Dj Khaled’s Major Key – A Review
If you've been living sheltered life closed off from the rest of humanity Kimmy Schmidt-style (minus the kidnapping and imprisonment part), you may not know who Dj Khaled is. However, if you're like the rest of us, you know him from the good ol' Terror Squad days when he was their official DJ. You know him for talking a lot (like yelling "We the best" on every track), you know him for being mildly entertaining, or you may know him from the infamous "You Played Yourself" meme.
All that funny shit aside, Khaled is most known for getting hip-hop and r&b artists to collaborate on tracks and being able to create a few hip-hop anthems in the process, such as this one or that one. Honestly, I don't really follow DJ Khaled, so he only pops on my radar when he does something really funny like dancing to Drake's "Controlla" or when he drops an album. Last week, he dropped Major Key, his ninth studio album laced with collaborations from the top rappers and R&B artists in the game right now like Jay-Z, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Nas, Big Sean, Lil' Wayne, Travis Scott, Future and many more.
There are 14 tracks on this album and it's a good listen. I say good and not great because the album starts strong and then kind of loses some of its momentum around track 7. Luckily, things pick up by track 10 before ending a little awkwardly.
Before I go any further, I have to point out the album art in the featured image. It's Khaled sitting on a golden throne in a flower garden with a lion laying a few feet away from him … What the hell does that have to do with the album's title?! This is insane – and not in a good way.
Regardless, here is the best and worst Major Key has to offer.
I Got The Keys (Ft. Jay Z & Future)
The Southside and Jake One produced track starts the album off with a bang. Jay-Z continues to prove that he not only still has it, but it also isn't going anywhere. With lyrics like
Niggas always asking me the key
'Til you own your own you can't be free
'Til you're on your own you can't be me
How we still slaves in 2016?
My swag different, that bag different
My wife Beyoncé, I brag different
My baby Blue, I dream in color
That's too much flavor, I don't rap to suckas (Ha!)
I'm not a big Future fan, but he's great on a hook. Another Jay-Z and Future combination is something I would love to see happen again and, since there are rumours that Jay-Z plans to release an album soon, that may just happen.
For Free (Ft. Drake)
This is one of my favorite songs at the moment. This track, produced by Nineteen85, not only reminds me of Too Short's "Blow The Whistle", which is a great song, but it also inspired Drake to channel Short's flow
I go on and on
Can't understand how I last so long
I must have the superpowers
Last 223 thousand hours
It's cause I'm off of CC
And I'm off the Hennessy
And like your boy from Compton said
You know this dick ain't free!
This song just puts a smile on my face, man. I keep singing the hook at home making my wife look at me like I'm crazy. This song is my summer anthem and I would urge you to get the album for that song alone.
Nas Album Done (Ft. Nas)
We haven't heard new stuff from Nas in a while and, according to the song's title, his album should be out soon. The Cool & Dre production remixed a "Fu-Gee-La" sample to create a great track. I missed Nas's flow and I can't wait for his album to come out.
Holy Key (Ft. Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar & Betty Wright)
Khaled loves making anthems and he managed to create a crazy one by putting Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar on an Edsclusive and Cool & Dre beat. He then grabbed those elements and added Betty Wright's soulful voice to the mix. The result? A damn near flawless "Holy Key" anthem.
Big Sean always seems to step up his lyrical ability when matched with Kendrick … Actually, that's not a fair comment to make since his last album, Dark Sky Paradise, was great and he was lyrically on point.
Ima Be Alright (Ft. Bryson Tiller & Future)
I don't get why some people are ready to put Future in their "Top 5 Dead or Alive" rapper list. I don't see what the fuss is about. I mean he's good on this track, but Bryson Tiller steals the show and makes this song really good.
No disrespect to Future, but Bryson could've carried this song without the assist.
Work For It (Ft. Big Sean, Gucci Mane & 2 Chainz)
"Metro Boomin' want some more."
Big Sean makes an appearance on this album for the second time with a song that could've been the lead single on his next album. The beat is smooth as hell and even when Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz say ridiculously funny things, the song is still great. This is 2 Chainz's entire verse:
Can't let you play me off the streets you know I got kids
And more major keys than a locksmith
I could teach you niggas how to rock this
My bed was a pallet on the carpet
My ride was a bus named MARTA
Pillow full of Estee Lauder
Nigga, I'm allergic to a Charger
Nothing but foreign cars in my garagah
Gotta love 2 Chainz, man.
Big Sean is the star of this show, though. His lyrical improvement his setting my expectations for his next album pretty high.
Tourist (Ft. Travis Scott & Lil Wayne)
These days, Travis Scott is a blowtorch and the beats are infused with gasoline. His tracks are just fire. I don't even care what he's saying half the time, but, for some reason, I'm singing and dancing along. I can't explain it, but that's the "Travis Scott" effect. He just makes good music.
But let's talk about Lil' Wayne for a minute. According to his critics, Wayne hasn't been himself since Carter IV and, for that reason, people have been dismissing him and his ability as a rapper. On this track, Wayne follows the tone Travis Scott set and follows suit with:
Wayne's world, party time, excellent
She might be a tourist and terrorist
A Hell's Angel actin' like she heaven sent, Lord
We can go sightseein' and all that
She can be wifey and all that
She's the tourist, I'm her tour guide
Can't see this bullshit, I hit bullseye
I'm looking forward to hearing more from both these dudes – together or apart – because this was a great collaboration.
See, now, I had a big problem with this album. I either really liked the songs or I hated them entirely (Mavado's track aside because I don't really have an opinion on reggae/dancehall).
Do You Mind (Ft. Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, August Alsina, Jeremih, Future & Rick Ross)
I'm not big on R&B. I like John Legend, Bryson Tiller, The Weeknd, Kehlani and a few others, but that's about it. Having said that, I didn't like this song. It was like a remix of Usher's "Lovers and Friends" beat and … I don't know. It just killed the vibe.
Pick These Hoes Apart (Ft. Kodak Black, Jeezy & French Montana)
Never heard Kodak Black before and I won't take this track as a statement to the skill that helped him get on XXL's 2016 Freshman Class because I'm not impressed with this effort. Just like the previous song, this song's a vibe-killer too.
Forgive Me Father (Ft. Meghan Trainor, Wiz Khalifa & Wale)
Random, unnecessary and ill-placed. It will probably be a radio hit, but it stops this album from being great.
Lyrically speaking, J. Cole's song, "Jermaine's Interlude" is one of the more introspective songs the album has to offer and it will grow on you. I didn't like it the first time I heard it, but I gave it another shot.
Kent Jones, fam! On "Don't Ever Play Yourself (Ft. Jadakiss, Fabolous, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes & Kent Jones)" everyone kills it, but Kent Jones steals the spotlight with his flow.
I had heard of Kent Jones once before prior to listening to this verse on Khaled's album. It was on his hit single "Don't Mind", and, based on that song, I only thought he was some R&B dude who can speak a little spanish and kreyol.
When I listened to "Don't Ever Play Yourself", I didn't know he was on the song and I had a "Who the hell is this rapping right now?" reaction once I heard him. I won't hype him up too much, but Mr. Jones has bars.
I give this album an 8/10 and, if it weren't for the tracks outlined in "THE BAD", it could've been a 9. If Khaled replaced those tracks with some Schoolboy Q, some Kanye, some Logic or even more Jay-Z, Drake, Kendrick or Nas, this album would've been a classic.
Nevertheless, much respect to Khaled on this one.
written by Georje Wilden