In the May 2011 issue of XXL Mag, Wiz Khalifa talks about his past year in his life. The Tayor Gang general talks about working on his Kush & Orange Juice mixtape, Deal or No Deal Tour, Rolling Papers, his deal with Atlantic Records & much more.

April 14, 2010
Kush & Orange Juicebecomes a No. 1 trending topic on Twitter

“It took me from October 2009 all the way up to about March 2010, where I recorded my last couple of songs for the tape… That one really didn’t surprise me. I had been planning that for so long. I was putting that together and nailing my sound down. Even the promotion of it had started in August of 2009. That’s when I first started saying anything about Kush & Orange Juice and applying that name. Even in my XXL [2010 Freshman] freestyle, I said, ‘Kush and orange juice.’ In my head, I was already Kush & Orange Juice’d out. It was just that I was puttin’ it down and gettin’ it ready for everybody else.”

April 2010
Wiz begins recording what is to become his major-label debut

“I made the title Rolling Papers up before I started recording it. I had the title; I just had to have it make sense. It was really just gettin’ started and changin’ my mind and nailing my style down to somethin’ else. I was trying new things, other than what I was naturally doin’ with Kush & Orange Juice.”

May 2, 2010
Wiz wraps up his Deal or No Deal tour, selling out 47 of 50 dates

“All of my tours, they really started from building a following and building my reputation in different cities with different people. Building relationships with promoters and just building a reputation as a good performer and as someone that’s gonna show up and really excite people.”

July 30, 2010
Wiz announces his deal with Atlantic Records

“Everybody knows, nobody just signs a deal the day that they talk about it or the week that they talk about it, or even the month that they talk about it. If you do it the right way, contracts have to be negotiated, lawyers got to be talked to, and terms got to be worked out. So the shit was in the works for a minute. Atlantic was really, really on point with keeping it a secret and keeping it under wraps, just for my following and my movement. They were really adamant about keeping everything grassroots. It was our idea, as well. We kept it under wraps for a minute, and we just got to the point that we had to calculate these moves, and we had to tell the people at some time, so we just went ahead and did it then.”

August 7, 2010
Fans bum-rush Wiz onstage at the Boston Urban Music Festival

“I wasn’t scared, I just didn’t want anyone else to get hurt. I was more worried about that. It was a positive bum-rush—they did it with style. They didn’t jump up on me or rip my clothes off. They didn’t take anything from me. I just really felt the love. I think that they were really, really excited, and when the barrier broke, they were like, We can get to him. So I had to get out of there before it got too crazy.”

September 16, 2010
Wiz kicks off his 55-city Waken Baken tour

“The Waken Baken tour got as much publicity as it did, really, because of all the fan support. That was amazing, selling out all of the shows that I did. Not having an album out and really being able to tour like that really caught a lot of people off guard. It made it go back to that being an important part of your project and what you’re doing—hitting the road.”

November 9, 2010
Wiz is arrested at East Carolina University, in Greenville, North Carolina, and charged with felony marijuana trafficking and possession of drug paraphernalia

“I didn’t smoke any weed onstage. I didn’t smoke anything outside of the bus. What happened was, we came off of the bus, and there was already campus cops just circling around. We didn’t get off the bus until, like, two seconds before we had to go onstage. We got straight off the bus and went straight to the stage. So it wasn’t even like we were lingering or disrespecting the property or anything. We went straight from the bus to the stage, and they actually smelled it. And based off of the smell, they went and tried to get some of my guys to open the bus for them, and that’s when the search went down. But I was never on the bus when the search went down, and there was no weed onstage or anything.”

January 5, 2011
Snoop Dogg announces that he and Wiz are working together on a movie called High School

“It’s not done. We shot a trailer for it. We got the soundtrack almost done. We’re trying to get the music done, because that’s going to be the easy part. It would suck to have the movie done and still be recording the album because we’re so busy. The record’s almost finished.”

January 6, 2011
Wiz makes the tabloids after paparazzi spot him with Amber Rose in L.A.

“Before, I could wear a shirt with some ketchup on it, and nobody would care. Now, if I’m walking through the airport with a shirt with some ketchup on it, somebody is going to take a picture and put it out there and be like, ‘Wiz with ketchup.’ I think about stuff like that. Or when I get out of cars, I make sure my pants are up so nobody gets no cheap shots. [Laughs] That’s the type of shit that I deal with. I’m not worried about them catching me with girls. I’m cool in that department.”

January 23, 2011
Wiz performs “Black and Yellow” at Heinz Field to kick off the Pittsburgh Steelers’ AFC championship game

“It was crazy, man. [Laughs] It was just a monumental experience to be able to perform in front of my people and just to have them ask me to do that. Pittsburgh is a segregated place. There is a big difference between a guy who wants to be a rapper and the football crowd… I didn’t get to kick it with the players, because they were gettin’ ready for the game. But I did get to smoke a doobie in the bathroom in the locker room downstairs. I’m pretty sure they smelled it, so they knew that I was there. [Laughs]”

January 28, 2011
“Roll Up,” Rolling Papers’ second single, is leaked online

“I don’t get too much more poppy than ‘Roll Up,’ but I stay in that realm. Because I’m very comfortable there, and there are people who like to hear that stuff. That goes all in the same vein as ‘We’re Done’ [off Kush & Orange Juice], or even [my first single] ‘Say Yeah.’ It’s just that worldly sound… It’s just weird how people said that I’m mainstream and I’m crossing over, when I been doin’ that.”

February 10, 2011
“Black and Yellow” hits No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart

“We were in L.A. That was Grammy week, so I was definitely working my ass off. I didn’t get to do shit. I was in the crib, so I just hit the bong… I’m always fuckin’ workin’ and grindin’, so I didn’t have time to pop a bottle or no shit.”

February 17, 2011
The Cabin Fever mixtape is released online as a free download

“I just wanted to let the fans know that I’m always gonna be thinkin’ about them, as far as free music goes. I always wanted to drop Cabin Fever as a CD, because I got different sounds.”

March 2011
Wiz finishes recording Rolling Papers and turns it in to Atlantic Records

“I got the release of being done before I actually turned the album in. Everything was recorded and tightened up, and all I had to do was give them the song titles and stuff. Turning it in was actually three or four days after that… Man, it felt great!”—Rob Markman