Wiz Khalifa’s sixth album, released last year, was called Rolling Papers 2. And there he was, bathed in heady smoke. Dark glasses. Gold chains. That iconic, aristocratic face. The Uncle Sam of getting high.
And, let’s be clear before we go any further, Wiz Khalifa loves his weed. He’s not apologetic about it. Why would he be? He’s so much more than that. Even though he’s just 32, Khalifa has built a massive public life and a happy private life. And his son is at the core of that. Witness the viral video of him coaching baseball, cheering, hugging, clapping, and posing for the team photo. That’s not a bit any more than the blunt-hitting. He’s more eager to talk about his son Sebastian’s batting form — “That technique is paying off” — than his music.
But the professional and the personal aren’t in opposition. The professional pays for the mansion that Khalifa has made into a wild, sprawling playroom and provides some unique opportunities: Sebastian and Wiz hit the Sonic the Hedgehog premiere together because dad wrote a song for the film. Khalifa uses his success to open doors for his son and his hustle to set a good example.
Fatherly caught up with Wiz (real name: Cameron Jibril Thomaz) to talk about his new Fox animated series Duncanville, his plans to be the next Mariah Carey of Christmas, and why his son is the best gift of all.
Tell me about Duncanville. You play the guidance counselor on the show, which centers around the colorful inner life of a high schooler.
Yeah. Mr. Mitch is super-cool. He’s the guidance counselor. He’s got a mix tape coming out. He relates to the kids. He knows all the stuff that’s on the Internet. My son hasn’t seen the show yet. He’s seen the character and what he looks like.
I think I speak for everyone online when I say, your son has the best baseball coach we’ve seen. What kind of dad are you when the cameras are off?
Next season, yeah, I’ll be coaching. I’m super-fun. Just a chill dad. I add a little bit of structure. I’m an artist so I make up everything as I go. I let him do exactly what he wants to do. I let him express himself. We listen to music.
I’m teaching him to ride a bike. That’s fun. When it’s dad time, I chill out with him.
Do you set limits?
I try to negotiate with him, between what makes him happy and what’s acceptable to me. We meet in the middle. There’s a lot of conversation, negotiation, and deals being made.
What’s your stance on discipline?
My dad never spanked me or anything. Discipline should be words. We should be able to talk it out. If there is a punishment, it should be understood. I don’t have to discipline. With Sebastian, it’s usually a conversation about doing the right thing and that the behavior is top notch.
You got some blowback online for letting your kid ride a regular non-celebrity non-fancy school bus on his first day. How do you keep him grounded and normal?
At six years old, there’s only a couple of things you’re worried about: Hanging out with your friends, wrestling and getting dirty, and coloring and stuff like that. I keep myself entertained with him. I figure it out as I go. He only wants normal things. At six years old, he doesn’t want too much. I want to help nurture that.
For me growing up, it was doing my chores and ironing my clothes. You know what I’m saying? I had a lot of structure. I don’t do that to him at all. For me, I was definitely brought up with both of my parents to be a team. I do something because I know it’s right and that’s how I try to raise him. I talk to him through it so he knows the right thing to do.
Are you close with your father?
I have a really good relationship with my dad. We always play basketball together and crack jokes. I was only 25 when I had my son. I was really young and learning things. It matured me and showed me how to focus. Having that love and having someone who depends on you — getting better at being able to provide a life for them was something to be passionate about for me.
My kid listens to terrible music. You make good music. Any tips to get my kids into better stuff?
Honestly, I expose Sebastian to everything. I listen to jazz and funk and pop music. Of course, he loves rap because I’m a rapper. That’s his thing. I literally just bought him a pair of headphones. I let him space out and fall in love with whatever he’s listening to.
Speaking of music, what’s forthcoming from you?
I’m in the studio recording every day. I have some mixtapes I’m going to drop. It really moves around. I have multiple projects. I want to do a kids album. Something fun and childish. I want to do a Christmas album really. I want to make up my own Christmas songs, ideas, and concepts.