Billy is back with a brand new album full of anthems simply because they didn’t want him to have any anthems. With some help from some of the biggest names in hip hop, DJ Khaled has created an enjoyable masterpiece with a track list that looks fan made: Kendrick, Drake and J Cole are all on the album (kings of the new school), alongside Jay Z and Nas (kings of the old school), Bryson Tiller (one of the biggest breakout stars last year), Nicki Minaj (the queen of hip hop), Fat Joe, Fabolous… the list goes on and on, and everyone is killing it. I have nothing but love for this album and here’s why…
The opening track, ‘I Got The Keys’ was the first track I heard off of the LP. It was one of the leading singles, with an extremely classy video to accompany it. When I first heard it I was kinda disappointed. I didn’t think “I got the keys keys keys x4” wasn’t really a great hook for a song to be graced by Jay Z.
“Lackluster, uninteresting bars from from Drake”
However, within the album I realised how lit the chorus was. Great to run to, dance to, play UFC to or wake you up in the morning; basically if you need to get riled up, this the song to do it.
This song is followed by ‘For Free’ which to be honest is an example of a song relying on a great beat to become an anthem. With lackluster, uninteresting bars from Drake, all props must go to Nineteen85 for creating an awesome 80s inspired beat, perfect for the summer (that didn’t leave Drake with much work to do).
“Nas reminds people why he has his status in Hip Hop as one of the greats”
However, the third track on this LP sees a great MC and great producers colliding to create a masterpiece. ‘Nas Album Done’ is by far the best song on this project, with unbelievable flows, insightful bars and bags of charisma. Nas reminds people why he has his status as one of Hip Hop’s greats.
Talking of highlights, track four delivers my favourite verse in the album from an unlikely source, Big Sean. It feels like, since Dark Sky Paradise, Big Sean has gotten better and better. His verse on this song was exceptional and in my opinion he even managed to better King Kendrick this one time.
“On ‘Ima be alright’ there is a hilarious speech made by DJ Khaled which I beg you to listen to”
‘Jermaine’s Interlude’ is a song I could have never pictured on a DJ Khaled album but it’s a very welcome change of timbre from the build up and epic nature of ‘Holy Key’, where J Cole’s heartfelt performance can only move the listener: J Cole struggles with his fame as he sounds close to tears and is almost losing his voice, claiming that he’s thinking about retiring from rap.
Past track 5 there isn’t much replay value, however on ‘Ima be alright’ there is a hilarious speech made by DJ Khaled which I beg you to listen to. In addition, the compulsory RnB anthem may be of interest to you RnB lovers out there but this critic does not find ‘Do You Mind’ the least bit interesting. Boring lyrics, plus August Alsina and Chris Brown are not particularly entertaining in this song. Nicki Minaj also provides questionable vocals, which is disappointing as I have enjoyed her singing in the past.
The only feature I don’t mind (pardon the pun) on this track is Rick Ross, who is charismatic as usual. The 11th track ‘Don’t Ever Play Yourself’ sees DJ Khaled employ the services of four New York kings as well as We The Best signee Kent Jones, who raps his ass off considering he did not completely embarrass himself rapping along the likes of Jadakiss, Fabolous, Fat Joe and Busta Rhymes.
“Lil Wayne’s feature verse disappointed me. It sounded more like a Young Thug impression”
‘Tourist’ is another interesting track with Travis Scott bringing that Rodeo sound to DJ Khaled’s LP. While Travis Scott’s verses and hook are fun to listen to, Lil Wayne’s feature verse disappointed me. It sounded more like a Young Thug impression.
All in all, this project was better than what I’d expected and consists of some great anthems as well as some lackluster songs, but with a track list that reads like something a hip hop fan posted to troll other hip hop fans, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a couple tracks in here that you’ll enjoy thoroughly.
Image courtesy of DJ Khaled via Facebook