With hovering clouds of smoke and a stacked set list, Wiz Khalifa had all he needed to throw a late-night party worthy of the Bomb Factory in Dallas on Friday night. The fun-loving rapper, who is known for his heavy use of marijuana, focused on his mainstream success for most of the set, hyping the crowd along the way.
Unafraid of the radio spotlight, Wiz Khalifa, i.e. Cameron Thomaz, has contributed to more than a few platinum tracks, including the Furious 7 anthem "See You Again." His squad stayed onstage throughout his set, and he requested songs on the fly from the DJ.
Halfway through the show, Wiz Khalifa gave his mic up to rapper Chevy Woods for a few tracks. Although Chevy Woods is commonly heard on some of his singles and has his own material, the brief interlude interrupted the party. Fans waited until the headliner came back with something they knew.
Proving he doesn't rely on a track, Wiz stopped the music for "Car Service" and flew seamlessly through a few verses without any beat or backup vocals.
After 11 years in the game, the tattoed performer still finds a way to make his show feel like an urban showcase featuring rappers from his inner circle instead of a touring production. His squad mentality sets him apart from other platinum artists in the game like Drake and Kanye West. Even though his crew was distracting at times, the casual, anything-goes vibe enhanced tracks like "We Dem Boyz" and "Young, Wild & Free."
Before Wiz Khalifa took the stage, six openers had their time on the mic in hopes of warming up the excitable crowd. While the idea isn't anything new to the hip-hop community, the fame-hungry openers usually are.
D.R.A.M. (a.k.a. Shelley Massenburg-Smith) is one of those fresh faces; the goofy and unconventional artist rhymes about spreading love and finding motivation to make his own money.
His newest record, Big Baby D.R.A.M., dropped in October and includes at least two notable tracks: "WiFi" featuring Dallas musician Erykah Badu and "Broccoli," his breakout single of the fall. Hip-hop queen Badu came out for "WiFi" and added her jazzy, sensual flavor to the sexy song.
Surprisingly, D.R.A.M.'s singing voice is smooth enough to complement Erykah Badu's rich, wrinkle-free chords, making for an entertaining duet.
Badu danced near the DJ for the remainder of D.R.A.M.'s set, which ended with his unbelievably catchy track, "Broccoli." The lightweight beat and building chorus made it easy to sing along to. D.R.A.M.'s refreshing optimism and unorthodox approach to hip-hop has created noteworthy buzz, and this is just the beginning for him.
By BRENNA RUSHING/Special Contributor