First things first before I even introduce myself I want you to know this album review will not be some politically correct review. I don’t know the original names and songs for all the samples and I don’t even like Meg Thee Stallion, but I think she contributed her best piece of work on this project... I’ll touch on that more later though. My name is Ranaea, I live on Hip Hop, I survive off of music and good music at that. If you’re here to find the underlying meaning of track 3 and why so and so said this or that you might be in the wrong place but like most Hip Hop heads we all just wanna enjoy, interpret, and share with our homies that’s what brings us all together.
DJ Khaled, dropped off his album ‘ Khaled Khaled’ at midnight on April 30th 2021, for me I forgot he was even due for a release and had to glance back at songs like ‘Greece’ and ‘Popstar’, to remember they were still relatively new. Although they have a Drake, feature they’re my least favorite songs so I won’t discuss them but they did serve their purpose. Khaled, had very little “hype” to this album apart from the last week with social media appearances claiming its 98% done, the surprise visit from Kanye West, and his core friends and artists sharing his announcement. Like most when I hear of a DJ Khaled, album I don’t get excited like it’s Cole or Kendrick, but based on his previous album ‘Father of Asahd’ and others I knew that I would most likely find some songs I’d bump but what I didn’t know is just how much I would enjoy this album.
The first song titled ‘THANKFUL ft Lil Wayne and Jermih, it took me a few seconds of listening and then I knew I had to tune in a little bit harder than I thought I would. A lot of Hip Hop fans are on the gates with Wayne, given his stance during the 2020 election and some don’t even know the excellence Jermih, brings when he hops on a track so, if you haven’t check out his previous work! Nevertheless the song opens up with what I know as the melody for ‘Heart of the city’ by Jay Z, it’s on the tip of my tongue where the original came from but as promised I don’t pretend to know samples. Khaled, recruited and created a track that sets the parameter for which this album is based on. It’s a powerful and joyful feel throughout and Wayne, with few words delivered a fitting verse to cap it off “be proud.”
‘EVERY CHANCE I GET’ starts like every Tay Keith beat, and STILL it goes hard. For some reason when I listen to it, it immediately reminds me of Baby Keem ‘Extra’ so it’s as if I heard it before and maybe that’s why it isn’t one of the songs I enjoyed that much but Khaled, is a business man and he managed to get two hot artist on the same song Lil Baby, who is having an amazing run in music and Lil Durk, whose been showing his skills in the face of losing one of his longtime friends King Von.
Cardi B, stepped out and gave us ‘’ BIG PAPER’. She comes in hot with the flow and crisp New York style talk shit and not care attitude and I respect it! She’s been dropping a lot of music and although I haven’t been a fan personally this song was on par for me. Again not a song I’ll be bumping on my own accord but if I throw it in a playlist I’ll bop it just as she said “playlist favorite.”
Deyyyyy Know! Track 4 we going crazzyyyy, off the rip I’m getting that instant hood classic Shawty Lo, ‘Dey Know’ vibe and what a vibe it is. There’s also this island feel that gives it just the kick the song needs to separate itself. H.E.R and Migos, are at the forefront on this one. We all know the past few years H.E.R, has been having musically and dropping consistent quality vocals. I believe she got an Oscar for her song ‘Fight For You’ for the movie Judas and the Black Messiah. We all know Migos, as individuals are all are on different paths in their life romantically but they’re slated to drop an album this year. I’m not a big fan but I do bump some of their songs. This track gives you the bop you need to drive the streets and feel good!
