“O.N.I.F.C.,” Wiz Khalifa
There’s much to love about Wiz Khalifa. His stoner soliloquies are works of art, to say nothing of his cocky, loping flow.
Yet for all his communal weed-screeds, there’s something lazily exclusionary about “Only N - In First Class” (“O.N.I.F.C.,” for short).
Set against a groggily hypnotic wall of sound, his raps seem half-baked, his clever wordplay on vacation.
Money and all it buys is hip-hop’s princely province. Here, it’s tedious currency. The sentiment of “Work Hard Play Hard” is solid but its lyrics (“I got so much money/I should start a bank”) are dull. “The Plan” is so lyrically inert, it almost moves backward. And Wiz, don’t call a song “Fall Asleep” unless you’re waking us up.
Problems aside, “O.N.I.F.C.’s” winning moments are so stunning they nearly override its sloth. Wiz’s duet with the Weeknd, “Remember You,” is moody, subtle, and teasingly romantic. “It’s Nothin’” (with 2Chainz) is vibrantly violent.
Cash and weed made Wiz apathetic, but those songs prove that artful aggression makes good bank.
Rating (five possible): 2-1/2