By Shawn Cooke. They lead into a song that seems solely engineered for a maudlin and misty-eyed Vin Diesel to belt in honor of his late best friend, but Wiz Khalifa throttled it up the charts anyway. Ask most anyone involved in the local scene — from MCs to producers to hip-hop historians — and you get the sense that Pittsburgh is a fractured community with a significantly weaker rap infrastructure than five or six years ago when Khalifa and Miller really started to gain traction.
The past few years look particularly brutal in hindsight, with the foremost venue for up-and-coming hip-hop performers closing its doors; a local, genre-based award show resting in dormancy; and the independent record label which took a chance on Khalifa and Miller casting its gaze over a wider, more national slate of artists. As a city without a clear national music industry spotlight, much less a nationally recognized regional aesthetic, it can be more difficult for local artists to adopt a unified style, like a young rapper from Atlanta, New York or Chicago might.
Dre, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube, among others. Jasiri X, a progressive firebrand of an MC, seems to be next in line for a spotlight moment at least according to City Paper readers , despite sounding completely unlike Khalifa or Miller.
Wiz Khalifa - July 31,
But alongside Khalifa and Miller, Jasiri has been having a pretty great year in his own right, navigating a more unconventional path to success. You want other people to hear you … where do you go? Aside from working toward a national career, local rappers used to have a smaller-scale milestone for which they could strive: the Pittsburgh Hip-Hop Awards.
The awards gave a young Khalifa, Miller and Jasiri something they could ascend to on a local level.
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- “It’s a more difficult landscape to get out of now than it was when Wiz and Mac got out.”.
But since Muhammad passed away in , Gray thought it would be best to put the awards on hold for the foreseeable future. As Khalifa and Miller continued to broaden their scope on national and international levels, Rostrum followed suit, extending its reach far beyond Pittsburgh and the genre of hip hop, while still sporting local mainstays like Boaz and pop band Donora.
Given the current lack of industry power-players currently in Pittsburgh, an artist could have plenty of talent or vision, but still need sound business minds to help guide a project.
Wiz Khalifa Tour Dates 2012
Until the infrastructure finds its way back, local talent might rest on the brink of a wider spotlight. After laying low for a few years, he plans to discuss a reboot of the Hip-Hop Awards over the next year. Celebrate the 22nd year of interdisciplinary arts festival wats:ON?
- Tweet all about it: Wiz and Mac are back in town - Entertainment - The Times - Beaver, PA.
- Wiz Khalifa Pays Emotional Tribute To Mac Miller In His Hometown - WATCH - Capital XTRA.
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All Best Of. The night ended in fine form with the entire Under the Influence lineup joining Wiz on the stage and performing O.
For more from Melody Brown, check out her twitter page. Photos by Brian Morton. Join the conversation Load comments.
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On the heels of Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, Pittsburgh hip hop faces a cloudy future
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