Wiz Khalifa at the Guildhall (9/11/11)

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Pennsylvania-born rapper Wiz Khalifa played one of his last gigs on the UK stint of his global tour at the Guildhall recently, promoting his latest album Rolling Papers. The crowd were given a massive build-up to his entrance, possibly leaving it a little too long between himself and the support act Yelawolf, but I was excited nonetheless.

The set opened with ‘When I’m Gone’ from his latest album, which received a good reaction from the audience and was a suitable song for his entrance. The sound quality was above average, but with a heavy bass muffling a lot of his lyrics you couldn’t always quite make him out. Having said this, the power behind the performance remained strong from beginning to end. Khalifa had a hypnotic pull about him, and you couldn’t take your eyes off him even with others running about the stage; a great credit to a young performer.

There were a few problems, however. Some of his most famous and best works, such as his hits with Tinie Tempah and his Lily Allen cover, received only minute-long samples which was surprising since he was playing to a British audience. Also, the repetitive aspect of a lot of his songs made some segments drag out in terms of diversity of tempo.

Highlights included ‘Taylor Gang’, ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Black and Yellow’, the last being the penultimate song of the gig which unsurprisingly received the biggest reaction. The set lasted an hour and 15 minutes, which was suitable given the amount of well-known material the rapper has in his repertoire. It was obvious that towards the end of the set the crowd were just waiting for his singles (‘Black and Yellow’ and ‘Roll Up’) to be played though, myself included. Khalifa finished with ‘No Sleep’ from his new album, which was well-received by the crowd, before leaving the stage. Overall it was a solid performance from the young, rising star, and he should receive more recognition in the UK for his work.

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