, we gotta roll up. We got to get everybody high the legal way.”

The name feels appropriate as Khalifa, who released his latest effort “Fly Times Vol. 1: The Good Fly Young” back in April, explains that it’s a play on the growing cultural shift on many of the vices and virtues that were frowned upon — like marijuana use — becoming socially acceptable as people’s views are evolving.

“I wanted to come up with something that sounded ‘bad,’ but then we make it good. And a lot of the things that I associate my tour names and my humor with is the fact that we’re in a day and age where things before then weren’t legal, they’re legal now.”

This time, the “See You Again” rapper is aiming for the Decent Exposure tour to be a much grander production than anything he’s done before.

“I just really want to get this [to be] the best experience as well as just get bigger and better,” Khalifa said. “And technology changes and there’s always new ways to do things and to make the package feel the same but be different. So, that’s the main goal is to always just level up so that people can have a better experience.”

Rapper Wiz Khalifa performs during the Doritos Blaze The Beat competition at the The Foundry at SLS Las Vegas on September 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Rapper Wiz Khalifa performs during the Doritos Blaze The Beat competition at the The Foundry at SLS Las Vegas on September 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
David Becker/Getty Images for Doritos

The tour includes a line-up of Khalifa’s longtime friends and collaborators such as French Montana, Moneybagg Yo, DJ Drama, and fellow Pittsburgh native Chevy Woods. (Playboi Carti also joins him, but won’t be arriving in Chicago due to a conflicting show in Milwaukee.)

Khalifa says fans can expect a more diverse range of vibes and styles across the show, including some special surprises.

“Moneybagg Yo [is] coming up more on the club scene in the urban world. He’s going to get experience, a new fan base, as well as bringing his fans with him. French Montana got the hits, so everybody’s going to be able to jam and have a great time. DJ Drama is going to keep everybody excited and pumped up in between because that’s what he does. I’m going to come through and knock everything out the park.

“There’s going to be a lot of guests. There’s going to be a lot of new music. We’re really just going to live in the moment and just party,” he added.

In addition to the new music and tour, Khalifa is also working on yet-to-be-announced TV projects and forthcoming music from the artists on his Taylor Gang imprint. Despite this, he says his proudest accomplishment is being a great dad to his son Sebastian, with whom he shares a touching Oreo cookie commercial.

“[I love] Spending time with him, rolling with him. He just finished kindergarten. So, he’s going to first grade now. That’s an experience that’s just always fun. [And] it was fun making a commercial because he’s really natural and he’s not the type of kid where you got to coach him too much or make him do anything out of his character. All of the reactions were real and everything else was solid. I was real proud,” said Khalifa.

While he continues to grow as a father, the Khalifa Kush honcho balances this with being a guiding figure to the newcomers behind him, like the 2019 XXL Freshman Megan Thee Stallion.

“She’s a boss, man, she’s the boss. I really respect her music and working with her. She’s just a great person, and anybody who knows me, they know I reach out to any up-and-coming artists, whether it’s for advice or to just kind of like steer them in the right direction. And so I just want to make sure she’s good,” said Khalifa.

Through it all, he hasn’t forgotten about his fallen peer Nipsey Hussle, and many good memories shared.

“One of [my favorite memories of Nipsey] is probably being in Puff Daddy’s backyard at a GQ after party or something like that. It was just a lot of different types of people there. I don’t know if he felt comfortable or I felt comfortable, but as soon as we saw each other we were like, oh man is lit. I got super drunk that night and the next day he told me I threw up in Puffy’s pool and I was really proud of myself.”

Mark Braboy is a local freelance writer.