Photo Credit: Sarah Bahbah
“WE THE BEST!” is the motto and on DJ Khaled’s Father Of Asahd, he is absolutely that. Boasting a roster of twenty-nine total featured artists combined on fifteen tracks is the most we’ve ever seen from the former Terror Squad producer. Marking his eleventh album release in thirteen years, Khaled does what he does best, mixing and matching different formulas like a mad scientist. Some of the biggest industry names bring there A game! Almost as if auditioning to qualify for an event that has already been decided (by Khaled that is). It’s evident that the “do everything” hype-man’s intent has not changed.
Spearheaded by multiple pre-released singles, such as last year’s energetic “Top Off” featuring Beyoncé, Future, and hubby Jay-Z. Queen Bey gives Jay-Z a run for his money as she spits a few bars of her own: “I’m the only lady here, still the realest n*gga in the room // I break the internet, top two // and I ain’t number two // My body, my ice, my cash, all real, I’m a triple threat.”
Pop prince Justin Bieber makes a cameo along with Chance the Rapper and Quavo on the commercial friendly but easily forgettable “No Brainer”. On the recently released “You Stay” Meek Mill, and Lil Baby hold their own in between smooth singing hooks for the ladies by latin crooner J Balvin and Jeremih, sampling Diddy’s “Senorita” off of his 1999 No Way Out album. Continuing with his magician-like sampling, R&B Sza absolutely shines on the head bopping “Just Us” borrowing the backdrop of Outkast’s 2000 hit “Ms. Jackson”. The sexy, “Freak N You” takes a nod from 90’s group Jodeci’s smash hit “Freak N You”, featuring Gunna and Lil Wayne, matching the Louisiana MC’s laid back syrup sipping style to perfection.
Rap heavy hitters Jeezy and Rick Ross show up on “Big Boy Talk” and create a nice collaboration, both trading bars as if they never left. Think Jeezy’s “Thug Motivation 101” type of vibes and Rick Ross’s “Hustlin” days. Elsewhere, “Jealous” featuring the star studded trio of Weezy, Chris Brown and Big Sean, which is an apparent ode to their haters, is put together well behind a light fun beat. Although, Khaled’s constant ranting throughout the song does get to be a bit much.
To be fair, the We The Best mogul debuted at the #2 spot in the country and whatever your opinion is, you know what they say, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” So can you blame the guy? Khaled has simply continued to do what he’s done for the past fifteen years now! For instance, on the standout base thumping track “Wish Wish”, Cardi B slays delivering an absolutely blistering verse as she rides the beat perfectly with Atlanta rapper 21 Savage: “They say my time is almost up, tell them b*tches Wish Wish // Put a ribbon on my p*ssy cause this sh*t is gifted // If they love me or they hate me, it don’t make no difference.”
Former incarcerated Jamaican reggae king Buju Banton makes a nice appearance on the flavorful “Holy Mountain” which gave fans a treat after long awaiting new music from the dancehall legend. The latest released single “Higher”, is also another standout track on Father of Asahd. Dedicated in remembrance of the late great rapper Nipsey Hussle who was gunned down earlier this year. Nipsey’s feature was accompanied by one of R&B ‘s finest, John Legend. The song is bittersweet, and an eerily fitting testament to the respected but controversial life of Hussle as noted in his powerful lyrics: “Looking back at my life make my heart race // Dancin’ with the devil till I saw her face // I was thinking chess moves but it was God’s grace.”
Following suit, on “Won’t Take My Soul” Nas reminds you why he’s still one of the best rap Dons to ever come out of Queensbridge. Front man Ceelo’s passionate raspy vocals compliment the gritty backdrop like a moth to a flame: “You can see the pain in my eyes // See the tracks in my tears // I won’t go back for no one, this world so cold // I cant ever write my code but you won’t ever take my soul.”
Finally, the awesomely produced “Thank You” featuring Detroit native Big Sean, who is notoriously underrated, may be the best lyrically on the entire LP. He spits daggers out of the gate with lines like: “Some emotions are too taxing to keep paying out // I know some peoples success is only the bite they take outta yours.” Following with, “On the phone with Colin Kaepernick, they not gon make it easy in this game man, they never will // That’s not just football bro, that’s every field.”
Ironically, it is when things slow down on a more reflective, deeper feel, that the album actually reaches its peak! Which is new twist for Khaled. Call it progression, or succession, but all in all Father Of Asahd is exactly what we expected. A well formulated orchestra, as only DJ Khaled could do. And we’ll take another one!
Written by: DeShonna Watson