Even though he’s been a prominent figure in the hip-hop community for around a decade now, 2016 has definitely been DJ Khaled’s year in the mainstream.
Having brought his immense personality to Snapchat, he gained a massive following through the medium, which landed him interviews in several talk shows. His now famous catchphrases have played such a big part in his recent rise to notoriety that he even named this album after one of them: Major Key. (Also, in case you don’t know what DJ Khaled does, this attempts to explain it)
With this being his ninth studio album it is pretty evident that Khaled has a formula for making an album, one that he refuses to deviate from.
For those new to DJ Khaled’s style (or lack there of) when making an album, allow me to break it down for you. It’s a collection of middle of the road, glitzy, trendy instrumentals featuring the popular artists of the moment with a few OGs sprinkled around. There will always be two kinds of crew cuts, one featuring a slew of rappers turning in an average performance (sometimes you get an “All I do is Win” or an “I’m On One”) and another featuring around four R&B singers, this album’s being the overly long: “Do You Mind”.
Both sonically and thematically, there’s never any sort of cohesion as each instrumental accommodates the featured artists. This lack of cohesion is displayed perfectly on the track listing as the R&B ballad, “Do You Mind”, is followed by the “ain’t no love for these hoes” song “Pick There Hoes Apart”. Everyone featured on the album puts in performances that range from average to mediocre within their respective levels of skill.
Even though it’s a cookie cutter formula, it doesn’t mean the end product is particularly bad. Since, for the most part, everyone puts in an average performance and there are some talented artists featured, you get some good songs. For example, on “Nas Album Done”, Nas delivers what (at least I would consider to be) your average song from the Queens legend, but he’s so good that what is considered average for him is still a good song. The same applies for Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole’s appearances on the record.
It’s an overwhelmingly harmless, un-provocative record. This aspect of the album, unfortunately, makes the only truly awful moment stick out even more. Found on the eighth track, “Pick These Hoes Apart”, Kodak Black’s high-school level verse features the most offensively bad line in the whole album: “soon as I saw you, girl, my dick was standing tall”.
So while no song is particularly bad, there is nothing new or particularly exciting. Which is fine, as DJ Khaled has proven, time and time again, that this is the music that he intends to keep putting out. However, the fact that it’s a DJ Khaled album doesn’t excuse it from the judgments every other album gets.
“Major Key” still lacks any sort of cohesion, apart from how accessible it all is, and features no sort of exciting sound.
Similar Sounds: Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Pop Rap
Highlights: “I Got The Keys”, “Nas Album Done”, “Holy Key”
Lowlights: “Pick These Hoes Apart”, “Forgive Me Father”