When Wiz Khalifa burst onto the scene in 2010 with his hit song ‘Black and Yellow,’ the culture didn’t know much about the young man. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Khalifa (real name Careon Thomaz) was a clean slate.
However, through his music and visuals, Thomaz quickly made it known that his first love was weed. With his first album, Rolling Papers, boating tracks such as ‘Roll Up’ and ‘On My Level’ featuring Too $hort, Khalifa built his brand around the drug and was comfortable doing so.
From his own line of premium rolling papers to his marijuana strain—Khalifa Kush, Thomaz forged a lane for himself and even developed a friendship with hip-hop’s lovable uncle Snoop Dogg. The two musicians filmed the stoner-comedy Mac & Devin Go to High School and released a collaborative soundtrack.
Although Khalifa initially found success with this form of marketing, hip-hop fans grew to see him as a one-dimensional artist who made music solely about marijuana. As such, audiences began to pay less attention to his material and looked to more versatile and substantive artists.
As a result of his introductory marketing, Thomaz was quickly written off as a ‘stoner-rapper’ and a ‘pot-head’, which was highly detrimental to his career growth over the years. However, in an interview with Hard Knock TV, the Pennsylvania act revealed that he is working on detaching himself from that stigma.
Speaking to the host, Thomaz explained, “I was just talking with one of my homies yesterday. I kind of want to break the stigma of everything I do is like a ‘stoner this’ or a ‘weed head’ that. That’s what I built my marketing off of and my brand, but at the end of the day, everyone who is successful in film or in music gets high, and they don’t look at them as ‘the stoner.’”
He continued, “When I get past that point, I think I’ll make more movies and do different things so to people it doesn’t look forced or look like I’m trying to change lanes or change gears. It’ll just be people ready for me to do that anyway.”
Despite Thomaz’s efforts, he has yet to shake that ‘stoner’ image that he introduced to the world so early in his career. Many artists have experienced similar problems; 50 Cent tried to shake his gangster image, and Azealia Banks tried to detach herself from her rebellious brand. However, first impressions are hard to change. You can watch Wiz Khalifa’s interview in the video below.