What is it, exactly, that DJ Khaled does? Well, let’s start with what he doesn’t do: He...
DJBooth Album Review
Depending on your feelings about Khaled that either makes him the Godfather of hip-hop, a man brilliant enough to orchestrate an entire mob, or more like a leech slowly sucking the life out of hip-hop to feed himself. It’d actually be more accurate to compare him to the coach of the U.S. Olympic basketball team. He’s not personally throwing down dunks, and it’s not exactly hard to win with Kobe, Lebron and D-Wade on your team, but he deserves credit for turning individual superstars into a true team. Just call him Coach Khaled.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way we can get onto more pressing business, namely Coach Khaled’s most recent foray into album-making, We Global. As you’d expect from a man of his stature, Global is nothing less than a who’s who of contemporary hip-hop with some up-and-coming street rappers thrown in for good measure, resulting in an album that’s at times undeniably banging, at other times musically malnourished.
Any student of recent hip-hop chemistry knows this simple formula: T-Pain only makes hits, Kanye only makes hits, and when their powers combine....they make Go Hard. Hard brings in Khaled’s favorite production team The Runners for a tightly coiled track that pulses with energy. With T-Pain on the track it’s no surprise Kanye goes with the autotune effect for his verses - a recent obsession of his – but he puts down the robot voice just long enough to drop some typically rewind-worthy wordplay (check out his President Bush line at the end). Shockingly I’m still not sick of T-Pain choruses, meaning if there was a Go Hard remix that took out Khaled’s screaming in the beginning I might even love this track. An even greater sign of Khaled’s growing power is I’m On, a Cool and Dre produced track that brings on none other than Nasty Nas. You heard me right. Nas, the legendary lyricist, the rapper who almost named his album N****er, signed up to work with Khaled, a man who’s own use of “n***er” is questionable at best. However it happened, Nas makes the most of his time on We Global, reminding the world that he can swagger with the best of ‘em when the time is right. In the end it’s simple: great artists make great tracks, and from Game tearing up Red Light to Rick Ross and Cham throwing down on Bullet, We Global fires some serious artillery. I’m just not sure how much credit Khaled should get for pulling the trigger.
Which means I’m also not sure how much of the blame Khaled should get. While We Global is a definite improvement over his sometimes infuriating last album, Khaled is still making some of the same mistakes. Final Warning is the prefect example of Khaled’s apparent inability to say he’s had enough, bringing on an astounding eight rappers for a track that while good at times feels like being stuck in a musical traffic jam by the end (especially after an atrocious Shawty Lo verse). Similarly the title track We Global brings on Fat Joe, Trey Songz and Ray J for the album’s attempt at something R&B-esque. First of all, why Ray J is still getting work is beyond me. Second, even if you dig Songz and Joe separately, that doesn’t mean they mix well. Listen, I like chocolate and I like mayonnaise, that doesn’t mean I should put them together. Unfortunately We Global has a few instances of musical chocolate mayonnaise, from She’s Fine, a track that surprisingly dusts off Sean Paul, to Go Ahead, a joint that inexplicably decides to extend Flo-Rida’s five minutes of fame another thirty seconds. In the end that means that if DJ Khaled is indeed a hip-hop coach than he’s put together a solid game plan on We Global, he just made some questionable substitutions and time-out calls.
You know I couldn’t leave without throwing down a little “We The Best!!!! Lisssseeennn!!!! We the Best!!!!!!!!!!” Hope you enjoyed it, Khaled’s got plenty more where that came from.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 09/17/08
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