DJ Khaled‘s ninth studio LP, Major Key, is the biggest release of his career with a track list that includes most of hip-hop’s brightest stars. Not only is Drake, Future, and Jay-Z featured on the album’s two lead singles, but Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane and many more also make an appearance.
This album is a statement to the transformation Khaled has gone through in his career over the past six months. He signed to L.A Reid‘s Epic Records and even signed a management deal with Roc Nation. Khaled is now an A-List celebrity. How famous? He’s recently had multiple Good Morning America, Ellen Degeneres Show and Nightline appearances. So it wasn’t all that much of a secret when the new attention that Khaled started to get would culminate into a great record full of star-studded collaborations.
— DJ KHALED (@djkhaled) August 9, 2016
Not all of the records on Major Key are as memorable—although there are way more hits than misses on this LP.
Major Key opens in an epic fashion. The singles “I Got the Keys” and “For Free” lead the album. “I Got the Keys” features the first time Jay-Z and Future ever met on a released project. Hov is engaging giving out two verses with witty punch lines and references to Khaled’s everyday wisdom:
“I got a bag for lawyers, like, “F*ck your charges!/
Hop out the courtroom, like, “What charges?/
Big pimpin’ on your court steps/
Case y’all ain’t notice, I ain’t lost yet.”
Future delivers a catchy hook featured on a ton of DJ Khaled’s new merch. All in all, the track lives up to the hype that was set when Khaled announced the single. “For Free,” however, has surpassed earlier expectations for the record. Khaled calls upon the six god to deliver another hit in their long time partnership. Both of these tracks have done well on the Billboard top 100. “For Free is currently #13, while ” I Got the Keys” ranks in at #30. Meaning that there is no shortage of ears listening to the singles of this LP because they are played on radio stations all over the country.
The next three tracks on Major Key are a collection of perfect summer tracks. The record “Nas Album Done” features a tantalizing verse from the Queens bridge native:
“To all my ghost supporters, go support us/
Like a local black-owned grocery store/
‘Cause in the hood shit ain’t passed down through blood”
“Nas Album Done” has to be one of my favorite Nas tracks in years and it gets me excited for his next project.
Then there is “Holy Key.“ The Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar track is a roller coaster ride of emotions. Sean continues to impress me with his verses’ since the release of his third studio LP, Dark Sky Paradise. On “Holy Key” he might have exceeded my expectations. Sean’s flow on this record is aggressive and emotional at the same time. Big Sean rhymes about the state of racism in America and police brutality.
“Father help us, police doing target practice with real bodies/
Mommas in the streets, crying, standing over a still body”
Sean’s performance really overshadows Lamar’s verse, which is also stellar, but it just doesn’t have the same effect as the G.O.O.D Music signee’s performance. This Big Sean verse is another list of highlights that comes from the first part of Major Key.
“Jermaine’s Interlude” is another outstanding record on the LP. Featuring no one else other than J.Cole. This track, like many other records on Major Key, feels like a throw away track for whatever project the artist was working for on. For example the Travis Scott record “Tourist” and “Pick These Hoes Apart,” work in the same vain. Though Cole’s offering comes with some very vibrant production and a soulful verse from the Roc Nation artist.
“Tables do turn and labels do burn/
The second they ask you to sell your soul/
Don’t you do it, don’t you fold/
Say “F*ck that shit” and be bold/
Cause all them stories you told/
On records worth more than gold”
Khaled was really blessed by the collection of tracks he was able to compile with the group of artists that he did. Especially when some of them turn out as well a “Jermaine’s interlude.”
From there, Major Key turns into an album with multiple records that sound like they will be playing on a radio station near you soon. The A-List club of features on the tracks “Do You Mind” and “F**K Up The Club” almost feels like a We The Best staple at this point.
However, the most surprising track on this LP would have to be “Don’t Ever Play Yourself .” This track features some hip-hop royalty in Jadakiss, Busta Rhymes, and Fat Joe. New york rapper, Fabolous also makes an appearance. However it is the new We The Best signee, Kent Jones, who comes through with a really dope verse.
“F*ck a beat for a verse when I could do all three/
No pop artist but pop is what you rappers do call me/
A lot of washed out ni**as tryna find hope in/
I’m just tryna raise a son like my blinds’ open”
Jones is so captivating on this track, it will make you double take when you realize he is the cat on the radio with that “Don’t Mind ” song.
All in all, Major Key, turned out to be as big as Khaled proclaimed it to be. The LP contains a handful of tracks that will play on the airways for the remainder of the calendar year. While also catering to some the true fans of the hip-hop culture by showcasing some iconic acts.
You can listen to Major Key, on Apple Music here.
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