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Wiz Khalifa, O.N.I.F.C. Review

Back in February, Wiz Khalifa admitted that there were some mistakes on Rolling Papers in the open letter to his fans. The Pittsburgh native wrote that he would return to the laidback vibe found on Kush & Orange Juice and the more recent Taylor Allderdice. Going from pop rap back to the old Wiz—the melodic hooks, rhymes about weed and money—is expected on his latest effort, O.N.I.F.C. But the Taylor Gang general now feels it’s time to mark his territory in hip-hop. While talks of a slump are natural for a young artist like Khalifa, that’s not the case on O.N.I.F.C.—an album that showcases his strongest material through more confidence and boasting.

“Only Nigga In First Class”—or the edited “One Night In First Class”—is a bold statement on Khalifa’s journey of where he stands in hip-hop today. It shows with his attitude of just making music for fun and entertainment, retracting to his stoner-rap atmosphere—many of which are done by his in-house crew Cardo, Sledgren, and I.D. Labs. Weaving in his usual boasts about Taylor Gang, smoking, money, hard work and ambition, Wiz sticks to what he knows. It’s pleasant sounding, especially with lines that talk big. (“Still the same nigga/Still walking all up on your airplane with all gang members/Smelling like—money and champagne/part of my campaign/I’m fucking rich my nigga, some things I can’t change” on “The Bluff.”)

What works for Wiz is crafting similar songs to perfect the Taylor Gang aesthetic. The lead single “Work Hard, Play Hard”—which became certified Platinum by selling over one million digital copies—aims to be Wiz’s progression from the ubiquitous “Black and Yellow” as another heavy-hitter. More on the variations come in his solo tracks such as the Drumma Boy-produced “Bluffin’,” “Time,” and “Up In It.” But while Wiz’s music—heavily embedded in weed-rap culture—sounds exciting, it rarely opens up about personal details. And where it would give O.N.I.F.C. a well-rounded edge, listeners are left with his guest features to break up the monotony.

These songs contain some of his best work—“The Bluff” with Cam’ron, “Initiation” with Lola Monroe, and “Remember You” with The Weeknd. Cam’ron shines strongly on his verse and The Weeknd keeps things experimentally dark, while Monroe fires off a tough verse. Wiz also shares the spotlight with Memphis legend—and Taylor Gang member—Juicy J on two occasions: “The Plan” and the exceptional “Medicated” featuring Chevy Woods.

For diehard fans of Wiz, O.N.I.F.C. is 17 tracks that perfectly describe his stance in the game right now. Some might argue his commercial success has narrowed his focus. But as the old saying goes, art intimates life. Although more of the former Wiz is abundant than on Rolling Papers, he doesn’t sound like he’ll be switching the style up anytime soon. His superstardom will continue to grow, along with more glimpses of fame and luxury. (“Never smoke weed that was quite this strong/Never took a flight this long/Never drink champagne in Italy/Never spent a night in Rome/But it’s funny cause that was the exact same thing that made me write this song” on “No Limit.”) Consider O.N.I.F.C. his taste of what’s to come. —Eric Diep (@E_Diep)

  • Senzh

    A L voor a mixtape of Wiz.. That must be one of his best than…

  • http://twitter.com/TommyIceRockin TommyHILLiceRocking

    LMFAO

    • E

      Drumma Boy is only referenced to “Bluffin’”

  • Astop13

    Id labs produced “time”, and Jim Jonsin produced “up in it”. get it right

  • Amario

    hahaha what a joke nigga you done fell off homie. i was rockin wit you ever since say yeah, but real talk you done fell off. REAL NIGGA HYPOTHESIS: the money/ the white girl.

    aye….i still bumb cabin fever doe ( the song) mixtape was wack as fire

    • Jarvis

      How does a rapper fall off when he continues to rap and make music the same way he always has? Few slip ups on Rolling Papers and since then he’s gotten back to what made him famous

      • Very Reasonable Citizen

        lies! A TOTAL departure from his old style. Everyone loved him when he had the collegiate-stoner flow, and was more relatable. His raps DID change to ‘luxe jet setter’ type rap.. I initially loved him because even though he was “traveling the world and trying different drugs and girls” I felt I could still relate. While this is a minor return to his old ways, the die is already cast…Should have brought back Johnny Juliano!

      • YoloSwag

        You must not have herd any of his early works then… Kush & OJ ass fan. On the first Prince of the City mixtape and his very first album, Show & Prove, he was actually spitting. He has been on a steady decline ever since then.

        • YoloSwag

          Heard*

          • Jarvis

            I said he got back to what made him famous. Prince of the City and Show and Prove didn’t get him anywhere. Wiz stopped trying to be hard hard after that and switched up his style. Kush & OJ is what blew him up and getting close to that style again is what he did.

  • Amario

    haha xxl did keep it real doe. thought yall was bout to fuck around and xxl this nigga just cuz he got alot of tattoos or sum fake ass niggas. watch when my yung ass make a new hip hip magazine on yo dumb ass. YOU BETTER KEEP IT REAL

  • chasev619

    wow an honest review. originality deserves an M but I can see why you dont want to put him on blast.

  • Lebron

    This dude is hip POP.

    • SS87

      That’s what it says on wikipedia LOL

  • Beanie

    The beats should be XXL. Everything else is accurate.

  • http://twitter.com/PamelaGlocc3 The Game

    If this is L , The Game’s Jesus Piece album surely must be XXL

  • http://www.facebook.com/JONGIBEON Jon Gibeon

    THE PLAN OVA EVERYTHING

  • JSleazy

    I haven’t even listened to this bullshit & I don’t plan to.
    Trash!

  • carAnthony

    The lyrics should be M max

  • WhereIsMy304s

    I respect homie for making it but he’s a pop rapper. His recent music is trash compared to the music he gave us on Kush & OJ & Flight School.

  • carAnthony

    L for the lyrics, same as the Durag Dynasty lmfao. This is the worst rap mag ever That nug wiz could have S and Durag Dynasty minimally XXXXXXL