Wiz Khalifa Goes Punk: An Old Idea In Rap History

Wiz Khalifa has been in the headlines lately because he is about to tour with pop punk stars, Fall Out Boy. Wiz Khalifa is also topping the charts — and staying there.

However, despite the news attempting to show shock that Wiz Khalifa would tour with a pop punk band, the reality is that pop punk and hip hop have deeply connected historical roots.

For example, Billboard Magazine calls Wiz Khalifa and Fall Out Boy’s 2015 tour an “unlikely pairing” that somehow works.

In addition to pop punk and hip hop being connected, Wiz Khalifa also has a history with honoring punk that goes back further than touring with Fall Out Boy.

Signs of this change started around 2013 when Wiz Khalifa started to wear a classic punk leather jacket with studs. About this change in appearance, TuneSwag stated the following about Wiz Khalifa.

“Normally this type of trend is found in many heavy-metal and punk rock genres. But here lately it appears that hip-hop and urban music such as R&B is adopting different styles and fashions. As we have seen many other hip-hop and R&B musicians wearing more punk type of clothing in their videos, in their performances, as well as in real life.”

Taking that further, when talking about his upcoming 2014 album in September 2013, Wiz Khalifa claimed that Blacc Hollywood was, “punk-inspired” as well as having an 80s influence.

When speaking with Vibe, Wiz Khalifa said the following Blacc Hollywood‘s punk sound.

“It’s really an artistic expression, and a lifestyle and a feeling. I’m saying things that people couldn’t really say on an everyday basis. It’s ’80’s inspired, punk-inspired’ and you basically take whatever it is you have and make it the sh*t. That right there is what the album is all about.”

In the meantime, Fall Out Boy is saying about their tour with Wiz Khalifa that they “may seem odd.” Fall Out Boy told Rolling Stone that Wiz Khalifa, “straddled hip-hop and pop the way we straddled pop and rock.”

Are Wiz Khalifa and Fall Out Boy properly defining “punk” when they make these statements? Finding a definition for punk that everyone can agree on can be difficult, but music writers make attempts, nonetheless.

For instance, Consequence of Sound states in a review that mentions Fall Out Boy, “I have always thought of pop punk as a misnomer; pop and punk were, by definition, contradictory.”

Regardless of the idea that Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa are considered by some to be a bad fit for tour, the lines between rap and punk have been blurred by other artists in the past. For example, on June 10, Punk News published an article with punk/rapper Juiceboxxx where he talks about touring with Public Enemy in 2010.

Wiz Khalifa and Fall Out Boy’s tour could also be seen as a reunion of two genres that historically grew stronger with each other’s help. To recap history of each genre, punk started in the Black community of Detroit in 1971 with the band Death, but quickly evolved in places like New York City in the early 1980s.

Long before Wiz Khalifa was born in 1987, the band Blondie helped to make rap popular when they mentioned Fab 5 Freddy in the 1981 song “Rapture.” Fab 5 Freddy and other NYC rappers soon became the center of media attention after 1981 despite the fact that the hip hop scene actually started in the late 1970s.

The Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame says the following about Blondie introducing rap into the world of pop culture.

“Rap had theretofore been an underground phenomenon in and around New York, and Blondie’s hybrid rock-rap gave many listeners their first exposure to the genre.”

Complex reviewed Blondie’s “Rapture” in 2013 and stated that it was the first rap video on MTV and said, “The video helped cement Blondie’s place as one of the more progressive bands in contemporary rock, and set the precedent for rock embracing hip-hop (and vice-versa).”

In other words, are Wiz Khalifa and Fall Out Boy doing something shocking on their 2015 tour by mixing punk and hip-hop — or revisiting an extremely positive place in music history when pop punk and rap were conjoined forces?

[Feature image via Getty Images]