Wiz Khalifa: 'Deal or No Deal,' his buzz is growing

For a short time early last week, a surprising entry crept into the iTunes Music Store’s overall top 10 albums: 22-year-old Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa’s Deal or No Deal, coming in just below high-profile pop releases by the likes of Adam Lambert, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, and the New Moon soundtrack. It also briefly topped iTunes’ hip-hop chart. Wait a sec — Wiz who?

If you did recognize Wiz’s name, it might have been from last year’s “Say Yeah,” with its prominent sample of Dutch trance act Alice DeeJay’s “Better Off Alone.” That single became a minor hit, but a full-length follow-up failed to materialize, and Wiz left then-label Warner Bros. earlier this year. “I didn’t get dropped from Warner, but they definitely lost interest in the project,” he tells the Music Mix. “After ‘Say Yeah,’ I think they wanted me to be that artist who just does that [sound].” (A Warner Bros. rep confirmed that Wiz parted ways with the label this year, but declined further comment.)

Wiz kept a healthy buzz going among rap fans in recent months with well-received mixtapes and tracks like “This Plane.” He ended up releasing Nov. 24’s Deal or No Deal, many of whose songs were recorded while he was still with Warner Bros., on the considerably smaller (to say the least) Rostrum Records/Frank Radio/iHipHop Distribution. Now he’s getting arguably as much attention for his new project on a teensy indie label as he ever did back when he was signed to a major. “I’m feeling really great, man,” Wiz says with an audible grin. “I’m on my own terms.”

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
HBO airs Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts: Your favorite moments?
Songs about food: Let us give thanks!
John Mayer tops album chart; Norah Jones and Justin Bieber, not too shabby
Jimmy Fallon does Neil Young


Comments (13 total) Add your comment
  • Jane

    I love love love Wiz Khalifa. Come to DC!

  • AZ40

    Khalifa man, he’s that dude much props maybe now people’ll stop sleepin on him

  • mike anderson

    Wiz is butt. tell him to go back to the raw prince of the city sound or go go home..

  • slushy bo

    man stop hatin if u r obviously reading about him, and ur hatin cus he blowin up in front of u and ur reading about him and juss like wiz says UR JUST A LAMEEEEEEE

  • TG Fan

    if i was m.anderson for a week,
    when i look myself in the mirror,
    i would shoot the first thing i seen.

    lames hatin on wiz.

  • Rap Fan

    I had doubt but hes really stepping it up. The CD’s Fantastic.

  • andy

    yooooo showin love from winnipeg, manitoba!!!!

  • J

    you NEEEED to come to toronto!

  • Reina

    The culture of rap music is DEFINITELY changing and i LOVE it : )

    Fresh Heir Series Vol. 1 Presents Wiz Khalifa
    With: Nifty, L Solo, Colby Ross and Klappa Kid

    Late Show Including: Kadda Mac, Jon Famous,
    Polo, 4-Play and Special Guest Kaz Kyzah of The Team!!!

    Decemember 18th Sacramento, Ca
    The Colonial Theartre
    3522 Stockton Boulevard, 95820

    Hosted by JayMarzz

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    and DJ Craig G

    Tickets Available at all Dimple Records and etickets.com

    Box Office opens @ 11 am

    December 18, 2009

    5:30pm Show $15 8:15pm Show $25

  • Philip

    I think I’m the only person in Atlanta that bumps to him…. I don’t care he’s a great rapper, something we need down in Atlanta….

  • Savy

    i think Wiz Khalifa can be big if a label would invest in his music he could be like a drake or j.cole

  • Lil Kasper

    Wiz Khalifa gits it in yo.
    That homie stays killin tha game non stop.
    Tha Best rapper OUT!!

  • klockwerk

    wiz is the best

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