If DJ Khaled learned anything from his previous album it's that you always lead things with a hot single to get people interested in your product. Danja from Danjahandz Productions hit up Khaled with a super hot beat for "We Takin' Over," Akon sang a easily imitatable hook, and Khaled lined up an all-star list of guest rappers - Birdman, Lil Wayne, Fat Joe, Rick Ross and T.I. Not surprisingly the song "took over" pop radio and hip-hop stereos coast to coast in no time flat:
T.I.: "Started in Atlanta, then I spread out wit it
South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi
On to North Carolina, Phildelphia and Virginia
From down in Miami where it warm in the winter
On up to Minnesota where it storm in the winter
Jackson then Tallahassee, Memphis, Tenn. holla at me
Me in H-Town, Southside, Cloverland daddy
I'm the man out in Dallas, better ask Khaled
Kept me out in Cali with my eyes open barely
Blowin and spinnin, goin down Bennett
Drop six-fo', three-wheel then switch it
Red light stop, make it drop for the bitches
Got a glock fo'-fifth, blow your head off wit it
Anything you hear that I said, I meant it
King got the crown then sped off it wit it
Say you need bricks, I said I'd get it"
Akon: "If you want to, we can supply you
Got enough work, to feed the whole towwwn
They won't shoot you, unless you try to
Come around and try to stomp on our ground
Cause we takin overrrrrr! One city at a time"
For the producer who's name is eeriely reminiscent of WWE wrestler Great Khali, even pronounced in a manner where one is almost indistinguishable from the other, there are other similarities that may not be so readily apparent. Khali is not the most talented grappler to ever step into the squared circle - in fact to be perfectly honest he's completely AWFUL. WWE covers this up by putting him in the ring with other people who are much better that can make him look like he doesn't suck by bouncing off him like ping-pong balls. Khaled the DJ also has to have other people cover up for his deficiencies, since he doesn't produce most of his own beats and probably can't even if he wanted to. The album's second single "Brown Paper Bag" is ably handled by Cool & Dre as is "I'm From the Ghetto," the Bone Thugs track "The Originators" and the album's closer "New York" that links Jadakiss, Ja Rule and Fat Joe. If you pick up the Best Buy version they even do the bonus track "Choopers" that's the closer for THAT album. The Runners do "I'm So Hood" featuring T-Pain and Trick Daddy among others, and they too show up repeatedly throughout the album - linking with Bun B and Paul Wall on "Hit Them Up" and on the bonus track "The Streets" featuring Shareefa and Willie Northpole. Diaz Brothers, Steve Morales and Caine Beats all get props but the only two tracks Khaled actually does are the throwaway "Intro" and a slightly interesting song in "Before the Solution" but that's largely because Beanie Sigel is the guest rapper on it.
That's the other thing that DJ Khaled has in common with Great Khali - the more people you put with him, the less real work he actually has to do. Khaled can take credit for this album's success since it's under his name, but it's the guest producers and in particular the abundance of guest rappers who make this album LISTENNNable. It's pretty damn hard to go wrong on a song like "Brown Paper Bag" when you not only have a Cool & Dre beat but a list of the most popular rappers putting out records today supplying vocals including Young Jeezy and Juelz Santana:
Jeezy: "In the kitchen with the pots, yeah I work the glass
Hard on 'em, pimp, yeah I work 'em task
And when they came in, we unpacked 'em all
Broke 'em all down and unwrapped 'em all
Just two words nigga, duffle bag
Just know it so well, can't help but brag
Gold mouth for 10, mail man got 3
It's just yo' luck the rap game got me, hold up"
Santana: "Here we go again
Just spent a hundred of that brown paper bag money, all on Timbs
And the bad bitches all on him
Cause the cars that he drive are all foreign
The game is mine, I'm so far in
I'm speaking with an accent and just caught twin"
While DJ Khaled has definitely covered his tracks better than he did on "Listennn - The Album" it's still painfully obvious that he's a mediocre DJ with a highly exaggerated reputation. Like Clue or Whoo Kid, particularly early on in their careers, he has a tendency to run his mouth too much on AND over his tracks repeating his trademark phrases. The album would be a lot better if he'd just shut the hell up, and would be a lot more honest if it were billed "DJ Khaled Presents" instead of letting him take all the credit for all the time and effort put in by other people. Other than that though this album is good - hell it's even summer banger ride in your Jeep with it 'til October good. Just don't fool yourself into thinking that Khaled had anything to do with it other than putting the right people together in the right place at the right time.
Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10
Originally posted: June 19, 2007