This weekend, Vulture braved the harrowing reality of Times Square on a Saturday night to see Wiz Khalifa play a sold-out show at the 2,100-capacity Best Buy Theater. Fresh off an arrest for marijuana possession, the dude was as brazenly pro–Prop 19 as ever, tossing Wiz-branded rolling papers into the crowd and conducting informal surveys as to who else in the room was as “friiiieeeed” as him. He stayed focused, though, delivering an abundance of big sing-along choruses, dry chortles, and smiley stage energy (in this latter field he was helped by one particularly young-looking, particularly white-looking crew member who, sans microphone, bounded around the stage, reciting every single word to every single song). If his mixtape work hasn’t hooked you yet, check him out live; he may just change your mind.
Not that it’ll really matter if you don’t: If the insanely young demographic on hand Saturday night is any indication, Khalifa has already paved his road to the mainstream. We haven’t seen this many high-school kids in one place since we were actually in high school, and back then not as many of them were into mixtape rappers. Seriously, who knew suburban teen girls actively seek out rap blogs and download mixtapes these days? Yes, the chart success of his single “Black and Yellow” has something to do with it, but still there’s no official upcoming album, and Wiz has already managed to lock in the youth vote — these kids weren’t only at the Wiz Khalifa show, they were psyched to be at the Wiz Khalifa show. Girls wore their best mother-shaming outfits (Skins’ Effy Stonem seemed to be a sartorial inspiration), and boys had gotten far enough into their illicit preshow drinking (Four Loko, perhaps?) to full-on head-down shuffle-step stumble into us. Multiple times. At one point, a female security guard actually dragged one diminutive, unresponsive freshman out of the venue by the back of his shirt. It was awesome.
Anyway, yeah: Prepare yourself now for Wiz Khalifa’s imminent fame.