Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wiz, You Need a Mentor: Trust a 'Dice Man

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wiz, You Need a Mentor: Trust a 'Dice Man

Article excerpt

Dear Wiz Khalifa:

I was sorry to hear about your recent citation (unfortunately, the kind that carries a fine, not commending you for some heroic deed) for marijuana possession in a Nashville, Tenn., hotel.

I was surprised, too, because when you titled your first album "Rolling Papers," I thought it referred to a former newspaper delivery job, in which you would wrap Post-Gazettes in a rubber band to throw them onto porches while riding your bicycle. I now think I might have had that wrong.

I'm here to offer help, as a fellow Pittsburgher proud of everyone who does well coming out of Da 'Burgh (except maybe Stephen Foster, whose songs sound so mainstream and "old school" today, as I'm sure you'd agree). A successful rapper like yourself probably doesn't get much mail from middle-aged white men, unless it's some odious, cigar-smoking, necklace-wearing troll out to make money. But this troll is simply here to offer his services as a mentor.

Despite our superficial differences of age, race and talent, we have a lot in common, overlooking for a moment the fact that you are a millionaire covered in tattoos with a fiancee who is a stunning model. I am 0-3 on that score, although I will have my first tat soon, if I can find a South Side artist able to do a trustworthy image of the Civic Arena spanning my shoulder blades that I won't regret when I'm 80.

Here's why we would be a good fit: We are both graduates of Taylor Allderdice High School, a fact I was subtly reminded of when you titled your new mixtape "Taylor Allderdice."

* * *

While we attended 30 years apart, I presume we shared many of the same experiences: the extraordinary efforts to avoid swim class, the crushes on the cafeteria lunch ladies, the swagger when the Squirrel Hill-raised golfers and tennis players at 'Dice crushed their rivals from Westinghouse and Peabody. (It wasn't our fault kids never had a golf course in Homewood or East Liberty to practice their putting, right?)

I'm impressed that you've become so successful so soon -- and without ever having attended college! (I surmise that Rick Santorum may have preceded me as a mentor.) But let me tell you, such quick success can be a curse. …

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