Khalifa was born on September 8, 1987 to a mother and a father serving in the military. His parents divorced when Khalifa was about three years old. His parents' military service caused him to move regularly: Khalifa lived in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan before settling in Pittsburgh where he attended Taylor Allderdice High School. His stage name is derived from khalifa, an Arabic word meaning "successor", and wisdom, which was shortened to Wiz when Khalifa was a young boy . Khalifa stated to spinner.com that the name also came from being called "young Wiz 'cause I was good at everything I did, and my granddad is Muslim, so he gave me that name; he felt like that's what I was doing with my music." He got his stage name tattooed on his 17th birthday. He includes Jimi Hendrix, Camp Lo, The Notorious B.I.G. and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony among his influences.
2005–08: Early mixtapes and Show and Prove
Rostrum Records president Benjy Grinberg first heard about Wiz Khalifa in 2004 when the rapper's contribution to a mixtape of various new Pittsburgh artists attracted his interest. When Grinberg finally met the 16-year-old artist, he immediately decided he wanted to work with him, later telling HitQuarters: "Even though he wasn’t all the way developed you could just tell that he was a diamond in the rough, and that with some polishing, guidance and backing he could become something special." Khalifa signed to the label shortly after and began a seven year period of artist development. Khalifa released his first mixtape, Prince of the City: Welcome to Pistolvania, in 2005. The mixtape paved the way for his first full length album entitled Show and Prove in 2006. Khalifa was declared an "artist to watch" that year in Rolling Stone magazine. In 2007, Khalifa signed to Warner Bros. Records and released two mixtapes through Rostrum Records: Grow Season, hosted by DJ Green Lantern and released on July 4, 2007, and Prince of the City 2, released on November 20, 2007. His debut Warner Bros. single "Say Yeah" reached number 25 on the Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 music chart and number 20 on Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks. The song samples "Better Off Alone" by Alice Deejay. Khalifa's vocals from "Say Yeah" appear near the end of Pittsburgh mash up producer Girl Talk's 2008 album, Feed the Animals, over music from Underworld's "Born Slippy", Usher's "Love in This Club", and the Cure's "In Between Days". Khalifa appeared with The Game, David Banner and Play-n-Skillz at U92's Summer Jam at the USANA Amphitheatre in West Valley City, Utah on August 2, 2008. Khalifa released the mixtapes Star Power in September 2008, and Flight School in April 2009 on Rostrum Records. Khalifa parted ways with Warner Bros. Records in July 2009 after numerous delays in releasing his planned debut album for the label, First Flight. Khalifa stated to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that, "I learned a lot during my time there and matured as an artist during the process. I'm happy to be moving on with all of my material and having the chance to be in control of my next moves". Khalifa appeared with Girl Talk, Modey...