A line of cars wrapped around the corner of Harbor Blvd. and smoke creeped out of cracked windows. A man held a black t-shirt between his hands with a graffiti like font reading "Wiz Khalifa." Pink wristbands wrapped around the wrists of those in line as a security guard yelled, "Sold out show everyone!"
At least a thousand people waited in line, mostly dudes, talking about rolling joints and medical-grade Mary Jane. Girls in heels tripped on craters in the uneven cement ground giggling to one another outside of Santa Ana's Observatory. Past the security and ticket line, joints were lit as Kendrick Lamar's "m.A.A.d City" blasted throughout the speakers.
Just after midnight Japanese hip-hop artist Uzi took the stage, and the inebriated crowd stood awestruck. Two girls bounced their booties up and down as they ate bananas but the fascination didn't last for long. The Hollywood-based artist was soon booed off the stage, but before he exited, he said to the audience, "Everything just got so different, so fast."
27-year-old Wiz Khalifa walked onto the stage with a red Playboy bomber jacket, purple dreads, blue shades and began to sing "Hope." It's the first night of his Blacc Hollywood Big Secret tour and joints three-quarters the size of my arm are lit in his honor. He moved right along to sing "The Sleaze," "Raw," and "Ass Drop," all three off his recently dropped album. He then slowed it down with a somewhat falsetto octave singing, "Time keep ticking/The ash from my join keep flicking/Ball hog, go hard for a living" with a baby-making rendition of "Samo."
Barely open eyes bobbed up and down and an intimate connection was established between the artist and the audience. Hands reached out towards the stage in hopes that their fingertips would touch his just for a moment. Khalifa took off his glasses to sing "Pedal To The Medal" and "Staying Out All Night."
The artist, who just signed with WME for worldwide representation less than a week ago grabbed the mic, center stage, with both of his hands singing, "They try to hold us back, paint a picture of us, then sell it straight to the public/You young, black, then you thuggin'/What they don't talk about the kid that came from nothin'." Curren$y walked on the stage and soon all of Taylor Gang was accounted for, dancing atop speakers and grinding low, smoking jays.
Khalifa's party-boy image is still alive but there began to be a shift in his performance as he sang "Promises," getting somewhat sentimental and it's no surprise. The infamous rapper and singer-songwriter has had a rough couple of months: last month, his wife, Amber Rose, filed for a divorce and, previously, a 38-year-old man was shot and killed after one of his shows in Northern California.
Khalifa then moved on to sing "So High," a favorite track off Blacc Hollywood, "Banger" and "Still Blazin'". Two white girls begin to fight to the left of the stage and the rapper walked over to them, singing, "All I smoke is papers I'm a mother fucking Taylor." The attention soon is drawn from the girls to the Pittsburgh rapper on stage and he seamlessly continues on to sing "OUY," "KK," "Whip It Around," and "You And Your Friends" with Taylor Gang joined onstage. Next he drops "Young Wild and Free" during which Khalifa let out his signature "ha ha ha" that's so popular, it's now labeled WKL ("Wiz Khalifa Laugh") in the urban dictionary.
He sang "ATL Freestyle" and as the song phased out, Khalifa had another raw moment with the audience as he said, "I appreciate that you all are here tonight. I wanted to do something more intimate and achievable so I can reach out to everybody. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you guys. I've been doing this my whole life but nights like this you remember forever." He went on to talk about self love and the power we each behold to change the world. "Keep smiling. Family first. Believe in yourself and believe in each other. Blacc Hollywood." He sang "Who I Am" and a group of guys confessed to one another that they too will remember this night forever. Smart phones flashed, capturing the artist in his final moments and a few minutes later, the 75-minute show was over.
Pedal To The Medal
Staying Out All Night
House In The Hills
Whip It Around
You And Your Friends
Young,Wild and Free
Who I Am