Wiz Khalifa built a respectable following by releasing several mixtapes that resonated with fans in the South and on the west coast; however, his infectious single “Black & Yellow” has become a certified hit and allowed him to bring national attention to Pittsburgh. During a recent visit to Pittsburgh, rolling out caught up with Taylor Gang associates Quay Meanz and Young Roach to discuss the emergence of Pittsburgh hip-hop. –– amir shaw
How did you connect with Wiz Khalifa?
Quay: Most people know him as “super star” Wiz, but we know him as Wiz from the ‘hood. That’s how it is. We have been recording together for years. We went to high school together at Taylor Allderdice for a few years before I transferred. He’s from Hazelwood, so we were connected before rap.
How has Wiz Khalifa’s success helped other Pittsburgh artists?
Quay: He put on heavy for Pittsburgh. When it comes to Wiz, it’s always been about hip-hop. That’s the dream that we’re going to chase. He’s conquering right now, but I’m going to continue to go after it.
Young Roach: He’s doing a big thing by making moves with Snoop and other known rappers. It gives artists an outlet in Pittsburgh. Now that he’s in the spotlight, he’s putting Pittsburgh on the map. When I’m networking online, people are now interested in Pittsburgh. We have good people behind us and it should get better in 2011.
How would you describe the Pittsburgh hip-hop sound?
Quay: My music is an original sound. I try to do things that are unpredictable. My mixtape is called Celebration. It talks about everything that we celebrate. I put my all in what I do.
Young Roach: Pittsburgh’s sound is a laid back. “Black & Yellow” represents that laid back feel. It’s become a mainstream hit. When you have other artists jumping on it, you’re doing something big.
Picture: Quay Meanz (left) and Young Roach