Cameron Jibril Thomaz, better known by the stage name Wiz Khalifa, is an American rapper based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His stage name is derived from khalifa, an Arabic word meaning "successor", and wisdom, which was shortened to Wiz when Khalifa was fifteen.
In 2007, Khalifa signed to Warner Bros. Records and released two albums through Rostrum Records. His techno-influenced single, "Say Yeah," received urban radio airplay, charting in the Hot Rap tracks Top 40. Khalifa parted with Warner Bros. and released the mixtape, Kush and Orange Juice as a free download in April 2010. Thanks to Khalifa's devoted grassroots fan base, the mixtape became the #1 trending topic on Twitter with the hash tag #kushandorangejuice, and "Kush and Orange Juice download" ranked #1 on Google's hot search trends. Shortly afterwards the Pittsburgh rapper signed with Atlantic Records. This is his first single released with the American label.
You will not be surprised to read that as a Pittsburgh native, Khalifa is a die-hard Steelers fan and this song is titled after the football team's black and canary scheme. Also the music video shows the MC performing the track wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the Steelers' Super Bowl championship ring waving the team's famous Terrible Towel.
Khalifa was named MTV's Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010, winning with nearly 70,000 votes, and beating out other new rappers on the scene such as Nicki Minaj and J. Cole.
The song was produced by the Norwegian production team Stargate, who are best known for their work with R&B/Pop stars such as Ne-Yo, Beyoncé and Chris Brown. "It was just a good mixture," Khalifa told MTV News about working with the beatmeisters. "When we got in the studio, I think the first day in the studio with them I did two songs and a hook. They kept throwing me beats and I kept knocking out hooks and verses over them. So I think just the vibe was there. The music that we were making is real potent. It was like, 'We got to do it [and collaborate].'"
The song reached #1 on the Hot 100 after an 18-week climb, and Khalifa told Billboard magazine he was taken back at the song's success as it was supposed to be a set-up single before the rapper's debut album, Rolling Papers. "It was a complete surprise," he said. "It being a song about Pittsburgh, I thought it would just be a great introduction. I never imagined this."
Speaking to HipHopDX.com
, Wiz explained the song began as a tune about his signature Dodge Challenger Hemi RT before becoming a Pittsburgh Steelers anthem in time for the Super Bowl. "[Black and Yellow] was about the car," he said. "And my jewelry. 'That's how I put it down, from my whip to my diamonds.' 'Black stripe, yellow paint / Them niggas scared of it, but them hoes ain't.' That's the Chally, when I pull that thing out. 'Hit the pedal once, make the floor shake.' It's about the car."
Wiz added it was the city, which inspired him to purchase that particular vehicle. "It's about civic pride too. I'm from Pittsburgh, that's what made me get a black and yellow Challenger. I could've got the old school orange; I could've painted it any color. But I got it stock black and yellow. I had [the dealer] look for that car. And they got it for me."
Pennsylvania rapper Max Warren, who performs under the name of Maxamillion, filed a copyright lawsuit on December 30, 2011. He alleged that this song infringes the copyright of a composition Warren penned in 2007, entitled "Pink N Yellow."
Director Bill Paladino (Khalifa's "Work Hard Play Hard
," "The Bluff
") shot the music video in Pittsburgh and hoped to include a drag racing scene, but he couldn't get a permit for it - or much of anything else. In fact, many of the scenes around the city were filmed quickly before the police could show up to stop them. The clip features a cameo from Steelers linebacker Lamarr Woodley. As for the crowd surrounding the rapper, they found out about the shoot from Khalifa on Twitter and just showed up.
"That's our first serious rap record," Tor Erik Hermansen, half of the Stargate duo, told Entertainment Weekly. "We've always loved hip-hop, but because some of our early stuff was more melodic, we were never given the chance. When Wiz came to the studio, we gave him another song first - a harder, darker hip-hop record that he loved - and then we played him this track. He started saying 'black and yellow' right away when he heard that synth line. We didn't really know how significant the colors black and yellow are for someone from Pittsburgh."