The Making of Wiz Khalifa's "Rolling Papers"

"Star Of The Show" f/ Chevy Woods

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Produced by: E. Dan and Big Jerm

Wiz Khalifa: “That was another one we made from scratch. When we did that I just wanted to do something a little bit deeper, with me talking about more personal experience other than speaking on how I want other people to feel. Just telling people about my story and still giving them something to relate to. When I heard the beat, I immediately found the concept and thought of a couple words and a couple of things.

“That was easy to do since it was so personal. I was thinking about people who were only around for their personal interest, what they can get out of it and not for the everybody. There’s a lot of people who make it seem like they’re around for everything, but at the end of the day they wanna be the one who’s important. They wanna be the one who people are looking at and that’s all walks of life, not only entertainment. It happens all the time. Just growing up and making music as long as I’ve been—a lot of friends who I was cool with, I’m not cool with them now because of those reasons.

”[I put Chevy Woods on there because] I felt like like that was a good way to talk about the fake friends and the shit that I don’t like. I wanted to show off who my real homies are and then let him talk about his experiences as well.”

Chevy Woods: “Wiz recorded the song for the first time in early December and I kept telling him, ‘This is my favorite shit.’ I didn’t know that he was going to put me on it. It actually wasn’t the plan [to have me on the album], but he’s a fighter and he fights for his people. If I wasn’t going to be on the album, I wasn’t going to be on it. If I was, I was. I never look at it like, ‘This is my chance to step in the light. But he fought for me and it happened.

“So he was trying to find a place for me on the album. I was just at home chilling one day and he called me from L.A. five days before Cabin Fever dropped and said, ‘Yo man, I found a song for you and I want you to get on it.’ I just went down to I.D. Labs Studios in Pittsburgh and recorded my verse, sent it to him, and it went well.

“The song got leaked at first. The song didn’t even sound like it does now, even with the verse and the bridge on there. It was totally different, at the beginning, it was Mary J. Blige singing. I’m a Mary J. Blige fan, so I was like, Man, with this beat in hip-hop, god damn! This shit is crazy!”

“Me and Wiz go back about almost eight or nine years now. I’m older than he is, I’m 29 and he’s 23. I met him when he was about 16 or 17. We ended up going to the same studio, which is I.D. Labs. We bumped into each other and the days went on. I had smoke and he didn’t have smoke or he had smoke and I didn’t have smoke. It was like the Redman-Method Man thing. ‘Got blunts, got weed? Okay, let’s do it.’ We made songs after that and we’ve been working ever since.

“Outside of work, I’m a big brother to him. When we get inside of music, he’s a big brother to me. He’s been through it and learned some things. He showed me some things. Some people that are older say, ‘I got an ego thing. I don’t want this young nigga in front of me.’ It’s not even like that. It’s the love for where he wants to go with it and where I want to go with it.

“If Wiz really messes with you, he messes with you to the fullest extent. He puts it all out there until somebody fucks themself over. He knows how to speak to people, but there’s also the other side when he handles his business where he can get aggressive. He stands on his own two feet.

“I am in the Taylor Gang. He’s definitely the founder, but I was thinking more of a captain or lieutenant-type thing or general. He’s the head and I’m next.”

E. Dan: “That was really Wiz’s brainchild. He had a definite idea in his mind for how he wanted that. He gave us a lot of specific examples. A lot of times, we would just start songs off of random stuff he was thinking of. He would come in and say, ‘Give me some muscle car music.’ [We would play] anything that remotely sounded like that might be the vibe he was going for.

“Wiz will always have sort of a loose idea, but every once in a while [he’ll have] a real specific idea. He’s definitely always had some direction. Sometimes, we’ll even end up in a totally different place, but he always has some sort of a loose idea for where he wants to start or what he’s going for that night.”

Big Jerm: “I don’t play any instruments, I just program drums. And even down to the drums, he knew exactly what he wanted on that one.”

Benjy Grinberg (Executive Producer and CEO of Rostrum Records): “That was actually done almost a year later. [Chevy] did it a week before mastering [the album]. Wiz didn’t want to make the album feature heavy at all. It was really a statement of where he was, and of his own artistic ability. He definitely wanted Chevy on it, but he did know exactly where or when. He was just making songs for the album in his own mind. So the minute it was decided, Chevy went in and did his verse. It wasn’t like an open verse. It was like a two-verse song, and he wanted to expand the record a little bit, and add Chevy to it.”

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