DJ Khaled returns with the most star-studded album of his career with ‘Grateful.’ At nearly 90 minutes, it’s jam-packed with hits.
DJ Khaled has been dropping hits for years. Grateful arrives less than a year after his first no. 1 album, Major Key. True to its title, Khaled showcases his gratitude through nearly 90 minutes’ worth of hip-hop. More often than not, the DJ drops “another one” – another hot one that is!
“Shining” is the first star-studded event (easily trumping “(Intro) I’m So Grateful”), featuring Beyoncé and Jay-Z. “Shining” isn’t poetic or transcendent, but proves to be an enjoyable, turn-up record. Drake arrives on “To the Max,” contributing his own flex-fest. Like “Shining,” it’s energetic to the max. The best song thus far arrives with “Wild Thoughts,” which pairs Rihanna and Bryson Tiller with Khaled. Brilliantly, “Wild Thoughts” samples the 1999 Santana classic, “Maria, Maria.” Sexy to the nth degree, this is an instant gem without question.
“I’m the One” brings Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Wayne along for an infectious ride. It’s not particularly innovative, but incredibly catchy and easy on the ears. Travis Scott, who appeared on “On Everything,” stays onboard for “It’s Secured,” which also adds Nas. Once more, Scott secures the hook, while Nas gets to work on the verses. The production is anchored by a sick palette of hip-hop drums and respective effects.
“Nobody” taps Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj, who make a formidable duo. Brilliantly sampling “Nobody Knows,” performed by Pastor T.L. Barret & The Youth Choir, Khaled, Keys, and Minaj take the listeners to church. Chance the Rapper returns on “I Love You So Much,” which samples Marvin Sapp and the Jackson 5. It’s all over the place, but the exuberance and ambitiousness are much appreciated. “Don’t Quit,” featuring Travis Scott, Calvin Harris, and Jeremih, concludes disc one.
The second disc still features hits, but arguably, it’s not as thrilling as the first. Banger “I Can’t Even Lie” serves as a great refresher, tapping Future and Nicki Minaj (again). “Down for Life” expands the cast of characters, inviting Future, Rick Ross, and Travis Scott back, as well as welcoming PARTYNEXTDOOR and Kodak Black. “Major Bag Alert” brings along Migos for an overall successful, yet predictable joint. “Good Man” is better, featuring Pusha T and Jadakiss. Naturally, both are on autopilot. A sample of “Am I A Good Man” (Them Two), provides the fuel for the fire.
Fat Joe and Raekwon arrive for “Billy Ocean,” while Kodak Black, Gucci Mane, and Rick Ross land on “Pull A Caper.” Neither prove to be particularly elite cuts. “That Range Rover Came with Steps” gives the album it’s most fun song title, led by Future and further assisted by Yo Gotti. It could’ve appeared on the rapper’s recent FUTURE album. The same can be said by its follow up, “Iced Out My Arms,” featuring Future (again), alongside Migos, 21 Savage, and T.I.
Future overstays his welcome on “Whatever,” bringing Young Thug, Rick Ross, and 2 Chainz with him. As always, Young Thug is something else… Belly appears on the “Interlude” ahead of Mavado feature, “Unchanging Love.” “Asahd Talk (Thank You Asahd)” concludes Grateful, featuring Khaled’s son, Asahd.
All in all, Grateful is a fine album that is jam-packed with hits. DJ Khaled never struggles to secure the big names, but it seems as if he outdoes himself this time. The biggest issue with Grateful is its length. At 87 minutes, DJ Khaled is showing a little too much gratitude. Still, no listener should be unable to secure a summer jam on this one.
NOTE: If you need a little more analysis of DJ Khaled in your life, check out the slightly more robust version of this review, DJ Khaled, Grateful | Album Review, published on the Musical Hype, June 27, 2017.
Gems: “Shining,” “Wild Thoughts,” “I’m the One,” “It’s Secured,” “Nobody,” “I Can’t Even Lie” & “Good Man”
DJ Khaled • Grateful • Epic • Release: 6.23.17
Photo Credit: Epic