The vibe goes straight into a ‘I DID IT’ Ft Post Malone and Meg Thee Stallion. Now like I said previously I’m not a Meg fan. My wife bumps her like she’s the greatest of all time. I tried to listen to her last album on a plane ride and couldn’t find one song that made me want to listen again. I think she has an amazing rap voice if she would just find the bars to go with it.. “why you so worried bout what I be doing counting my money ain’t making you rich” that line violates everyone whose been in her mentions and/or having an opinion even myself. She really used her verse time to pack a punch! Rolling from that to Lil Baby’s, verse they kept the hot potato style of fun and lyricism. Da Baby, made an appearance and I also enjoyed his verse nothing too fancy, not too long just some quick bars and a drop off. Posty, aka Post Malone, has been relatively quiet but I think it’s safe to say he can deliver a hook.
At this point I realize I’ve hit a part of the album that I’m really enjoying. Me being the romantic that I am in my head loved this JB track. ‘LET IT GO’ ft 21 Savage, which is a weird combo at first glance but mannnn did it pull through. Justin, has been busy with his album drop and some extra songs so I guess being in love really gets the creative juices flowing. I was thoroughly impressed with 21’s verse but I think the hook and JB’s vocals stole the show for me. It’s as if this song was presented just for me and that’s how I honestly feel. Anyone whose ever had someone can rock with this one.
‘BODY IN MOTION’, ft Bryson Tiller, Lil, Baby, and Roddy Rich. Not much for me to say I don’t dislike it but it’s not a favorite. It’s a good vibe and if it played on its own I’d let it ride.
Weirdly I feel the same about track 8. ‘THIS IS MY YEAR’ maybe it’s gotta grow on me some more. This is a star studded track with almost everyone I love! A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Big Sean, Rick Ross (the almost), and Puffy. I can hear some old school Diddy, adlibs and I loved that for the nostalgia. He came in hot and heavy with a message at the end one that we’ve all heard before during the Notorious days and man did he speak that from his soul.
Now if you were around for the Nas and Jay Z, beef back in the day (I barely was but in my mind I was there) never did you ever think that you would get a song with the two on the same track. Two legends, two New York, legends coming through with wise words and a short appearance from Beyoncé. This is far from the ‘Ether and Takeover’ days and it was a track that stands alone in terms of letting the OGs do their thang. James Fauntleroy, appeared for the hook. I don’t know him too well but I’ve seen his name on quite a few tracks over the years.
I just watched ‘Friends With Benefits’ with JT for the 100th time and was thinking “damn when he gonna drop some music?” So with that being said I like to think I’m the reason we got this song ‘JUST BE’ ft Justin Timberlake, this is another favorite for me. It’s got that joyful and be greatful feel. It’s powerful and It transitioned nicely from the melody of the previous track. If anyone has been having a tough year or tough time this song is for you! I won’t spoil it just give it a spin.
The vibe is still just right and chill with the next track ‘I CAN HAVE IT ALL ’ with another great sample. One I first heard on Beanie Sigel’s, ‘I Can Feel It In The Air’ - classic, which is crazy because I was just listening to it this morning! Take a minute to think about how much homage is being paid to a golden era of Hip Hop, with the new era... and then think if we get to a time where songs like this aren’t sampled. Let that sink in....H.E.R, lends her amazing vocals to support the verse by Meek Mill, I’ve always been a Meek fan I just could never get down with the Drake, beef but Meek Mill, can rap and he showcased that here the verse was solid and he’s due to drop something soon as well.
The album wraps up with ‘WHERE YOU COME FROM’ and its got the nostalgia of Khaled’s, last album and he invited Buju Banton, back to deliver anotha one! Straight island vibes but something you can bump hard. Buju, has been showing up on a lot of artists songs and delivering a punch that makes it all that much better!
Overall out of 14 songs I’ve downloaded 8 and that’s if I don’t download the 3 other songs that I can just let play if it came on. Now while we’re awaiting the release of Kendrick, Cole, and Drake, I won’t say this is the album of the year but this album is high on the list because of the homage that’s been paid, because of the content, the star power, it wasn’t gassed. The artist came out and held their own and Khaled, let them. Be sure to let me know what you think via my insta @lil_Naea and my podcast Instagram @smallvictoriesandsidenotes_pod