Can We All Agree that DJ Khaled is the Best Human Being in all of Hip-Hop? » VSB

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Can We All Agree that DJ Khaled is the Best Human Being in all of Hip-Hop?

Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

 

It’s been established that I’m a Super Saiyan-level hater (h/t Panama), especially when it comes to contemporary mainstream hip-hop.

Let’s keep it a buck, though – there’s a lot to hate on in hip-hop right now: We have a XXL Freshman Issue with 10 rappers whose combined bars couldn’t get a cell signal from a rooftop in Manhattan. We have the presumed “queen” of hip-hop taking the Mother Superior of Ls in a battle by insisting that sales trump verses. I’d rather hear just about anyone else spit over the best beat of the year to date other than the dude who actually owns it. And we have young niggas literally (literally, literally) letting themselves be hurled into metal gates during concert performances. I could go on.

But if there’s one entity in the genre who should be completely impervious to critique or admonition, it’s Khaled Mohamed Khaled, otherwise known as DJ Khaled. It matters not if you’re young enough to think Lil’ Boat’s Teenage Emotions album is the Illmatic of our time or if you’re that dusty backpacker who can name the mixer of track 13 on Kool G Rap’s second album – if you love hip-hop, you should automatically love Khaled.

Though he’s been involved in the industry since the late 1990s, Khaled’s profile started rising near the end of the last decade when an ever-increasing number of mainstream rap stars started appearing on his compilation albums. Dude has an even deeper Rolodex than The Game; each of you reading this has had at least one member of your Top Five pop up on a Khaled track.

I didn’t really catch wind of Khaled until his 2012 album, Kiss the Ring. I mostly hated on him for that risible album cover (same with the cover of 2013’s Suffering from Success), but that album’s “Hip-Hop”, featuring Scarface and Nas, was one of my year’s favorite cuts.

A half-decade later, I have nothing bad to say about DJ Khaled. If any one grown man brings me a steady stream of joy, it’s him. If I wake up in the morning wanting to drown a bag of kittens because I have a crick in my neck from sleeping funny, I just think “WWKD?” and I’m once again a ray of fucking sunshine. All of this is probably why I’m very excited to jump into his new album, Grateful, in a way that I seldom am about any artist in 2017.

Here’s why DJ Khaled has our sorry asses only aspiring to his degree of awesomeness:

The Music: I’ll admit that Khaled’s oeuvre is loaded with filler from marginally talented artists that my stuck-in-the-90’s ass hates on as a matter of routine, which is why it took me a while to give his stuff a serious listen. But just about each of his 10 albums contains something, or someone, for us old heads. For example, “Don’t Ever Play Yourself” from his Major Key album evokes the New York posse cuts of yore like “Banned from TV” and “Flipmode Squad Meets Def Squad.” Plus, Khaled has a borderline Rick Ross-esque ear for beats that even makes tracks with Ace Hood listenable.  

I realize that Khaled wouldn’t be KHALED if his whole album was full of Jadakiss and Scarface features (I’m pretty sure he owes Drake his next, unborn child for his successes). But dude is on the wrong side of 40, and I get the impression that he loves that real hip-hop shit in his nether regions. That he can, in one album, connect with the Jadens (and Braidens and Kaidens) of Menlo Park, Calif. as well as outer-borough New York niggas is a testament to his reach. Hell, he can even get away with doing what we wanted to murder DJ Clue for in the 1990s: yelling his name over every goddamn track.  

Social media wins: Not one rapper has as engaging a social media presence as DJ Khaled. His Instagram and Snapchat feeds are wildly popular because they’re updated extremely frequently and showcase him doing wildly disparate shit, from quotidian mundanity to hobnobbing with every manner of celebrity.  

When he got lost at sea on his jet ski at night in the end of 2015, Khaled Snapchatted the whole affair while maintaining an unrelenting optimism in the face of what would’ve had the jet ski rental company charging me extra for a soiled seat. Watching the whole Snapchat story, you don’t think, “Oh, I wish this stupid fat rich bastard would’ve made a whole shark family’s day.” You think, “Awe, I’m really glad Khaled made it out safe! Bless up!” You might’ve even thought, “Damn, I wish I was out there in the dark with Khaled. I would’ve brought Coronas and snacks!” He’s sort of the anti-Kanye West in this way.   

