XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
March 10, 2015: Occasionally, a song comes along that captures the heart and soul of the entire world. Wiz Khalifa teamed up with singer-songwriter Charlie Puth on an elegiac song for the soundtrack of Furious 7 as a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker, who died in a car accident on Nov. 30, 2013. On this day, Wiz and Charlie released “See You Again,” which became a top-selling hit.
“See You Again” was co-produced and co-written by Charlie Puth, DJ Frank E and Andrew Cedar. Charlie, who is a piano prodigy from Berklee College of Music, wrote the song in memory of his late friend. He told Entertainment Weekly in April of 2015, “I was thinking of my friend who passed away in a similar way to Paul Walker. I’m really honored that the Furious franchise thought that I captured it the best.”
Next up was finding the right rapper to complement Charlie’s emotional lyrics and melodic piano tinkles. Several rappers were being considered including Wale but he turned it down because the song was too sad for him to write to it. Eminem and 50 Cent were also offered to have their take on “See You Again,” but they decline because Em wanted to do music for the boxing film Southpaw since he was an investor of the movie.
Enter Wiz Khalifa. Using the Fast and the Furious franchise’s core theme of “family,” the Pittsburgh, Pa. rhymer used Walker’s portrayal of Brian O’Connor as inspiration.
“I basically thought about what the movie stands for as far as family and the brotherhood, and of course, using the metaphor of…the last race [between Walker and Vin Diesel’s character] in that last scene,” he explained to MTV News in April 2015.
“See You Again” became a worldwide chart-topping smash for the duo. The Grammy-nominated tune premiered at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of April 25, 2015, and held the position for 12 weeks. Additionally, the accompanying visual has become the most-watched video on YouTube with nearly 6 billion views. The song was also certified 11 times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on Sept. 24, 2019.
Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth‘s emotional ballad continues to resonate with fans worldwide.