By Rob Markman
Much has been made about Wiz Khalifa’s duality. For most of his career, the Taylor Gang captain has been able to exist in two worlds: the free-wheeling, smoke-filled underground where he reigns as king and theBillboard charts which he has frequently been known to climb. It seems that for his upcoming sophomore LP O.N.I.F.C.his major label home Atlantic Records wants more of the latter and a little less of the former.
“Atlantic likes O.N.I.F.C., but they want more obvious singles because that’s what sells it for them,” Khalifa told Complex Magazine in the cover story for their October/November cover story.” My belief in the record is what sells it to me. It’s not a conflict. You just have to communicate so everybody understands it.”
Wiz won over his fans with a celebration collection of free Internet-based mixtapes like 2009’s Flight School and the modern-day classic Kush and Orange Juice. When it was time to release his major label debut Rolling Papers last year many charged that Khalifa had pulled a switch-a-roo, changing his beloved stoner sound for more pop-friendly hits like the #1 single “Black & Yellow” and the Benny Blanco-produced “No Sleep.” It was a charge that Wiz addressed in an open letter to his fans in back February admitting that while RP was successful, it wasn’t his best work.
In March, Khalifa tapped back into his underground aesthetic and dropped his latest fan-favorite Taylor Allderdice, but now that the release date for his sophomore set is looming, it seems that he and Atlantic aren’t quite seeing eye-to-eye. Wiz just isn’t ready to compromise this time.
“When you’re working with other people, you figure out how much you do for them and how much you do for yourself,” he told the magazine. “You can’t just be an artist fighting for your opinion and that’s it. The label has to understand artists. I wanted to make Rolling Papers when I madeRolling Papers, now it’s time for O.N.I.F.C. Now we’re going to do it exactly how I want to do it to see how that works. It can’t be one-sided.”
What are you expecting from Wiz Khalifa’s O.N.I.F.C. LP?