His physical appearance: Khaled’s portly figure – which includes a Tony-Soprano-in-season-6 belly that he has no compunction about displaying to the world – gives him that this-celebrity-is-all-of-us quality that someone like the newly-chiseled Drake lacks. And we all have an affinity for avuncular, rotund dudes who look like they’ll sneak us that extra slice of pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving that our parents don’t want us to have. 

His son: Ever since Asahd Khaled blessed the world with his arrival last October (captured on Snapchat, of course), little man has been a mainstay in his father’s world. Any rap dude can pull together matching outfits, executive producer credits and an album cover, but Asahd’s omnipresence in his dad’s social media feeds and as a topic in interviews indicates that Khaled is an active parent despite his hyper-busy schedule.

Chris Rock once said that a nigga shouldn’t be celebrated for taking care of his kids, but I’m not gonna front like hip-hop is a genre that routinely and openly celebrates hands-on fatherhood. I also won’t front: whatever the male equivalent to a biological clock is pops off in me from time to time and makes me really moved by seeing Khaled dote on his son – before I remember that actually I love my own money and come back down to Earth.

Straight positivity: Hip-hop, on a genetic level, thrives off of war, competition and general negativity. Though much of his music reflects that, Khaled himself possesses a totally bearable lightness of being that resonates in everything he does and says. He warns against the anonymous “They” but refuses to take sides in rap beef and always seems to stop short of attacking his known opponents. He keeps with the times – doing away with his original sobriquet “Arab Attack” following the September 11 attacks and no longer saying “nigga” like he did in his early records.

He’s always dropping inspirational (if sometimes trite) quotes and his reflection on his success doesn’t resemble the usual tired rodomontade we hear from most rappers, but often involves naked gratitude. If you hate Khaled, you probably also hate puppies, sunshine and Harold’s Chicken. And you should maybe check your pulse to see if you’re not the walking fucking undead. Is there a better way to kick off summer ’17 than being Grateful about some shit? Methinks not.

Dustin Seibert

Dustin J. Seibert lifts heavy weights and plays all his video games on hard mode to find peace. He has a better ear for hip-hop than anyone else you know. He writes like the English language is going outta style because the steaks in his freezer are dependent on it.

  • I don’t love Kahled but I admit he is definitely likable. I can survive with him being a hip-hop statesman.

  • Mama_Bee

    I decided to give this album a try while studying for a Macroeconomics exam. ::fast forward:: booking baecations and girl trips. The opening track was so full of summer rays and cocktails and all the feels, I was like ehhhh this macro can wait. Also it’s boring and really…really…difficult. The macro, not Khaled.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      This album/and the covers make me want to live my best life and dirty wine on a capable Jamaican man ?????

      • Mama_Bee

        I was like what do i need to change about my life in order to justify holding my son and a baby lion on a beach…

      • I must protest.

        The wine is inherently dutty. Dirty is just disrespectful lol

        • HouseOfBonnets

          Blame spell check not my heart lol

          • Ight, I won’t hold it against you lol

    • Macro is eye opening as far as economic theory. I enjoyed it.

      • Mama_Bee

        it makes my eye twitch. Like I understand all the words individually but it feels like they don’t work together as presented. If I had to take anything more than micro and macro in order to fulfill these MBA requirements I’d have given up.

        But uhhhh…what do you know about the Pigou affect?

        • When real folks get real money, everybody wins.

          • Emily Harris

            Boop! There’s your thesis!

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    Chance the Gospel Gangsta does not agree

    • Ms. Madam CJ Skywalker

      Man…im so sad Chance is trynna force this sound….

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        When you find your formula, milk it…I guess.
        I didn’t mind him when he was secular.

        Speaking of, “No Malice”. formerly Malice of the Clipse (who underwent a religious transformation) dropped a new song yesterday that is nominally Christian.

