Fan response was decidedly negative when Wiz Khalifa released the cover art to his upcoming sophomore studio effort O.N.I.F.C. (Only Nigga In First Class) earlier this month. Now, in a recent interview with Karen Civil, the Pittsburgh emcee responds to the criticism.

Wiz said that the cover is meant to better capture his new-found style and that he didn’t expect people to be so taken aback by it. Still, he explained that he’s not upset about the negative response, as it is generating discussion about his anticipated project. He added that the cover wasn’t specifically inspired by Jimi Hendrix, but rather the larger ethos of the ’60s counter-culture.

“With the [O.N.I.F.C.] cover and everything, it’s just moving into the future,” he said. “We can’t stay where we’ve ever been at, we got to move forward…I think that’s the beauty of it – so many people try to plan all those types of situations and be like, ‘This is what it is, that’s what it is’ – I don’t know what [the response] is gonna be. I do what I feel, and then people react to it. When [the cover] got its reaction, it was crazy to me ‘cus I thought people was gonna love it. I thought they would be like, ‘Yo, this is the craziest cover, this is the best shit I’ve ever seen in my life’…when I sat down and thought about it, I was like, ‘Well, whether they’re talking about how bad it is or how good it is, they’re talking about it,’ and that becomes the thing for the day, week, month, however long it lasts. It’s a good thing, and I believe in it, so that’s what’s most important.”

He added, “[Jimi Hendrix] is definitely an influence, but it’s not just [that]. Jimi Hendrix is a great person, I love Jimi, but like that whole era of music, they all look like that. When you look back at that time and the Vietnam days…that’s what people looked like at that time. Me having an afro and me wearing a bandanna around my head and people think now I look like Jimi Hendrix, it doesn’t mean I’m trying to be Jimi. Yeah, I love Jimi, but that’s not really exactly who I’m trying to be. I embody that mind frame [and] spirit of what was going on at that time, how people really felt about how important it was to stand up for what you believe in and to fight for what was yours, whether it be your culture or your family.”

Check out the full interview below via

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