Yet DJ Khaled sneaks in like Indiana Jones to deliver God Did, his thirteenth (thirteenth!) solo studio album. These last days of summer saw the transition from the blockbuster season’s high expectations to the following summer’s low expectations.
The newest studio album from the producer/executive/social media personality/professional yeller is consistent with his recent output of glossy, high-budget projects starring a slew of established stars and promising up-and-comers including Jay-Z, Drake, Eminem, and Future (Skillibeng, Latto, Nardo Wick).
God Did an album that constantly swings for the fences, going for viral moments, radio successes, and street credibility all at once, as seen by the album’s first single, the lackluster duet between Drake and Lil Baby that interpolates the Bee Gees’ Saturday Night Fever smash.
The highlights that have people talking include a lengthy verse from Jay-Z, a surprising and impressive performance by 21 Savage, and an utterly out-of-the-ordinary use of an ’80s sample.
Jay-Z would want us to know that he is wealthy and has helped to enrich many others.
Currently 52 years old, Jay-Z is worth over a billion dollars and enjoys a lavish lifestyle. The hip-hop community always takes notice whenever he enters the studio, even though he is not obligated to do so.
His 80-bar closing stanza on “God Did” is the lyrical equivalent of an NBA offense setting up for a superstar. Some of his lyrics, such as “How many millionaires can emerge from Hov crib? / I count three, myself, Ye, and Rih / Bron’s a Roc guy, so four, technically,” have already become online sensations.
In this poem, Jay deftly contrasts his background as a Brooklyn street hustler with the evolution of drug society. “Can you believe it, Ty, there’s cannabis in shops now?” he quips.
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Despite a few awkward lines—most notably, when he likens the success of Rihanna’s Fenty clothing brand to that of fentanyl—this is a lengthy verse that gives Jay enough opportunity to boast about his business acumen in his inimitable fashion. Also, “We corner boys with the corner office,” as he puts it.
Three years after its initial conception, a Juice WRLD collaboration finds release.
Without direct input from DJ Khaled, but with multiple allusions to him and his characteristic catchphrases, Juice WRLD’s “Another One” was initially previewed almost three years ago. However, the song has now been officially released under the name “Juice WRLD Did,” even though it was previously leaked.
Juice’s frequent producers, Nick Mira and DT, helped make this song stand out on God Did. It’s a fun tune that showcases the rapper’s talent for penning catchy hooks and his knack for sprinkling his rhymes with pop culture allusions.
Although “Juice WRLD Did” doesn’t fit perfectly with the rest of DJ Khaled’s record, he included it since Lil Bibby submitted it out of the blue. In any case, it’s a pleasure to listen to the work of a brilliant musician who was taken from us too soon.
Latto has, as always, managed to put her spin on old favorites with ease.
One of 2021‘s most promising new acts, Atlanta’s MC Latto has been riding high on the success of her 777 albums and several powerful guest appearances, including tracks by Megan Thee Stallion and Calvin Harris. On God Did and City Girls’ duet “Bills Paid,” she takes center stage.
It’s a very assured presentation as Latto lays out her strategy for interacting with suitors. Her rap goes something like, “He asked me what’s my horoscope, I answered, ‘A money sign.'” By reworking Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy” for her top-five smash “Big Energy,” Latto shows her ability to make a famous sample her own, and she does it again on “Bills Paid.”
DJ Khaled co-produced the song, which samples Mr. Cheeks’s “Lights, Camera, Action!” from 2001. The record was an overlooked club smash that sounded like the spiritual successor to the Bad Boy-style of high gloss songs from the late ’90s.
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Adding a string melody and flecks of funky guitar to the beat of “Bills Paid,” this track is a riot, solidifying Latto’s reputation as one of the greatest rappers in the business when it comes to remaking old-school hits.
Dr. Dre and Kanye West’s archives have been opened to the public.
Once upon a time, in 2019, Kanye shocked the rap world by revealing that he and Dr. Dre would be collaborating on the sequel to Jesus is King. While Kanye’s output was becoming more unpredictable, the thought of a collaboration between the two great producer-rappers was enticing.
DJ Khaled has now released a song from that period, “Use This Gospel (Remix),” which we never heard from the original recordings. Kanye and Eminem provide vocals to the single, while Dr. Dre and Timbaland handle production.
The production is classic Dr. Dre, with minimal yet ticking percussion and ominous low piano notes. It’s not nearly as good as the original, which is memorable for the much-hyped Clipse reunion and is quietly one of the finest late-career Kanye singles.
On the other hand, it’s entertaining to hear Eminem flip and swerve over a Dre rhythm like in the good old days.
In the introspective “Way Past Luck,” 21 Savage is permitted to delve deeply.
21 Savage is the only rapper who can rhyme over ominous, Wes Craven-inspired horror instrumentals. Freddy Krueger‘s razor glove is tailor-made for his deadpan delivery, acerbic wit, and propensity for concocting original threats.
But he has also shown an ability to tap into a different part of himself while performing on smooth soul samples throughout his career. I Am > I Was (2018‘s album) has some of his most substantial work to date, including “A Lot” and “Letter 2 My Momma;” on “Way Past Luck,” from God Did, he returns to this form.
Savage is in a thoughtful mood over a rhythm by DJ Khaled, StreetRunner, and Tarik Azzouz. Savage’s single verse on “Way Past Luck” is a freestyle rap about fatherhood, the dichotomy of being a famous Black man (“Police hate me, white fans show me love”), and the success of his brand of chilling Atlanta rap (“Heart inside the trenches, I can’t go pop / We make street records and they go pop”).
Although it lacks “A Lotprofoundness, “this song is worthy of being included on any 21 Savage album. The detractors of DJ Khaled often say that the songs on his albums aren’t good enough for the featured artists to put on their albums; however, “Way Past Luck” is an obvious exception to this rule.
The duo of Quavo and Takeoff does a terrific job with a very uncommon Eddie Murphy sample clearance.
Despite their various skills, the Migos guys aren’t precisely recognized for their comedy (Carpool Karaoke session excluded). Even if “Party” doesn’t follow the norms of quality music, it’s fun to listen to Quavo and Takeoff rhyme with their signature bombast over a rhythm that samples Eddie Murphy’s “Party All the Time” from 1985.
Murphy croons about his ravenous socialite lover over the trap rhythm as the two Atlanta MCs exchange lines in their characteristic triplet cadence.
Even though the references to a Dave Chappelle Rick James sketch, a Three 6 Mafia hit from 2006, and Tony Hawk’s skateboarding exploits sound almost as dated as the sample itself, it’s clear that Quavo and Takeoff, who recently formed a new duo called Unc & Phew amid long-standing rumors of bad blood with Offset, are having a good time here.
When Quavo and Takeoff release their album, they could find new life and incentive to keep the party going if they embrace campy fun as they do on this club hit.
Again, Khaled’s affinity for dancehall is on display.
DJ Khaled has utilized each of his 13 studio albums as an opportunity to introduce mainstream listeners to new reggae and dancehall artists. On “These Streets Know My Name,” he reunites with famous Jamaican artists like Buju Banton and Sizzla and a slew of new collaborators.
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Skilling, a 25-year-old up-and-comer, is featured on the single with established names in dancehall like Buju Banton, Sizzla, Bounty Killer, and Capleton. The youthful singer flies past the rhythm at breakneck speed, but Banton’s gruff, booming voice makes the song stand out.
DJ Khaled has a talent for identifying and capitalizing on musical trends, but his sincerity and charm shine through in his promotion of dancehall music. “These Streets Know My Name” is one of God Did’s strongest songs.