The Making of Wiz Khalifa's "Rolling Papers"

"Rooftops" f/ Curren$y

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Produced by: Bei Major

Wiz Khalifa: “I recorded that actually when I got back from Vegas. I got back the next night and Bei Major was in the studio and he made that beat. The only thing I was thinking about was my feeling in Vegas. That was my first time there and I stayed at the Palm and I was telling one of my homies like, ‘Damn they wouldn’t even let us in this bitch like a year ago and now we got a muthafuckin’ room on the roof.’ That’s where the hook came from.

“I always saved that song for Curren$y because I knew that was the one that I wanted to put him on. But I didn’t want to put him on ‘til late because I didn’t want the song to leak so I waited and he hadn’t even heard it. I just told him that I had this song for him. I waited and right at the last minute, I flew him out to L.A. and put him on the record. It was exactly what I wanted it to be. There were times way earlier in the game when I thought I was ready to be on top or ready for certain things, but to have everything go according to plan and be in the position that I’m in now, that’s the biggest pay-off for me.”

Curren$y: “Dude did that for Nate Dogg. This is before Nate Dogg passed. We was in the house singing all kinds of crazy Nate Dogg hooks. Nate Dogg was fine as far as we were concerned. I was in Wiz’s house in L.A. right after the Warner deal was done, and it was after the Super Bowl. He had to turn [the album] in on February 12, so I think we did that on February 10. He already had the hook laid when I got there. He told me, ‘Yo, this is my fuckin’ Nate Dogg record.’”

Bei Major: “Zvi came and we met in this hotel in Atlanta, had breakfast, and he just hit me like, ‘Yo, I want you to work on this project for Wiz Khalifa.’ I had heard the name because he’s hot, but I didn’t know all of his music. Zvi was like, ‘Yo, listen to this.’ He gave me Kush & Orange Juice. So, I put it in my car. I was just listening to it and he was like, ‘I’m going to need you to think of some stuff for this guy.’

“I came up with a lot of stuff that I thought Wiz would like. I had a couple ideas for him and ‘Rooftops’ was one of them. So I came up with ‘Rooftops’ and I played it for him in L.A. and he recorded that same day.

“When he was doing the hook, he was doing harmonies. You might not notice, it sounds like one voice. But he was doing notes like a real singer. He had like four different notes. He would do one note and he would do a higher one. It all comes together once they put a mix on it.

“In the studio he was smoking all day. I don’t smoke, but he smoked enough for both of us. I was like, ‘Let’s get champagne!’ because I know Wiz likes champagne. I was like, ‘Yo, lets get Moët.’ He was like, ‘No man, only Clicquot.’ So, I was like, ‘We’re going to have a taste test.’ We got Moët and we got Clicquot. We drank it and honestly, I can’t even lie, I did like Clicquot better. I actually got Wiz champagne. That’s probably what helped ‘Rooftops’ come out so good.

Benjy Grinberg (Executive Producer and CEO of Rostrum Records): “Curren$y was added a week before we went to mastering. I remember personally being frustrated, even though I really love that song now, at the time I really needed Wiz to write something like ‘No Sleep,’ and he still hadn’t written to that yet, and then went and did a bunch of songs.

“I felt we still needed those singles. He went in, and was spending all night on fucking ‘Rooftops,’ and I remember sitting in the lounge of the studio and being frustrated, because I was like, ‘Man, I need Wiz to write some album stuff.’ Because we thought that was more, maybe mixtape-y. That’s more of a commentary of where I was personally in the record-making process, rather than the song itself.

”Bei’s a very musical guy, and while that beat was musical, I was hoping that maybe we would get a more radio-friendly type of song out of him. But we got ‘Rooftops,’ and it ended up being a great, necessary song for that album. Particularly because it really speaks to his core.”

Zvi Edelman (Vice President Of A&R, Atlantic Records): “A lot of these kids no matter how talented they are, don’t know the history of what they’re involved in or don’t understand the theory of a lot, but Bei is the exception to all those things. He is just the easiest person to talk to music about and have him understand what you’re looking for. He can do everything so I knew that I wanted to get them in the room together.

”I was hoping they would write some hooks together. This was all in back to back days just over two weeks at Atlantic Records’ studios in L.A. ‘Rooftops’ is like the fourth or fifth beat that he played on like day two.

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