DJ Khaled is fast-becoming more consistent than your favorite rapper. Beginning with his debut “solo” album, Listennn…the Album, in 2006, the part-time DJ, part-time artist, part-time label exec has released five albums, including We The Best Forever, which hit shelves this past Tuesday. In that five-year span, Khaled has become something of a larger than life hip-hop personality, and has had his hand in at least one anthemic hit record yearly. With We The Best Forever, the recent YMCMB signee shows not just that he has a lot of friends, but, more importantly, that he knows how to put them together to facilitate the crafting of undeniable bangers.
The album opens, fittingly, with No. 1 hit “I’m On One.” Since it’s release in May, the Drake-Rick Ross-Lil Wayne collaboration has established itself, with ease, as the song of the summer. And it’s frankly hard to imagine anything surpassing it as the most memorable song of 2011. Setting off WTBF with such a peak would seem to lend itself to disappointment as the album progresses, but what works about this project is that, though no record is quite on the “I’m On One” level, nothing over the next 11 tracks feels left behind or lacking.
“Legendary” is a bit of an unexpected uplifting R&B anthem, as Chris Brown, Keyshia Cole and Ne-Yo volley elegantly executed harmonies back and forth. So, too, does the singing stand out on “Sleep When I’m Gone,” as Cee-Lo’s crooning bridges together verses from Busta Rhymes and Game. Later, “Future” is a showcase of exactly that, as Ace Hood, Meek Mill, Big Sean, Wale and Vado spew venom on a five-and-a-half minute, chorus-less track, produced by Boi-1da, that will stir up arguments about who came out on top.
Just as it opened, the album finds a way to close appropriately, as the DJ Khaled-featuring-a-lot-of-rappers “Welcome To My Hood (Remix)” sums up the reach of this new age artist. Though the content of We The Best Forever is what we’ve come to expect from a DJ Khaled offering—grandiose odes to the grind and getting yours—that he understands how to create those better than most is what makes a DJ Khaled track, and album, worthwhile. —Adam Fleischer