Release Date: Jun 23, 2017
Record label: Epic
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock, Contemporary R&B, Hardcore Rap, Pop-Rap, Contemporary Rap
2017 is quickly shaping to be the “Year of the Dads” Whether it’s the boisterous Lavar Ball using his gift of gab to stiff-arm his son’s detractors, or it's JAY-Z strengthening his indomitable empire with his new set of twins, one dad currently has everyone in Hip Hop beat. The lovefest between DJ Khaled and his son Asahd has been a sight to see so far this year. Not only did he have his proverbial Simba moment at Hot 97’s Summer Jam when he was hoisted up in the air in front of 50,000 people, but the youngster is dubbed executive producer for his pops' 10th album Grateful.
These days, Khaled Mohamed Khaled, the 41-year-old producer better known as DJ Khaled, is so much more than a musician. You’re just as likely to see a Snapchat video of Khaled riding a Jet Ski or a commercial of him promoting Ciroc as you are to hear one of his songs. So, despite its whopping 87-minute runtime and packed guest list -- which includes Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Justin Bieber, Drake, and Rihanna, just to name a few -- Khaled’s 10th album, Grateful, feels like something of an afterthought.
Entrepreneur, Snapchat king, possessor of life's "major keys" - there are so many strings to DJ Khaled's bow that you might be forgiven for overlooking the fact that he also makes hit records. But making hit records is what the super-producer has done since 2006, and Khaled certainly hasn't skimped on length with his latest opus: 23 tracks can be found over 90 minutes on an album which, rather bizarrely, was executive produced by his eight-month-old son Asahd. It may be an honorary title, but Asahd's birth date (October 23) is the sole reason behind 'Grateful''s massive tracklist, which reads like a who's who of rap, hip-hop and R&B.
A ccording to producer and Snapchat obsessive DJ Khaled, Grateful was executive produced by his eight-month-old son, Asahd. To be fair, he's done quite a good job; the album features a ludicrous roll call of guests - Nicki Minaj, Drake, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Rihanna - across a Spotify playlist-worthy 23 tracks. Highlights include summer anthem Wild Thoughts (Rihanna luxuriating over Santana's Maria Maria), Beyoncé and Jay Z's breezy and boastful Shining, and the low-slung Calvin Harris collaboration Don't Quit.
Grateful is distinguishable from the nine previous DJ Khaled albums by its cover alone -- a regal portrait of platinum fraternal shepherd, self-hype man, and producer Khaled beside son Asahd and a young tiger. Bestowed with an executive production credit, Asahd is present in more than a visual sense. On the "Sesame Street visits a black church" number "I Love You So Much," Khaled and Chance the Rapper exalt their kids, with the former in endearingly effusive overdrive, beaming "You're an icon, you're a legend" and, motivated perhaps by witnessing Asahd devour some strained carrots, "the greatest that ever did it.
In an era when artists look to maximize on the way streaming affects the charts, lengthy albums seem to be the norm -- and DJ Khaled delivers just that with the tiring 22-track listening experience of new album Grateful. The record was intended to include Drake's "To the Max," making it 23 tracks, but it's nowhere to be found on Canadian streams. While the project is not nearly as inspiring as his previous release Major Key, it is more ambitious. Khaled curates some of hip-hop and R&B's greatest talents here, facilitating unconventional collaborations like Pusha T and Jadakiss, or Nas and Travis Scott.
DJ Khaled's tenth studio album is a collection of hits and misses. It's like eating a bag of Revels. One minute you're enjoying Maltesers, Galaxy Counters and even chocolates with toffee centres, but the next you're sticking your tongue out in disgust having picked up a coffee creme. There's no questioning Khaled's ear when it comes to making hits, the problem however is that he doesn't know trim the fat when it comes to an album.