What’s up, Special Ed?! Summer is heating up and the Mets are still awful!!!!
With sports out of the picture, we’ve been listening to a lot more music lately. Good timing too, there’s a bunch of good hip-hop albums out right now. A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one. We’ll probably do a full POWER RANKING of the hottest albums of 2017 at some point soon, but we’re gonna have to wait for the posthumous Sean P shit (August) and still need to give the new DJ Khaled a few more spins. See, I was listening to the new Khaled album the other day and every time there’s some new Khaled out, the same question always crosses my mind:
“What does DJ Khaled do, anyway?” I’m certainly not the first, nor will I be the last, to contemplate this question. It’s a quandary as old as time itself; one of the greatest mysteries of the multiverse.
I think a lot of the folks in those google results are confused, tho. What they really meant to ask was “Why do I love DJ Khaled?” Hipsters get scared when they find themselves enjoying popular music, but Khaled’s shit is irresistible. People that like music don’t understand how someone who’s not a “musician” is responsible for, like, all of their favorite songs. It’s hard, I know. I have held some hipster-ish opinions on music over the years, but for some reason, I’ve never found Khaled problematic in that way. This was the first time I actually googled that, and I don’t think I’ve ever even asked this out loud because it never really bothered me.
DJ Khaled has been putting out consistent bangers since 2006 #facts. There are few artists of any genre who have as much highlight material as DJ Khaled in the past decade. But more importantly, I was 24 when Listennn… The Album came out, now I’m 35. This is a time in many men’s lives where they learn a lot about themselves, become more comfortable with their place in the world and embrace a certain identity. DJ Khaled has curated the musical themes to this crucial time of my life. It’s safe to say I would not be the man I am today without DJ Khaled.
Which brings us to Khaled’s 10th album Grateful; See, when I was younger, my favorite dudes in sports and music was generally dudes that smoked a lot of weed. Nowadays, my favorite dudes are dudes that smoke a lot of weed and are good dads (shouts to ¡Que Lastima!). Khaled pulled a couple BOSS MOVES on this album that just might elevate him over 2 Chainz and Lavarr Ball in the 2017 Father of the Year rankings. First, he named his 8 month old son “Executive Producer” of the album and had him “featured” on one track. Man, fuck a college fund, that shit is pure genius! Then he put a song on the album called “I Love You So Much” which is not a song about an 8 month old baby, but a song FOR an 8 month old baby. On the second verse Chance the Rapper sings the alphabet, and the third verse goes “Where your ears at? Where your nose at? Where your mouth at? Where your hair at?” Babies love that shit. Khaled is a very good dad.
Check out these baller-ass album covers:
Khaled's last two albums, Grateful and Major Key, both have lions and thrones on the cover. And his music and style have become more mature. Though we didn’t know it at the time, this era really began with the previous, less successful album, I Changed A Lot. This R&B-heavy album featured appearances by John Legend, Trey Songz, and three (3!) Chris Brown songs. It was released in October 2015 and, unsurprisingly, Khaled’s wife got pregnant 2 months later.
With the pregnant wife at home, Khaled was free to get back to his roots with his most rappity-rap album to date: 2016’s Grammy-nominated Major Key. There’s a song called “Nas Album Done”. That’s a lie, but it is easily the best Nas song since the Bush administration. Jigga has a track on Major Key too, and it’s FIIIIIRE. But it’s weird tho: It seems like everything Jay has touched in the last 5 years plus is the hottest shit ever, and Nas has 1 good song, and it’s on Khaled’s album. Very sad, me from fifteen years ago would hate this.
But this is the thing that sets DJ Khaled’s catalog of club bangers and posse cuts apart from, say, Lil Jon’s. Khaled has always been able to supplement his hits with solid album cuts where great producers and rappers often put some of their best work on HIS albums.
His first album, Listennn… The Album, included the little-known “Grammy Family”, an all-time top ten Kanye song*, right at the peak of Kanye’s career. Still today, if you’re looking for the hottest new song from Raekwon, D-Block, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe or Jay-Z it’s probably on a Khaled album.
Is there any question what this man does?
Bottom line: If you’re not fuckin with DJ Khaled, you’re not really fuckin with hip-hop.
* These are the top ten Kanye songs, I guess a lot of them weren’t on a Kanye album:
10: Slow Jamz (Kanye f. Jamie Foxx)
9: Put On (Jeezy f. Kanye)
8: Through the Wire (Kanye)
7: Grammy Family (DJ Khaled f. Kanye, Twista, Consequence)
6: Diamonds are Forever (Remix) (Kanye f. Jay-Z)
5: Two Words (Kanye f. Mos Def, Freeway)
4: Down and Out (Cam’ron f. Kanye)
3: We Major (Nas f. Kanye)
2: Get By (Remix) (Talib Kweli f. Mos Def, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes)
1: Never Let Me Down (Kanye f. Jay-Z)
HAVE A GREAT INDEPENDANCE DAY, EVERYBODY!!!!!!!