A few days ago, Wiz Khalifa released the cover art to his much-anticipated sophomore album, O.N.I.F.C, before its release on Sept. 18. But any hopes for complete support from his fans were dashed when the rapper was overwhelmed with a slew of praise as well as an equal dose of mockery and shade from detractors. But never one to shy away from a challenge, the risk-taking emcee recently weighed in on the drama and defended his album cover.
On the cover, a shirtless Wiz can be seen sitting in a black chair, rocking a white leopard fur coat and red-striped white pants, adorned in gold chains and bohemian jewelry as he peers sternly at the camera.
And while some fans have called the photo rocker-chic, channeling the opulent styles of Jimi Hendrix and Prince, others have called the album cover too feminine and bizarre and even questioned Wiz’s sexuality because of it.
However, Wiz took to Twitter to defend his work in a lengthy series of tweets.
“Im Helpin Everyone Get In Touch With Their Inner Sleaze. If U Dnt Wanna Let It Out, Ill Express It For You,” writes Wiz, adding. “I’ll Be Brave Enough. Onifc Is Not For The Scary. Iss About Taking Risks So The People Who Believe What We Believe In Can Feel Free.”
The Cover Art Should Give You Confidence And Let You Know You Can Fully Be Yourself In Front Of People No Matter What They Say Or Think,” he continued. “You Dont Have To Hide That S—t. Let It Out!!! Thass What The Artwork Really Represents. And If Your Still Scared, I’ll Do It For You.
“Lets All Grow Together!!!” Wiz concluded.
True, the album doesn’t fall within hip-hop’s traditional ideals for masculinity, but like any genre or section of art, it can only reflect the times and the times are changing for hip-hop.
In an age where hardened gangsta rappers have given way to emotionally honest emcees, Andre 3000’s rapping and singing students (Drake) reign supreme, fashion gods like Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy and Jeremy Scott are styling emcees, and Frank Ocean can come out of the closet with somewhat relative ease, Wiz’s fashion choices just don’t seem to be that odd.
But you tell us what you think about his cover and check out some of the responses to the artwork below, including those from Killer Mike, Tyler, The Creator and Wiz’s fiancée, Amber Rose. –nicholas robinson