Wiz Khalifa O.N.I.F.C.
Published Dec 18, 2012It was the Greeks that said musicians make music, not "just" men. Wiz Khalifa argues on O.N.I.F.C. that he's both. Although Khalifa dropped two albums through Rostrum in 2006 and 2009, respectively, his signing to Atlantic in 2010 thrust him into the mass market, after which Kanye West proclaimed him "the only label rapper he respects." Now, three years later, Khalifa can only be considered through the lens of popular culture, where kush, Bombay gin and half-baked quotables are the new trend. In recent documentary footage, he likens his lifestyle to Ol' Dirty Bastard's, epitomizing his genre in much the same manner as the deceased Ason Unique. O.N.I.F.C. starts off with "Intro," a Cardo and Sledgren joint that sums up the production: 808 drums, skittering hi-hats and saccharine melodies, although the atmosphere is meaner than Rolling Papers. On "Let It Go," which is the most enjoyable track because of Akon's pathos-heavy hook, Khalifa describes his world, "tell the club owner we need more sections... hit the venue, you gon' need more bouncers, and tell the weed man we gon' need more ounces." On "Work Hard Play Hard," Khalifa justifies his lifestyle by proclaiming, "the bigger the bill, the harder you ball." The middle of the album mostly bores — more money, clothes and hoes — but on "Medicated," Khalifa defends this content by arguing he'd be shooting guns and selling dope if he wasn't rich. So look at it how you will — which is the greater evil, fame or poverty? — but understand Khalifa's going to ball until he's comfortable. In the world of rap, where the greats do their thing and then graduate, Khalifa thinks that attitude is "just" and, as with Ol' Dirty before him, a means to an end. (Atlantic/Rostrum)