This past February, Wiz Khalifa stunned fans when he took to the Internet and said that his debut Rolling Papers “wasn’t [his] best work.” Now, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the Pittsburgh rapper explains what has changed with his music on his upcoming sophomore LP O.N.I.F.C (Only Nigga In First Class).

The Taylor Gang general compared the sounds of his two projects, saying that O.N.I.F.C. is a more effortless listen. He explained that with Rolling Papers, he felt like he was trying to shed the “weed rapper” stigma he had garnered and wanted to prove himself a more versatile emcee. Now, with his second LP due in September, he feels as if he’s returned more to his roots and is making better music.

“Whether people know it or not, when I go in the booth or when I pick my beats or with my artwork, everything is really detailed and I get down into it,” he said. “I know what went into making [Rolling Papers] and I know what went into making my other projects, so I know where I could have went a little stronger or where I could have done what I felt was more natural. But in time and through the process, you gotta learn and you gotta do different things. If I wouldn’t have learned that stuff early, then it probably would have taken me later in my career to try it out. I take it as a blessing. My cousin kind of put it to me the best earlier today. He was like, on Rolling Papers, I was more or less trying to show my skills, what I could do. Versatility. Everybody was like, ‘You’re a weed rapper.’ I was like, ‘OK, I can show them different stuff.'” 

He continued, “I just wanted to keep it wide open [with O.N.I.F.C.] and not do anything forced or anything that took too much thought, but just go as natural as possible. I really keyed in on my influences that made me wanna rap and do music. And I just try to recreate those feelings…it reminds me of some of my older stuff. Because that was stuff that I was doing to really just challenge myself and to better myself…[the album is] really musical but it’s not, like, over-creative. I’m not trying to push anything on anybody. There’s a lot of songs that are less obvious hits but they’re gonna stick with you and you’re gonna love them and in time they’re gonna be big songs because they have no choice but to [be]. I think that’s what music needs. That’s what I grew up on and that’s what we trying to bring.”

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