Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: Dirty South, DJ Khaled, hip-hop, John Legend, Nas, rap, Rick Ross, The Runners, Young Jeezy
PREVIEW: VISIT DJ Khaled’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 11/20 Watts
Who exactly is DJ Khaled? It’s a question that perceptive music fans have wrestled with since his mainstream debut back in 2006. Khaled is not a DJ in the traditional sense of the word, he is not a producer and he is definitely not a rapper. His role on his fourth effort, Victory, is essentially the same as it has been for his previous albums. He simply screams and shouts over the various tracks. For the casual listener not familiar with hip-hop, Victory will surely not rest nicely on the ears– with music made for car subwoofers, rather than cocktail parties.
Khaled sticks to the same formula he has since 2006, compiling a diverse group of rappers over a multitude of instrumentals. The Runners, who have been working with Khaled for quite some time, handle most of the tracks, including lead single “Fed Up.” Their production technique defines the sound of Victory with stuttering southern drums and sharp synthesizers. “Fed Up” features relatively weak verses from Young Jeezy and Rick Ross, and some lines from Drake that fail to really fit the style of the song. Usher’s street-preaching chorus is also a bit laughable considering the relative comfort level of his career.
Lyrically, this album engulfs itself in boisterous, arrogant verses from a handful of relevant, yet only mildly talented rappers. Ross is given way too many guest spots, and Jeezy simply employs the same style he has since 2005. “On My Way” features a whopping ten artists, most of whom are horrid performers most listeners have probably never heard of,
The only thing that makes this album even worth a listen is the Nas and John Legend featured title track, “Victory.” Over a dark piano, Nas arrives with his trademark rasp, again showing why, even in 2010, how he’s still among the game’s elite. With lines like, “I’m too impatient to pray, too much patience for stress” it’s clear that Nas still has it.
Overall, DJ Khaled’s Victory feels like a repeated attempt to catalyze a formula. Khaled has four albums under his belt, relative commercial success, and no one really knows exactly what he does. Throwing artists over a punchy beat does not equate to music. It translates to business. It’s indicative of a strategy and sentiment in modern hip-hop that is frankly getting stale.
– Gregory Fitton