Pittsburgh City Council makes 12-12-12 Wiz Khalifa Day

Wiz Khalifa was in City Council chambers with his family this morning to accept a proclamation for being an ambassador for his hometown of Pittsburgh.

The rapper, a graduate of Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, is in town for a concert at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday.

Council declared 12-12-12 to be Wiz Khalifa Day in Pittsburgh.

The rapper accepted the honor saying that he has always bragged about being from Pittsburgh and that he doesn't feel as though he's accomplished much yet.

In 2010, he topped the Billboard charts with the hometown anthem "Black and Yellow."

Khalifa, whose real name is Cameron Jibril Thomaz, was joined by his pregnant fiancee, model Amber Rose, his mother Katie Wimbush, his grandfather Jibril Abdul-Hafeef and his manager Benjy Grinberg, among others.

The heavily tattooed rapper sported a black leather biker jacket and a cap that read "DOPE" in large letters.

There was a small crowd on hand, as the event was kept a secret to prevent the City-County Building from being mobbed by fans.

"It means a lot to me, being a kid from Pittsburgh and riding the buses and going to school out here and just loving Pittsburgh so much," he said. "Even when I moved here when I was younger, I told people I was from Pittsburgh, and that was it. So, to come so far, and represent, and have everybody be proud of me -- I don't even feel like I'm doing that great. I can do better and better."

After the ceremony, meeting with reporters in the hallway, he elaborated: "I just feel like when I change people's lives with my music, that's the start. But when I start doing it with other things, then that's when it'll get bigger and better, so this is just the beginning."

Khalifa noted that his baby was due in January and that he and his fiancee planned to marry in March or April. He assured people that, even though he spends most of his time now living in Los Angeles, his offspring will be a Steelers fan.

There may be a Pennsylvania-wide conflict there, however. When asked about that, Ms. Rose joked, "Well, I'm from Philly ..."

Councilman Bill Peduto, who introduced the proclamation at the request of Khalifa's grandfather, said in an interview that the rapper promotes Pittsburgh in his songs to fans in the millions -- something worth recognizing.

"Somebody who has made it to the top of his industry, no matter what that industry may be, at such a young age, and does it with a pride for the city that he calls home, it made it an easy request to fulfill," Mr. Peduto said.

He said he has gotten "limited" negative reaction to the proclamation, most of which involved Khalifa's admitted marijuana use.

"I tell them when I was younger, I was listening to people like Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Jerry Garcia and Joe Strummer, all of who had different issues with substances," he said. "If any of them were from Pittsburgh and I was honoring them, I don't think I'd get the same type of reaction."

In addition to topping the singles chart in early 2010 with his multi-platinum hometown anthem "Black and Yellow," which coincided with the Steelers' run to the Super Bowl, his Rostrum/Atlantic debut, "Rolling Papers," debuted at No. 2 on the charts and has been certified gold.

This month, while on the 2050 Tour, he released the follow-up, "O.N.I.F.C.," which stands for "Only [N----] in First Class." It is expected to debut at No. 2 on the album charts behind Taylor Swift's "Red."

Along with his success, he also has generated controversy for his well-documented use of marijuana and several arrests for possession of the drug while on tour.

He recently told Larry King that it enhances his creativity: "It makes me feel like I can get everything done in the right order."

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Scott Mervis: smervis@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2576 and on Twitter: @scottmervis_pg First Published December 11, 2012 3:45 PM


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