Author: Eugene Robinson
On May 17th at midnight, Hip-hop’s biggest cheerleader, DJ Khaled released his long-awaited album - “Father of Asahd.” Although Khaled is a great hype man, he is even more exceptional at bringing in popular artists to make his track pop. He featured many big names on his songs such as Cardi B, 21 Savage, Lil Baby, John Legend, Big Sean, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and the late Nipsey Hussle to name some.
All of these tracks compliment the artists’ style in different ways. Every artist brought their A-game, and it showed in every song on the album. To start, the song “Holy Mountain,” Khaled added his own hip-hop twist to a reggae beat with the artists 070 Shake, Mavado, Sizzla & Buju Banton.
Khaled even collaborated with another producer, Tay Keith, on the song “Wish Wish” with Cardi B and 21 Savage. This song is the classic trap type beat and both artists going off in the process. Tay Keith was the perfect producer to create a beat for these two artists. This song provides the trap banger that the people want and would have missed if not added.
The track “Jealous” features a creative trio with the artists Big Sean, Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown. This song is all about being jealous of a couple being together. “Girl, they just jealous, jealous, jealous / Don't want us together, 'gether, 'gether.” This song is a great summer vibe to listen to with your significant other and laugh about people who hate on your relationship. With C Breezy’s melodic and catchy chorus, Weezy’s auto-tune sing-songy flow, and Sean Don’s punchlines, this song is bound to be in the Top 100.
The album continues with the track named “Just Us” featuring SZA Khaled samples the iconic OutKast song “Mrs. Jackson” and SZA does a great job of expressing herself goes through many complex musical changes. The song is a vibe that you can chill to and bob your head with your special someone. Another amazing collab, of many, on the album.
In the next song, “You Stay,” the group of artists would not typically be seen on the same song but Khaled made it work. This song features Jeremih, J Balvin, Meek Mill, and Lil Baby. The intro to start the song is a sample from India’s song “No Me Conviene.” with her singing about a perspective of a woman in relationships that deal with the pain and anger associated with betrayal and unfaithfulness. For the rest of the song, Jeremih, J Balvin, Meek Mill, and Lil Baby all question why women stay in relationships they are not happy in. “Why, oh why? / Do you ride, do you stick by his side / If he makes you cry every night?”
Continuing with the next song “Celebrate” featuring Post Malone and Travis Scott is quite the interesting duo to pick on a track together, but they showed out. Although this song is the first collab between both artists, they proved their two different styles of rap can create a hit song as well. As Khaled says at the end of this song, “As we continue to celebrate / Celebrate life / It's always love.”
A song that does belong and could be seen as a tribute is the song “Higher” with John Legend and the late rapper Nipsey Hussle. This might be Hussle’s last guest verse on a song and even seems to have written his own eulogy as well as looking back on his dad’s humble journey from Africa to Los Angeles. Khaled is not heard as much on this song may be for the reason that the lyrics need to be heard with minimal unnecessary interruptions so listeners can soak in the full message. The music video to this song was filmed a few days before Hussle passed away. It is a very touching and heartwarming tribute and deserves to do amazing numbers.
As the album goes on, the next song featuring CeeLo Green and hip-hop legend Nas perform the song “Won’t Take My Soul.” This song is explaining about the sadness of their lives and Nas goes into depth about what hit him the most, such as the death of Selena and throws a shot at her killer - Yolanda Saldívar. “Pray for the day I bust a nina on that bitch who shot Selena.” Nas also speaks on not being able to trust anybody and missing his friends in the second verse. “Damn, I wish all my dawgs was here”.
Meek Mill and Lil Baby were also featured on the track “Weather the Storm” Meek melodically raps about his recent struggles and his come up into the rap game. “I went to war with the system, to give my son toys on Christmas...I know you see me on top of my game, ain't see me declining.” Baby goes back to roots revisiting his “Street Gospel/Harder Than Hard” days. All around, this is a killer combo to knock out Streetrunner’s production.
Former rivals, Jeezy and Rick Ross, come together in the next track - “Big Boy Talk.” Fans of either artist would know that they had major beef in the 2010s. Since then have fixed their relationship and have collaborated on tracks such as "War Ready" and "Like Them." Both artists show their witty humor in the one-liners. Ross says “You niggas headline the Fyre Festivals.”
Beyoncé and Jay-Z also made an appearance with Future in the song “Top Off”, that Khaled previously released on March as well. This trio also dropped a song on his last studio album, “Grateful.” During this song, Bey and Jay tackle the issue of crime and punishment - specifically Meek Mills imprisonment, his Maybach, his not being able to “wheelie in this free world” without getting jailed.
DJ Khaled got another producer by the name of Joe Zarrillo for the song “Freak N You” featuring Lil Wayne and Gunna. This is another combo of artists that have not been seen but work well with each other. The song that is sampled is Jodeci's "Freek'n You," which peaked at No. 14 on the Hot 100 in 1995. Both seemed to not put in much effort into this song. They both threw in some lazy bars in and could have been better overall. Maybe another feature or different could have made this beat pop more such as Justin Bieber or Drake.
Speaking of Bieber, he appears in the song “No Brainer” along with Chance the Rapper and Quavo which was released last summer appeared on this album. This song caught lots of attention and peaked to No. 5 on the Hot 100. Khaled got this trio back together after the hit 2017 song that sparked “I’m the One” and made, yet again, another summer bop to add to the album
Big Sean shows out in his solo track “Thank You” speaking on his past struggles and proving that he belongs with the best of them. Sean shows his cleverness throughout this whole song and does prove that he belongs with the best of them. The punchlines hit hard and he namedrops “Kill Bill”, “90210” and “Wu-Tang Clan” during his three-minute masterpiece. He even namedrops his ex Ariana Grande rapping “Plus I gotta thank my exes on some "thank u, next" shit/ And all the old times that gave me new perspectives.” With a new album on the way, the Sean Don is making sure he is not being forgotten about - simply a wake- up call to his fan and haters.
To close his 11th studio album, Khaled gets Buju Banton one last time for the track, “Holy Ground.” Banton speaks on keeping strength and marching through the oppression. Essentially telling the listening - no matter what life throws at you, you can get through it.
Overall, this album was a tremendous work of art - despite the few blunders. He brought together some of the hottest artists out and assembled them to hold the summer down once again. I will be playing this album all summer because it gives off the positive vibes everyone searches for.
We thank you, DJ Khaled.