The Taylor Gang official has come a long way–so much so that his 2nd major label album reflects his rise to the top through its album title, O.N.I.F.C. (short for “Only N***a In First Class”). Wiz Khalifa has already garnered plenty of buzz with the album title and the appropriately swagged out cover, but can he keep that buzz intact with the actual music itself?
Wiz’s sound is a familiar one. He hooks up with in-house producers (Cardo, Sledgren, and I.D. Labs) and outside help as he raps over club friendly beats. His content matter focuses on nothing but the good things that come to those who work hard and play hard. Wiz may not offer the most thought provoking lyrics, but his feel-good flow and millionaire verses still entertain. The first cut off the album, “Paperbond”, is a perfect example of Wiz’s signature style. Drumma Boy also helps Wiz keep his money talk moving along on the catchy as hell track, “Bluffin”.
Each song covers the topics that Wiz is most familiar and comfortable with – money, cars, good smoke, good loving, fast traveling, and even faster money spending. But when Wiz is joined by notable artists from outside and inside the Taylor Gang camp, some of these songs are much improved. Camron comes out of hiding to do just that on “The Bluff.” The slow tempo and relaxed production perfectly compliment Wiz and Cam as they spit about the life of an everyday baller.
It’s no surprise that the best songs from this album include special guests. Pharell offers Wiz one of the finer beats on the album with the most complete track, “Rise Above.” Tuki Carter and even Amber Rose make solid contributions to the song, while Wiz and Pharrell offer much stronger lyrical efforts. Juicy J definitely gets turned up on “The Plan,” The Weeknd bellows out his haunting vocals on “Remember You,” and Courtney Noelle helps Wiz craft a warm dedication to his lady on “Got Everything.”
It’s widely known that Wiz doesn’t veer very far lyrically from the subjects he chooses to brag about. Although the great production saves a lot of these songs from growing boring in between repeated listens, some are actually hampered by lame beats. “Let It Go,” which includes Akon and his studio enhanced chorus, is easily the weakest song by far. The same goes for the Taylor Gang shoutout, “Initiation.” Dedicated Taylor Gang members will probably warm up to this song the most, but casual listeners will frown at the bars spit by Wiz and Lola Monroe. Equally disappointing is the 2 Chainz featured song, “Its Nothin.”
The main thing to take away from O.N.I.F.C. is this: Wiz Khalifa is in an obvious comfort zone revolving around the good life. He continues to rap about the same things that brought him to that top spot in the rap game, and I don’t see him taking a departure from that stance anytime soon. This album offers fine beats and even finer features, yet it’s still more of the same.
If you can’t get enough of Khalifa and his high times, then you’ll obviously love every minute of his latest joint. But for those who are already tired of his same ol’, same ol’ rhymes, you’ll find nothing new here. All in all, O.N.I.F.C. is much improved over Rolling Papers, but it still falls just short of greatness.