Wiz Khalifa's 'O.N.I.F.C': What the Critics Are Saying
The "Work Hard, Play Hard" rapper released his fourth studio album Dec. 4.
After many postponed release dates, Cameron Jibril Thomaz, better known as rapper Wiz Khalifa, shares his newest music joint with O.N.I.F.C.
With the release from Atlantic Records, the Pittsburgh MC returns to music after making splashes in the headlines with his March engagement to his girlfriend, Amber Rose, and the announcement of their first child at the MTV Video Music Awards in early September.
Collaborators on O.N.I.F.C (the clean version of the acronym stands for One Night in First Class) include many of his hip-hop friends, from 2 Chainz, Akon and The Weeknd. Only five out of 17 tracks on the album are solo medleys, where Pharrell, Juicy J and Lola Monroe lend their rhymes.
But after a collaborative project with Snoop Dogg on Mac & Devin Go to High School and his successful third studio album, 2011's Rolling Papers, critics seem disappointed by Khalifa this year. Below is a sampling of what the critics had to say.
Carl Williott of Idolator comments: "Impending fatherhood has not seemed to, ahem, spark Wiz’s lyrical growth. O.N.I.F.C. is full of gauzy, lethargic beats, with slowed-down G-funk riffs and bloops that seem to be coming from melted video game cartridges. Wiz seems to be just fine planting his stake in the land of no stakes: He opened Rolling Papers with 'They say all I rap about is bitches and champagne,' and proceeded to start O.N.I.F.C. with 'Get the cork out the bottle.' "
The Washington Post's Allison Stewart agrees, "'O.N.I.F.C' (which stands for 'Only [Word-We-Can’t-Say] In First Class') is light on beefy hooks, preferring sleepy beats that quickly turn somnolent. Other songs employ electro-psych whirls and ’70s space-age effects in place of anything substantial."
The feedback from some critics focuses the spotlight more on the subject of marijuana than it does on the music itself.
MTV.com writer Sowmya Krishnamurthy writes: "Not surprisingly, it's a love affair for the stoners with 17 tracks about Mary, Mary, Mary. In 'Intro' lush instrumentation kicks off O.N.I.F.C., but this Intro is best suited to zone out to, helmed by longtime Wiz producers Cardo and Sledgren. The song ends with, what else, Wiz lighting one up. 'Fall Asleep,' the cozy, minimalist cooing on this song, produced by I.D. Labs, is perfect to fall asleep to after a smoking sesh."
Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone sums up Khalifa's lastest album as "waking, baking and, between massive bong hits, babymaking with his model-fiancee Amber Rose. The beats, by Pittsburgh homeboys ID Labs and others, whip up aural smoke billows, and Khalifa's are just off-kilter enough ... to give you a contact high."Hotnewhiphop.com's Perry Simpson agrees with the above: "O.N.I.F.C. is a solid project on the whole, but fans of pre 'Black and Yellow' Wiz Khalifa may notice a seeming lack of inspiration and conviction. Though obviously referenced, marijuana is less prevalent in Khalifa’s rhymes this time around. While these are among the better qualities of Khalifa as an artist and this album in particular, the topical content is woefully lackluster and repetitive. For those on the fence [of purchasing the album] however, know that this is not a press-play-and-go album. O.N.I.F.C. is best consumed a couple tracks at a time, or better yet, scattered throughout a shuffle playlist." On a lighter note, Colton S. from theversed.com notices a positive in the album: "If you’re looking for an accessible, upbeat and entertaining experience that doesn’t require too much thought -- and is definitely less threatening than most modern party-focused hip-hop -- this might be one of your favorite albums of the year."
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