Wiz Khalifa, ‘O.N.I.F.C.’ album review


Cover art for Wiz Khalifa's "O.N.I.F.C." (Courtesy of Atlantic Records/Courtesy of Atlantic Records)
December 3, 2012
Wiz Khalifa
O.N.I.F.C.

O.N.I.F.C.” is Wiz Khalifa’s first non-soundtrack album since “Rolling Papers” turned him into the Crown Prince of Weed Rap. These days, Khalifa isn’t only hip-hop famous — his engagement to baby mama Amber Rose has made him TMZ famous as well.

Any student of pop culture knows what comes next: the Fame Album, with its gloating, cheerless odes to bottle service and private planes. Stardom means you get the best weed and never have to settle for the strippers on the day shift. But for an MC like Khalifa, whose everyday dorkiness is part of his appeal, it’s a left-turn into unrelatability that the frequently underperforming “O.N.I.F.C.” can’t overcome.

“My DNA is Givenchy,” Wiz wheezes charmingly on “It’s Nothin’,” and then promptly runs out of insane wealth metaphors. The flatfooted “Bluffin’ ” (“I got so much paper / I just spend it like it’s nothing”) will make you fear for his 401(k). “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. Some tracks have a slippery electronic undertow, like “Remember You,” Khalifa’s collaboration with mysterious R&B upstart the Weeknd; it’s great mostly because it sounds like a Weeknd song. Other songs employ electro-psych whirls and’70s space-age effects in place of anything substantial.

“O.N.I.F.C” also boasts guest turns from Akon, 2 Chainz and Rose, who shows up on the Pharrell cut “Rise Above.” (Amber Rose does not have a great flow. Amber Rose does not need to.) Best of all: D.C.-raised Lola Monroe, who commandeers the otherwise forgettable “Initiation” like it’s her best shot, which it may be.

— Allison Stewart

Recommended Tracks

“Remember You,” “Work Hard, Play Hard”

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