Wiz Khalifa, Jeezy & More at The Woodlands, 8/15/2014
Under The Influence of Music Tour
Photos by Francisco Montes Wiz Khalifa
Feat. Wiz Khalifa, Jeezy, Rich Homie Quan, Ty Dolla $ign, IAMSU! & Sage the Gemini, Mack Wilds
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
August 15, 2014
Either I've gotten older or Wiz Khalifa doesn't exactly do it for me anymore.
That's not a slight to Khalifa, as far as charting of his evolution from stoner kid who used to rap with a spitfire energy and rasp to arena-rocker. It's more an overall assessment of where my fandom with him has lain over the years. It was at its apex maybe three years ago, right as his Kush & OJ mixtape became a late-night soundtrack and "Black And Yellow" became an inescapable hit record.
Ever since then, it's lowered and watching him live -- for the third time this year, no less -- it's clearly evident he's more in a rocker kind of mood than a rap star.
The Under the Influence of Music Tour rolled into Houston Friday night, with all seven of its billed acts hitting the stage promptly and not running over. If Khalifa was the show's actual headliner, it certainly didn't feel that way from the crowd overall. Fans on the Pavilion's lawn were given a show, no doubt, as Wiz left the stage to join them during "No Limit," but it was mostly young fans, teenagers, who kept their energy up throughout.
Me? I sat down and enjoyed a bag of popcorn. It's weird to look at Khalifa as a bore, but as he stood clutching a golden microphone and stand, he stood and sang amped-up records like "Work Hard, Play Hard" as serious as can be. I knew Nine Inch Nails and company were set to arrive in Houston the next day, but would imagine Wiz thought he was in his own world for his 90-minute set.
He gyrated and flicked his tongue during "Incense," showered us in black and yellow confetti during "Black and Yellow," and stared a girl down on cue when a certain lyric from his summer record "We Dem Boyz" clanged off the sound system. He wanted to seem and feel like a rock star, dropping minor anecdotes about free spirits and living your life and uplift in between nonsensical-at-times "trap Wiz" records such as "Like Jimmy" and "James Bong."
One completely understands why Khalifa would play insular rock star on a stage that sort of demanded it. His fan base is smoked-out teens and twentysomethings, those who immediately became fans of his when he was rapping over Empire of the Sun samples and looked from afar as he became a mainstream star.
Jeezy on the other hand, knows how to be a rock star without compromising the idea.
Story continues on the next page.