With Wiz Khalifa on the brink of releasing his second album O.N.I.F.C., Complex magazine grabs the opportunity to place him on the cover of their October/November issue, snapped by Bryce Duffy, and talk to the 25 year old Pittsburgh native about the new album, his rise to the top and his perspective on music, business and branding.
Taking it back to when he was king of mixtapes – which is how he first built such a hard-core following – Wiz talks about some of his older work, and what the process used to be like.
“When I did Prince of the City 2, I never felt like I was forcing anything,” he says. “I put it all together. I had club records, girl records, and ones where I was spitting. I figured out all the different dimensions of myself and pulled them together and realized, I can’t just give people one or two styles. I had to be like, ‘This is me. I’m the complete package.’”
Making the transition from mixtape artist to legitimate, record label-backed album seller, Wiz explains what the difference between the two is, and why he chose to make certain creative decisions.
“That [Kush & Orange Juice] mixtape is raw. I did what I wanted to do. You can’t do that on an album because other people gotta eat off that album. There’s business that goes into an album. When you do an album, you can’t separate the music from the business because it’s music business.”
Since he’s achieved over 750,000 copies sold in the US alone and hit Billboards no.2 spot for his debut studio album, it seems he’s got this business down pat. However, he does have some regrets about his first album as he expressed a while ago in an open letter describing it as being creatively not his “best work.”
In the interview he further explains how he’s trying to develop as an artist, using Frank Ocean as a metaphor for what he wants. “The people that are buying Frank Ocean, they don’t buy into one song that he sings. He sings 20 songs. Frank Ocean is the name. You can either get with it or you can keep trying to be a song. I’m not trying to be no song. It’s always the name.”
This issue will be out on October 2nd, or you can head to Complex.com for the full interview.