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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wiz Khalifa

Tonight @ Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, Summerfest, 10 p.m.

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With a weed-mellowed flow reminiscent of a more-alert, less-introspective Kid Cudi, Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa has succeeded where most blog rappers have not: translating his early critical acclaim and underground buzz into genuine commercial success. Buoyed by top-shelf production from the Norwegian hit-making duo Stargate, Khalifa's single “Black and Yellow” became one of last year's biggest rap hits, ubiquitous on both urban and pop stations. Released this March on Atlantic, Khalifa's major-label debut, Rolling Papers, followed in the template of that hit, putting the rapper over hooky, pop-leaning productions from I.D. Labs, Jim Jonsin and Bei Maejor. It's a record that's reluctant to mess with a winning formula, hence the “Black and Yellow” follow-up singles “Roll Up” and “Wake Up,” both of which re-teamed Khalifa with Stargate.