Inside Snoop Dogg’s compound in Inglewood, California, puffs of marijuana smoke bubble across the air in a screening room where Wiz Khalifa’s new docu-series, Behind The Cam (its title pays homage to the rapper’s first name, Cameron) gets ready to illuminate the screen. On this balmy Wednesday evening, dozens of music industry folks and journalists are holding space over tacos and cocktails to get a first-look at Wiz in rare form.
Apple Music’s five-part mini-series showcases the Pittsburgh native’s most intimate moments, like sending his son Sebastian to school on a yellow bus as he sweetly reminds him to “watch his glasses” throughout the day. Aside from his parental duties, there are also interviews with his parents and close friends. His mom, nicknamed “Peachie,” described her grandson Sebastian as a mirror image of her son when he was a child. The testament was highlighted with adorable home videos of the “This Plane” rapper as a kid. The resemblance is striking—both physical and personality wise.
Behind The Cam provides viewers a deeper insight into Wiz’s journey to superstardom. At 16, he landed a job at a local recording studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania while still in high school. In those early days, his name was Wizdom. By 19, he was signed to Warner Music Group and released the ubiquitous “Say Yeah.” Although the record deal turned sour, it fueled the 31-year-old rapper to work harder on his craft and to maintain a solid fan based on the strength of his buzz. He went on tour, did meet and greets and visited every store that would have him for an appearance.
His relentless attitude eventually paid off. In September 2010, “Black And Yellow” debuted to soaring praise and topped the Hot 100 Billboard chart at No. 1 in February 2011. The rest, as they say, is history. While showcasing his ascension, Wiz also uses his platform to uplift other creators. While hosting a producer competition, Wiz gave an overzealous waiter at swanky restaurant Tao, a chance to make beats. Through helping others, the father-of-one offers a bit of introspection when he admits that having his son with Amber Rose tremendously changed him and feels obligated to take better care of himself.
To encourage that energy, Wiz feels humbled by his parents’ praise throughout the documentary. “It was weird because I’m not used to hearing my parents talk about me, we just talk about everyday stuff,” he said after the screening. “It made me really appreciate their perspective and their point of view.”
While it’s eye-opening to see a candid view of Wiz’s world, it wasn’t always easy for him to be transparent on camera. “The process was really different for me because I’m used to doing interviews and not really giving a f**k about them,” he gushed. “It’s usually someone prying on you or trying to get you to say some sh*t that you didn’t even want to say.”
“Anyone who really knows me knows it takes a second to pull back the layers to really get to see who I really am,” he continued. “That’s what the interviewing process was like—it took about two interviews to really get comfortable, but that’s just me, I don’t let people straight in.”
Taylor Gang and Smac Media’s ‘Behind The Cam’ is now available on Apple Music.