Record executive, producer, meme, and posse cut legend; DJ Khaled is back with another album that perfectly emboldens the idea that nepotism may sometimes lead down a path with us questioning why. His newest album, Khaled Khaled, is a continuation in a down spiral full of laziness and overly poor engineering. DJ Khaled has always been one to deliver many solid track on the albums he’s dropped, but the closer we got to his next step in life the easier it was to pinpoint the laziness in almost every aspect of the album; however that isn’t to discredit some of the solid cuts within each album prior. However, this new album, from DJ Khaled, has barely anything of note to highlight; from the poor engineering to the influx of questionable choices, lazy deliveries, and more, there is a lot that makes it one of the worst projects of the year and his worst to project to date.
Khaled Khaled has production that carries a lot of keen details that makes them unique, but with some features taking the easy way out, it makes some of the tracks almost unplayable upon replay. “Big Paper” with Cardi B, has some key moments where it keeps a solid rhythm and momentum, but the chorus is lazily written and mirrors some of the weak and stagnant – like delivery of the choruses of older NY Hip-Hop, it doesn’t have the nuance. It’s this ever-growing problem with Khaled, as well. He knows how to orchestrate; and how to deliver, but going through the album feels more like a haphazard chore you don’t really want to do, especially as a fan. Like Cardi B, the amount of current A-List/B-List artists is there in abundance, and yet, there is no clear direction, while lacking the feel of an overall event.
It’s sad because we know how easy it is for DJ Khaled to grab the hottest rappers and singers and make anthems on top of anthems from various sonic angles, like the powerhouse and melodic “No New Friend,” but that isn’t the case here. When Khaled Khaled was announced earlier this week, the mind wandered ever so slightly in different directions, especially because the first track almost unequivocally represents the kind of quality we’d be receiving. And it’s unfortunate because prior to there was this constant thought lingering about the quality of the music when the tracklist was fully revealed. A lot of the features made it look like it could be a bunch of bonafide hits and sadly, only a few hit that stride. These tracks, like “Every Chance I Get,” and “Popstar,” hit that landing and edge out the very poor mixing, making that a clear afterthought.
With themes of grandeur and love, amongst other basicness, there are some questionable moments that leave you rolling your eyes. For example, the track “Body In Motion” has Lil Baby and Roddy Rich rapping about their respective partners. There are lines about power dynamics in the relationship in both, but as Roddy Rich points out in his verse, he bought his girl plastic implants, as well creating an analogy about getting a deep-throat blow job is like an ostrich in a lobster… which, um, okay. However, Lil Baby is less dirty and weird as he reflects on the importance of appearance, but even then, he tonally brings a shallow appeal. So when it all mixes and closes on an inspirational speech by Khaled, that negates half the things they said… then it really just feels hypocritically cretinous. To add fuel to that fire, we are given the typical questionable Rick Ross line, “straight drop dead, Len Bias,” which just plays on a tragedy oh so poorly.
However, there are some other highlights, but what starts great then slowly turns into slight mediocrity from the featured artist that further shows the poor mixing job. There is “Sorry Not Sorry,” with Nas, Jay-Z, and underrated singer James Faultenroy. The track has a stellar instrumental, a fluid and quality verse by Nas, great vocal performance from Faultenroy, and then Jay-Z hits you with a verse about the discrepancies and hate he gets for being rich, or easily put – most Jay-Z verses since 2010.
Another highlight comes from the two appearances of the MVP, H.E.R, who delivers these two eccentric and unique vocal performances, less akin to what we’ve gotten on the whole from her music. In a switch from R&B complexities, she goes on to hype up the crowd with both “We Going Crazy” and “I Can Have It All.” Unfortunately the latter has a weak and poor verse from Meek Mill and the former gives us 30 seconds of 2015 Migos and it works amazingly here to boost the overall hype, the problem is, for lack of a better term, under usage of Migos.
Khaled Khaled is a continuous descension into more mediocrity for the producer who once turned out hit after hit after hit. There is very little merit to take out of this and honestly feels too much of a chore to get to, especially if you care for the technical aspects of the music. DJ Khaled brings a lot of vibrant instrumentals, but the rough patches are just so hard to get through.