Artist – Wiz Khalifa
Years Active – 2005-Present
Notable Album – Rolling Papers
“Damn, who knew
All the planes we flew
Good things we been through
That I’d be standing right here talking to you
‘Bout another path
I know we loved to hit the road and laugh
But something told me that it wouldn’t last”
Another bit of cheating on our part here. Wiz Khalifa is much more closely associated with Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania, about which he wrote his hit song “Black and Yellow.” He was born in Minot, North Dakota, however, while his father was stationed there as part of his army service. He would live overseas for much of his childhood before eventually settling in Pittsburgh.
Still, we gotta fill North Dakota somehow. Midwestern rappers tend to cluster, understandably, around the region’s bigger metropolises, and sadly neither of the Dakotas are known for their city life.
Khalifa came up through the same rap graduating class, so to speak, as J. Cole, first appearing on the scene in the waning years of the first decade of the 21st century.
Though Khalifa remains a presence within rap, his two peaks have come in unique ways relative to many others on this list.
The first came with the aforementioned song “Black and Yellow,” which was released right at the beginning of a NFL season that would see the Pittsburgh Steelers reach the Super Bowl come February. Khalifa’s tribute to his adopted hometown understandably became ubiquitous, especially in and around the city itself.
The second came with 2015’s release of the movie Furious 7. Franchise star Paul Walker died in an unrelated car accident in the middle of filming, and the filmmakers saw fit to honor the actor with an appropriately touching ending, soundtracked by the song “See You Again,” written and performed by Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth.
By the end of the year the song was the best selling single worldwide, and Khalifa’s mark was again made not by a landmark album or statement verse, but by the co-mingling of rap and another cultural medium.