Cameron Jibril Thomaz (born September 8, 1987) is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor better known by his stage name Wiz Khalifa. In 2006, he released his debut album, Show and Prove, and in 2007, he signed with Warner Bros. Records. In 2008, his Eurodance-inspired single “Say Yeah” received urban radio airplay and charted on the Rhythmic Top 40 and Hot Rap Tracks charts, becoming his first minor hit. Thomaz left Warner Bros. in November 2009 and released his second album, Deal or No Deal. He signed with Atlantic Records after releasing the free download mixtape Kush and Orange Juice in April 2010. Thomaz’s debut single for Atlantic, “Black and Yellow,” took a more radio-friendly, pop-oriented approach.
Wiz Khalifa’s Transformation
Wiz Khalifa is lying beneath the weight rack, his hands on a barbell a few feet above. He contracts his abs and squeezes his glutes before pulling his chest to the bar. He’s working on one of his favourite moves, the inverted row, a lethal bodyweight exercise that targets the lats, biceps, and forearms. “I love inverted rows,” the rapper says. “They’re beneficial to my back. For some reason, I have a wide-ass back.”
Khalifa has been putting muscle on his back—and the rest of his wiry, six-foot-four frame—for the past seven years, and he’s grown to enjoy the process. That’s why the 34-year-old shows up five or six days a week at Unbreakable Performance, an MMA gym in West Hollywood. He also studies the exercises rather than just doing them.
“It feels like a never-ending learning process,” he says. “When you’re training, you’re always picking up new methods or techniques, or you’re doing things better, whether it’s months in advance or three months after you start or three years after you start. “I adore that sensation.”
Wiz Khalifa’s Early Life
Cameron Jibril Thomaz was born on September 8, 1987, in Minot, North Dakota, to military parents. When Khalifa was about three years old, his parents divorced. He is an army brat, having moved frequently due to his parents’ military service. Khalifa spent time in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan before relocating to Pittsburgh with his mother in 1996, where he attended Taylor Allderdice High School.
Before he was a teenager, Khalifa began writing and performing his lyrics shortly after moving to Pittsburgh. His stage name is a combination of Khalifa, an Arabic word that means “successor,” and wisdom, which was shortened to Wiz when Khalifa was a child. According to Khalifa, the name was inspired by being referred to as “young Wiz ’cause I was good at everything I did, and my granddad is Muslim, so he gave me that name.
He felt like that’s what I was doing with my music.” On his 17th birthday, he got a tattoo of his stage name. He was regularly recording his music at a local studio called I.D. Labs by the age of 15. E. Dan, the studio’s owner, was impressed by the young teen’s talent and offered Khalifa an internship for free recording time. Dan, a veteran of the Pittsburgh hip-hop scene, would assist in the development and mentoring of the young artist early in his career.
Wiz Khalifa’s Career
Wiz Khalifa’s contribution to a mixtape of various new Pittsburgh artists piqued the interest of Rostrum Records president Benjy Grinberg in 2004. When Grinberg finally met the 16-year-old artist, he knew he wanted to work with him. “Even though he wasn’t all the way developed, you could just tell that he was a diamond in the rough and that with some polishing, guidance.
And backing he could become something special,” Grinberg later told HitQuarters. Soon after, Khalifa signed with the label and began seven years of artist development. In 2005, Khalifa released his first mixtape, Prince of the City: Welcome to Pistolvania.