Wiz Khalifa Talks About Balancing His Career + Life in Complex Magazine Interview
Wiz Khalifa is the latest cover star for the October/November issue of Complex magazine. As the Pittsburgh rapper gets ready to drop his long-awaited second effort ‘O.N.I.F.C,’ he’s been walking a tightrope between appeasing his record label, Atlantic, and his die-hard fans.
In the cover story, Wizzy explains why his album was delayed so many times. According to him, the label is not sure if he’s recorded enough hit singles to promote the project. Although he’s not at odds with his record label, he made sure that label heads understood his artistic vision with the album.
“Atlantic likes ‘O.N.I.F.C.,’” Wiz tells Complex. “But they want more obvious singles because that’s what sells it for them. My belief in the record is what sells it to me. It’s not a conflict. You just have to communicate so everybody understands it.”
“When you’re working with other people, you figure out how much you do for them and how much you do for yourself,” he continues. “You can’t just be an artist fighting for your opinion and that’s it. The label has to understand artists. I wanted to make ‘Rolling Papers’ when I made ‘Rolling Papers,’ now it’s time for ‘O.N.I.F.C.’ Now we’re going to do it exactly how I want to do it to see how that works. It can’t be one-sided.”
According to Wiz, he wants to make music from his heart and not for the pop charts. “When you start forcing things, you lose people,” he explains. “I never want to do that because none of my favorite artists have ever done that to me — i.e., Juicy J (his artist on Taylor Gang Records). You know what’s right and you know what’s wrong. You know when you’re forcing it and when you’re just laying it down. I’m trying to do more laying it down than forcing it. That’s how you become legendary.”
Wiz has every right to be overly protective with ‘O.N.I.F.C.’ Despite his last album ‘Rolling Papers’ being a platinum-selling smash, he did receive flack from his devoted fans who feel that he abandoned his original Taylor Gang sound.
Wiz took the critiques to heart and last February, he decided to post a letter on his Tumblr titled “Strictly for My Taylors” to address the criticisms. The letter began as a thank-you to his fans but soon turned into a rant on ’Rolling Papers.’ “The album did great numbers, but creatively wasn’t my best work,” he admitted to the publication. “I’m used to listening to my music all the time, critiquing it, and making it better. I didn’t really get a chance to do that with ‘Rolling Papers.’ I looked back and decided I can’t do that again.”
The October/November issue of Complex magazine, featuring Wiz Khalifa on the cover, will hit newsstands on Oct. 2.
Watch the Wiz Khalifa Video ‘When I’m Gone’ (Live)