In case you haven't noticed, Wiz Khalifa isn't planning on coming down off his high anytime soon. Just a little more than a year after releasing his major label debut, Rolling Papers—and less than six months after the release of the Mac & Devin Go to High School soundtrack he recorded alongside Snoop Dogg—the Pittsburgh MC is already putting the finishing touches on his much-anticipated sophomore set, O.N.I.F.C. (which stands for Only Nigga In First Class), right now. Due out on August 28, Wiz has gathered a bunch of big names like Adam Levine, Cam'Ron, Chris Brown, and The Weeknd to lend guest vocals, while Pharrell, will.i.am, and Rico Love have all contributed production efforts.
But, you won't have to wait until the end of the summer to get your first taste of O.N.I.F.C. In fact, Wiz is planning on releasing the first single from the album, "Work Hard," produced by Stargate and Benny Blanco, on Pittsburgh radio station 96.1 KISS on Monday. And, to get you ready for it, we put together a list of the 5 Reasons Wiz Khalifa's New Album, O.N.I.F.C., Is Going To Be Better Than Rolling Papers. We'll definitely have the audio of "Work Hard" for you on Monday when the song drops. But, until then, roll one up with this and enjoy the ride.—Chris Yuscavage
1. Wiz's Taylor Allderdice mixtape got him back on the right track as far as making music goes.
We're not gonna ignore the elephant in the room here. For a lot of hardcore Wiz fans, Rolling Papers was a departure from what they'd come to expect from him. So, understandably, some of them didn't know if and when the "old" Wiz would be back. Well, they got their answer on Taylor Allderdice, which shut down DatPiff when it was released last month and was generally well-received by the hip-hop community. If that mixtape is any indication of what he's got in store on O.N.I.F.C., watch out.
2. Wiz's new album features him working with a completely different batch of big-name producers and a range of guest artists.
Absolutely no disrespect to Pittsburgh producers E. Dan or Big Jerm, but they handled a lot of Rolling Papers. Some of their productions worked really well (see: "When I'm Gone" and "The Race") but some of them didn't really force Wiz to push himself as an artist. So we're glad to see that, in addition to his hometown producers, Wiz also has names like Pharrell and will.i.am in the mix this time. Of course, he runs the risk of creating tracks that are a little too commercial by grabbing big names (and that was the criticism of Rolling Papers) but you also increase the likelihood of him creating some songs that don't sound like other Wiz tracks that we've already heard before by grabbing those guys to produce for him. We're interested to see what he's come up with.
3. Wiz is still going with what worked on his first album, because he's got Stargate producing his first single.
Wiz isn't scrapping the entire blueprint from Rolling Papers. "Black & Yellow" was obviously a huge hit. And, while some Wiz fans didn't appreciate it, "Roll Up" did well for him, too. So, he's tabbed Stargate—the Norwegian production duo who handled both beats—to produce the first single from O.N.I.F.C. That might scare some of you. But, we're glad to see Wiz going with what worked the first time around.
4. Wiz has put in work over the last year and earned enough respect to make the album that he wants to make this time around.
Wiz has appeared everywhere this year. From his Snoop collabo, "Young, Wild & Free" to T-Pain's hit "5 O'Clock," he's had an opportunity to work with different artists and to show people that he knows how to craft hits. So, that means that he won't have to use O.N.I.F.C. to show folks that he can write hit records. Instead, he can deliver one or two surefire hits and then devote the rest of the album to doing what he wants to do. He's built up his rep enough to be able to do that, so we hope he takes advantage of it.
5. Wiz has to be motivated by what some people out there said after Rolling Papers dropped.
If nothing else, Wiz caught a ton of hate from both fans and haters after Rolling Papers dropped. They said it was too pop. They said he'd crossed over. They argued against his budding relationship with Amber Rose and turned in their Taylor Gang memberships. So, O.N.I.F.C. is Wiz's opportunity to show everyone that he's still the same old G. We fully expect him to do so.