When will DJ Khaled stop winning? Never! Don’t ever play yourself. The Snapchat King has dazzled again, this time in a major way with the release of his ninth studio album, Major Key. Expectations might have been mild until the track list dropped, then people began to wake up and realize Khaled was really coming with it.

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Khaled feeds off this. With Major Key, it feels like he had something to prove, and boy did he prove it. If there was any questions regarding whether the ‘Don of Anthems’ could live up to the hype that’s been surrounding him lately, those skeptics will be silenced once they run through Major Key once or twice. Let us tell you why.

It sounds like a mixtape.


DJ Khaled took it back to the garage with this one. The feeling of this album is so gritty and grimy but in an organized chaos kind of way. It’s like Khaled provided the platform for each artist to just come in, and say whatever they wanted to. Khaled is the cool older friend, with the dope crib, that you can just come to and wild out. The best example of this on Major Key is August Alsina to me. He has a comeback party on Khaled’s “Do You Mind”, which will inevitably be a big record. On paper “Do You Mind” looks like a commercial success, but on wax it sounds like a real gutter, classic R&B/rap collaboration. Placing August alongside Jeremih, Nicki, Chris Brown, Rick Ross and Future seems like it makes sense right? Like why not? You don’t know just how much sense it made, and just how mad scientific it is until you play the song in the midst of the rest of the album. A seamless banger, and a testament to Khaled’s ear for collaboration. This sounds like a mixtape. We know the budget wasn’t a mixtape budget, but Major Key gives that “let me bless you in the summer real quick” vibe that so many mixtapes have given in the past.

“Don’t Ever Play Yourself.”

Now, this does apply literally, like don’t ever play yourself. But, right now it’s in relation to the Jadakiss, Fabolous, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, Kent Jones collaboration. Wow. When Jadakiss says he’s top five, the world better listen, because his verse on “Don’t Ever Play Yourself”? Problems. How did Khaled think of this particular collaboration? It’s brilliant. This was certainly the kind of skill it would take for Khaled to live up to his growing status, and he delivered with sleepers like this. At this point, there’s a certain automatic call you have to make when putting an album together: Drake hook/verse, Future hook, song with female rapper (probably Nicki), song with R&B heavy weight (Chris Brown, Miguel, Jeremih etc) the list doesn’t go on too much longer. Khaled had all of these things, he would never play himself, but he also took a lot of new age chances on Major Key, and the vast majority of those chances paid off. Especially this one, placing Kent Jones on a song with these rap icons, and even having all of these particular rap icons on one song, brilliance. Kent’s verse is particularly a standout.

Didn’t put anyone on the song with Nas….you smart.

First off, anyone gets on that song with Nas and they get washed. Secondly, who thinks to call Nas for their album? Especially when he’s in the process of his own album. You don’t bother Esco, Khaled bothers Esco, Khaled gets what Khaled needs. My goodness, Nas washed himself on that song. Like, who are you fighting with homie? What a verse, what a moment for Hip Hop, there’s truly something special about Major Key, and Nas did everything he could to back that major statement up. Once again, a lot of artists featured on this album used it as a platform to get their rocks off, and address certain issues, and Nas was no different. The realism that he speaks on “Nas Album Done” probably has all the Hip Hoppers out there ready to cop his album. True Hip Hop. What’s even more fulfilling is seeing J. Cole follow up “Nas Album Done” with his own powerful words in “Jermaine’s Interlude”, knowing how big of a Nas fan he is. When you think of where Khaled is in his career right now, with the platform that he has, to be able to convey these types of messages to the masses via an incredible album is a major, major key, and he handled the responsibility of that well. Khaled could’ve said, “oh, Nas and J. Cole both have deep messages, let me put them on the song together”, but he gave each artist a separate platform, and that was genius. Furthermore, he didn’t put anyone on the song with Nas……you smart.

If we had to promote Major Key for Khaled, this is what we’d say.

“Are you looking for 2016 Hip Hop? Do you feel like 2016 Hip Hop is dead? Come take a walk with us on a journey to more success. DJ Khaled’s new album, Major Key is essential, don’t ever play yourself. A certified must listen! Bars, big names, big hooks, big anthems, your favorite rapper’s favorite rappers. Promise you, this isn’t the album you want to sleep on. There’s a Jadakiss verse on here that will turn your bald head to a dark caesar. There’s a lot of Future, you know that Future is for the youth. Oh, you like Kendrick Lamar? You super woke? Big Kendrick Lamar verse on there, don’t ever play yourself. Go out and get Major Key, major anthems, Khaled’s best work, you heard it here first. Cop Major Key (here).”

Some spare keys from Major Key 

  • Travis Scott and Lil Wayne make for a really dope collaboration. Travis pulled another new sound out of Wayne, someone who is constantly reinventing himself. “Tourist” is a super quotable record, and it’s always good to see Wayne and Khaled work together.
  • WHERE’S KANYE? He could’ve been on “Holy Key” or “Work For It”
  • “For Free” keeps getting better, it’s just one of those songs that grows on you, it’ll probably go platinum eventually.
  • Jadakiss may have the verse of the album.
  • Bryson Tiller didn’t fade away, he’s still here….and he can really rap.
  • Future is still Future, and he’s still pumping out hits, and you still have to call him for your project.
  • It would’ve been cool if Khaled got a Beyoncé song while he was on the Formation World Tour