DJ Khaled Is Bash Host to Superstars on ‘Khaled Khaled’: Album Critique

Like open up fireplace hydrants and Mediterranean fruit flies, a new established of DJ Khaled…

Like open up fireplace hydrants and Mediterranean fruit flies, a new established of DJ Khaled collabs with a sleek, star-crowded total-duration to comply with is the surest indication of spring’s slide into summertime. DJ Khaled all but developed The Event Album, just as Jerry Bruckheimer or James Cameron-crafted Function Cinema. Only Khaled’s is much more of an annual/semi-yearly bash with buddies bellying up to the bar and the loudest members of the get together toasting the longest. Drake will be there, as will Lil Wayne. Khaled will randomly shout verbal tics and all will be correct on mainstream rap’s shiniest world.

Which delivers us to this week’s semi-surprise release, “Khaled Khaled,” just one with (yup) Drake and Weezy, added outdated mates these kinds of as Jay-Z and Puff Daddy, and new collaborators like DaBaby and Megan Thee Stallion. There is even a final-moment addition to the track-and-visitor record for the sake of thrills and chills, with Cardi B jumping on board as of April 29, just after he’d now tweeted out address artwork with out her a working day before, then amended it with a “101{d336d22fa8618a5f7552de079ea4a1d7eae449cfa6c211953fbc87b3a4dc0428} performed update.”

Via all of this, Khaled manages to scream out “We the Very best Music” (his label’s name) and “Another one” so often that it gets to be a rote equivalent to yelling “movie” in a crowded firehouse. Even during the relaxed, flute-y orchestration of the opening “Thankful,” Khaled disrupts his possess peace with no far better motive than to huckster. You could nearly hear Dionne Warwick inquiring, ‘Why need to this gentleman repeat ‘DJ Khaled’ more than and in excess of when we know whose document we streamed?” And she would not be mistaken.

So, certainly, of training course, “Khaled Khaled” is overly boastful and garrulous, a slick pop/hip-hop jewel polished so brightly and cleanly, its glow almost blinds the listener to some of its subtlest nuances and oddly uncooked raps (e.g., Nas’ dry-icy drone on “Sorry Not Sorry”). However, like a diamond, there are a handful of sharp edges that shockingly minimize their way by the see-by glassiness of “Khaled Khaled,” along with some properly-placed surprises.

Commencing with the light and sinewy Jeremih, whose tale of salvation flows with the awesome breeze of the aforementioned “Thankful,” and ending with the rolling holy dancehall of “Where I Occur From” (with legendary reggae vocalists Buju Banton, Capleton, Bounty Killer, and Barrington Levy), “Khaled Khaled” might be the title-over-the-title DJ’s most effective and most holistic report. All you require do is overlook your host, and appreciate.

The very first surprise is how hip-hop’s best huckster, a spirited male in the mildew of PT Barnum, managed to hold this project a mystery until eventually April 27’s Instagram drip of its deal with picture (a Muslim Khaled, kneeling in prayer, with arms folded, surrounded by his youngsters), adopted the subsequent day by its back again go over and song titles and visitor listing. In Khaled Earth, this is pretty much silent promotion, far more of a bug in one’s ear, than his standard hammer across one’s skull. Simple fact is, there was not even one particular 2021 solitary in advance of “Khaled Khaled” (Drake’s somnolent collaborations, “Popstar” and “Greece,” were being introduced in July 2020).

To go with this softer promotion, there is, oddly sufficient, a subtlety to be witnessed in much more than a handful of of “KK’s” crucial tracks. And the supple pleasures discovered inside of “Khaled Khaled” are ample. “Sorry Not Sorry (Harmonies by the Hive),” with its background vocals from Beyoncé, and its raps-among-rivals-turned-close friends Jay-Z and Nas, is juicily melodic, peaceful-suit hip-hop merely rimmed by AutoTune — just as a fantastic martini is but touched by the grace of invisible vermouth.

“Hear ye, listen to ye, only kings stand in the vicinity of me,” announces Nas, the self-titled “Cryptocurrency Scarface,” ahead of yielding the flooring to Hova and his nicely dicey lyrical play on driving the beat. Cardi B, too, performs nicely with her musical accompaniment – the icy string sounds offered by DJ Khaled with Amazing & Dre – on the chilly “Big Paper.” Credit history where by credit’s thanks: Khaled is a fantastic producer-host who loves his vocal expenses/visitors, and will make certain they are well taken treatment of.

The panther-pacing, rubbery funk of “Let It Go” enables a larger pitched Justin Bieber to croon elegantly and ruminate spiritually about the “things I just can’t manage,” though the bassy voice of 21 Savage highlights the track’s reduced conclude, fantastically. As significantly as crooners go, Justin Timberlake is offered the freest reign he’s had in some time on the “Just Be” ballad. Even though his lyrics aptly describe his voice (“Smooth and effortless, just flowing”), his vocals shift from deeply burrowed baritone soul to a substantial and mighty warbling falsetto with equally grand sonic touches. And for the record, Khaled developed this one particular on his individual. Take note to Timberlake – fall the cartoon anthems and the old guy faux-place program and get Khaled cracking on your subsequent solo jawn.

The exact perception of empathetic, grand output and orchestral touches let singers H.E.R. and Bryson Tiller, alongside with rapper Meek Mill, hip-hop’s to start with shot at a superb waltz on the pensive ballad “I Can Have It All,” and its delicate (not boastful) take on rising proudly from the pavement to the penthouse. With that, you get a perception that Khaled was in on the lyrical storytelling, generating (or curating) a feeling of humble uplift so radically distinct from his standard glitz. Then again, Khaled is a person possessed of abundant religious spirit, a devotion to his household, and pride in an origin story that consists of coming up in New Orleans as a Palestinian, loving Arabic tunes as substantially as he did R&B.

Even the Derek and the Dominoes’ rock-out sample that kicks off the chic, aggressive “I Did It” with an un-AutoTuned Put up Malone singing out strong and full bodied (a rarity on his personal data) appears as if Khaled tailor-made his tone to match the vocalist, fairly than his normal other-way-all-around. With that, the staff of Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Baby and DaBaby provide their own sets of signature voiced punctuation you could inform who each and every rapper is from the 1st breath. Very an achievement.

“Khaled Khaled” is not exactly perfect… but it is close. The turgid “Every Opportunity I Get” (featuring Lil Baby and Lil Durk) goes nowhere, and even the DJ’s regular attempts with Rick Ross sound blah. Skip individuals. The relaxation of this album is DJ Khaled’s very best accomplishment as a songwriter, producer, curator and host. Now if he could just halt yelling out and placing his “brand” out there… that would be the truest stunner of all.