by Rory D. Webb
It was only appropriate that Wiz Khalifa made his way to the Consol Energy Center stage to perform for his hometown audience on December 12, 2012, the date that the Pittsburgh City Council proclaimed Wiz Khalifa Day in the city.
Sprinting to the mic with excitement, Khalifa opened his set with his triple platinum single, 2010's “Black & Yellow.” Accompanied by DJ Bonics, a drummer, keyboardist, and bass player, the superstar emcee was decked out in black jeans, a Jerome Bettis jersey, and hat saying 'DOPE' across the front. With smoke pouring from the top of a huge bong prop and clips of classic horror film Nosferatu playing on the back-drop screen, smaller marijuana-scented smoke clouds began rising from the thousands in attendance as they came aboard Khalifa's flight into the future at the 2050 Tour.
The loudest responses from the audience came when Khalifa performed with his Taylor Gang crew. For “The Code,” Khalifa was joined on stage by crew members Juicy J, Lola Monroe and Chevy Woods. This was followed by a fan favorite, the crew's anthem aptly titled “Taylor Gang,” which features Khalifa and Woods trading verses. Also on stage were crew members Berner, Quay, and Tuki Carter, as well as Khalifa's pregnant fiancée Amber Rose, as they and the crowd chanted the repetitious chorus, “Taylor ... Gang ... Taylor ... Gang ...”
As the Taylor Gang left the stage, Khalifa stood alone. Mellowing the mood with his song “The Grinder,” he showed jaw-droppingly impressive breath control rapping his 16-bar verses, hardly pausing for a single gasp of air. It's a feat that requires training, and is an example of Khalifa's dedication to mastering even the slightest intricacies when it comes to his work.
“I put everything I learned right here (in Pittsburgh) into what I take to the world,” said Khalifa during a transition between songs, reflecting on his roots in the city since he's attained international stardom. “Whatever you wanna do in life, you can do that shit. … As long as you keep your heart in it and you go hard, you can do it.”
Smiling from ear-to-ear, Khalifa again brought out his fiancée, Amber Rose, this time to perform a song he says he wrote about her. The song, “Got Everything,” features Pittsburgh-bred singer Courtney Noelle and is on Khalifa's new album, O.N.I.F.C.
The Taylor Gang returned to the stage and the previously mentioned exuberance came with them. "Sledgro!," Khalifa shouted, leading into another song from O.N.I.F.C., “The Introduction,” produced by Sledgren and featuring a rap by Lola Monroe.
Getting into his new album's second single, the provocative “Remember You,” Khalifa peeled off the Bettis jersey to show a black tank top that better flaunted his gold chains. Accompanied by some additional piano playing, red lighting flashed across the otherwise dark stage as Khalifa danced while the R & B vocals of the Weeknd played, only to be taken out of his trance to rap his own portion of the song.
Khalifa's Grammy-nominated single “Young, Wild, and Free” had everyone on their feet singing along with the catchy chorus. That aforementioned tank top didn't stay on long, as Khalifa showed off the '412' tattoo on his chest when he performed an older hit song, “Ink My Whole Body,” from his 2008 mixtape Star Power.
As the end of this last show of the 2050 Tour approached, Khalifa performed this summer's platinum single, “Work Hard, Play Hard.” Bonics added some exceptional final touches as he mixed record-scratches into the song's beat.
Concluding the show, Khalifa slowed the vibe with his song “One Night,” thanking fans and praising his hometown of Pittsburgh.