Last updated: July 26. 2014 12:08AM - 1680 Views
By Brad Patton Times Leader Correspondent

Rapper Wiz Khalifa performs at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain on Thursday night.
Rapper Wiz Khalifa performs at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain on Thursday night.
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SCRANTON — Rap superstar Wiz Khalifa kicked off his “Under the Influence of Music” tour Thursday night at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, bringing with him a whole host of the hottest names in hip hop and a clutch of songs from his upcoming album.

Although advertised support act Tyga has dropped out of the tour, Thursday’s show in Scranton still featured more than four hours of music as Ty Dolla Sign (Ty $), IamSu!, Sage the Gemini and Jeezy all turned in explosive opening sets. DJ Drama, a well-respected DJ and record producer from Philadelphia, kept the music playing during breaks in the action.

Ty $, a 29-year-old rapper from Los Angeles signed to Khalifa’s Taylor Gang Records, started the evening’s festivities with songs from his debut release “Beach House EP.” Whipping his long dreadlocks frantically throughout his 30-minute set, Ty $ also scored with “Irie” and other songs from the seven mixtapes he has released since 2011.

IamSu! and Sage the Gemini, who have collaborated in the past on tracks like 2013’s “Gas Pedal,” shared the stage for a 40-minute set. IamSu! hit hard with his recent single “I Love My Squad,” while Sage the Gemini fired up the crowd with “Swerve” and “College Drop.”

Jeezy (also known as Young Jeezy) then took over for a well-received 40-minute set backed by a full band partially obscured by the huge letters spelling out his name on stage. Dressed all in black with a multitude of gold chains around his neck, Jeezy elicited screams throughout his performance with his hits such as 2005’s “Soul Survivor” and 2013’s “R.I.P.”

But the evening belonged to Khalifa, who first appeared from underneath the stage in a red-and-white jacket sporting the Playboy logo and white-framed sunglasses. The big screen was lit up with flames and a few pyrotechnics exploded as the 26-year-old rapper, singer and songwriter from Pittsburgh began with his 2012 hit “Work Hard, Play Hard.”

After an inspirational speech to the crowd telling them to always be creative and follow their dreams, Khalifa followed with one of his early successes, the dreamy “Mezmorized.”

“Another part of success is you got to have good people with you,” he said before bringing out a posse of about a dozen or so for “Taylor Gang” from his 2011 mixtape “Cabin Fever.”

“Bruce Lee the way I kick it, Tiger Woods the way I hit it,” he boasted on “James Bong” before hitting an early highlight with his No. 1 anthem “Black and Yellow,” which ended with confetti being showered on the crowd.

From there it was one highlight after another as Khalifa raced down the homestretch with his hits “No Sleep,” “Young, Wild & Free” and “You and Your Friends,” the latter of which featured Ty $ on Thursday (as does the recording, which also features Snoop Dogg and will be included on the deluxe edition of Khalifa’s upcoming album “Blacc Hollywood”).

After making a stop at the edge of the lawn to sing one of the evening’s later tunes, Khalifa wrapped up the proceedings onstage with new song “Stayin’ Out All Night,” during which he rose high above the stage on a riser, and his recent hit “We Dem Boyz,” jumping into the crowd at the song’s finish.

The one-song encore, which wrapped up just a few ticks past 11:00 p.m. with Khalifa disappearing under the stage, was “Medicated,” a hit from his 2012 album “O.N.I.F.C.”

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