Wiz Khalifa will receive the Static Major Award for Music Entrepreneurship at the 1st Annual Block Starz Awards, www.blockstarz.tv, presented by IndiePower during the 2013 Kentucky Derby Festival weekend in May.
Wiz Khalifa (b. Cameron Jibril Thomaz), who is known for his Atlantic Records debut single, “Black and Yellow”, which peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and his major label albums Rolling Papers and O.N.I.F.C., generated $20 million over the past two years, twice landing on FORBES’ Hip-Hop Cash Kings list; as well as, the magazine’s “30 Under 30” music list alongside the likes of Lady Gaga. The 25-year-old Pittsburgh rapper achieved this by supplementing his income from record sales with an aggressive tour schedule, movies, apparel, and twice the merchandise sales of typical rappers.
“Wiz is a movement in himself, with incredibly loyal fans,” says Cameron Strang, CEO of Warner/Chappell Music and head of West Coast operations for WMG, Atlantic’s parent company, in an exclusive profile of Wiz Khalifa featured in the January 21 issue of FORBES. “He has a complete creative vision for all the different aspects of his career, central to which is his incredible music.”
The Static Major Music Entrepreneurship Award is named after Grammy Award-winning Louisville, Kentucky rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer Stephen Ellis Garrett, also known as Static Major, who gained posthumous fame after appearing on Lil Wayne’s 2008 album Tha Carter III on the song “Lollipop”. Static produced and/or wrote hit songs for Aaliyah, Ginuwine, and Pretty Ricky, and was a member of the R&B trio Playa. Garrett died unexpectedly on February 25, 2008 and there are plans to release his debut album on the fifth anniversary of his passing this year.
“The Static Major Music Entrepreneurship Award honors recording artists who are CEOs of their own successful careers, by exploring new career paths, income streams, and business models,” says Tia Brown, co-founder and executive director of the Block Starz Foundation Inc., a non-profit based in Louisville, KY, which promotes literacy through arts and entertainment and is hosting the event that will feature performances by artists Mac Miller and Chevy Woods of Khalifa’s TaylorGang imprint.
“Static took an entrepenurial approach to the music industry and Wiz Khalifa carries on that spirit,” says Block Starz Music LLC president and chief executive Bayer Mack, whose independent label featured Khalifa on its 2009 East Coast Block Starz compilation before the rapper achieved international fame.
“The things Wiz, Will [Dzombak], and the team over at TaylorGang have accomplished in the past few years are amazing, but they have remained incredibly humble. It’s not all about the money with them.”
The 139th Kentucky Derby Festival weekend, which attracts over 1.5 million people from around the world who take part in more than 70 special events, takes place May 3-5 in Louisville, Kentucky. Block Starz Award organizers will be releasing more details, including categories, and honorees, over the coming weeks and months leading up to the event, which is being co-promoted by IndiePower, www.indiepower.com, a global entertainment marketing and distribution company run by industry veteran Jay Warsinske.