        Meanwhile folks not recognizing Kenny for the Christian he is, and outright ignore LeCrae.

        The market for commercial radio black music is conflicted to say the least. Complain all day about the wicked and secular, but only mildly care about the sanctified.

        But that’s none of my business
        *sips Kola Champagne*

        • Kas

          Wonders if I should drive the 25 minutes to hit up the overpriced Jamaican spot for patties

          • Now you’re reminding me of my attempted move to Cincinnati. I found that there was only one Jamaican spot in the area, and they served this abomination called Jerk Burgers. *cries in old Negro spiritual*

        • Ms. Madam CJ Skywalker

          Lol. Yea, shame on you for expecting ppl to actually know what they like, AND acting accordingly *sarcasm*

          Imma just keep Acid rap in rotation, and wait for young Chancellor’s next phase on this musical journey

          • Brooklyn_Bruin

            Was it here where someone portrayed Chance as an extortionist?

            Lovely track you got there
            Hate to see someone throw a choir on it

            • Ms. Madam CJ Skywalker

              No clue, but that sounds like a VSB/SS comment.

              Lol

    • Emily Harris

      I feel like a decade ago Pharrell might have a bone to pick as well since sans child, this article could have largely applied to him.

      • Ms. Madam CJ Skywalker

        Pharrell needs to get his self promotional weight up….

        • Emily Harris

          I feel like since the N.E.R.D era is over that he doesn’t care too much. But back then he had the same broad appeal and self promotion, I think as Khaled does now. I still have The Clipse on a mixed cd somewhere from back in the Napster or Limewire days and every once in a while I be like “grin-DING” but I think he’s moved on to his public persona over the music scene for the most part.

        • DomiMami

          Why though? He is too busy writing scores to movies.
          Checkmate bih!

          • Ms. Madam CJ Skywalker

            I mean not really. I wasn’t comparing their music careers.

            More so why Khaled got the label as the “best human being in all of hip hop” in 2017.
            To get here this guy is a shameless self promoter (not a bad trait), whereas Pharrell is not. Pharrell is def a beast, but Khaled is hotter right now.
            If you know how Khaled is willing to work with any and everybody, and is very persistent when trying to collab. Like this guy has literally no shame or ego in hip hop, which is like unheard of.

  • Seems like a nice guy but that extra extra loud motivational poster sh*t is annoying. He’s like a fat Arab version of Dabo Sweeney who know Drake.

    • Dabo Sweeney with more weight on him would be way more tolerable though.

      • BrothasKeeper

        I would still hate Dabo.

        • I get the rivalry, but he seems like a college football coach from central casting. No big whoop to me…(he says from the land of Pro Sports Domination).

        • His ability to speak is a hindrance to me liking Dabo. I feel the same way about Porscha Williams but for different reasons.

  • AKA The Sauce

    Sorry but Chance has that title fam….but i’m also wondering if Khaled is genuine….idk why I don’t trust him.

    • He ain’t black.

      • AKA The Sauce

        Chance is black

        • Ms. Madam CJ Skywalker

          i think Cog was saying u don’t trust Khaled cause he’s not black

          • AKA The Sauce

            Oh…that too

  • Ehhhh, y’all just let anyone come through and carry that torch for hip hop huh?

    • That’s how we got to a world with Wheel Chair Jimmy.

      • Wise Old Owl

        Preach Preach Preach…and Nikki

    • AzucarNegra

      Hey hey. How goes you?

      • Is this AM?

        • AzucarNegra

          No. Lol. Tam. AM is Hadasssah

          • She stays changing her handle. I can’t keep up.

            • AzucarNegra

              Hehehe

            • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

              Facts.

        • Kas

          No. It’s Tam.

    • Dustin John Seibert

      Ruby! Good morning! Been a while.

      • Dusty. Hello.

        How’s life? Any new accomplishments to share?

        • Dustin John Seibert

          Spending my summer working on this book. Making sweet love to coffee shop tables. Write. Exercise. Travel. Same thing I do every day, Pinky. And you?

          • What’s your book about? I’ve been working, getting back into exercising. Trying to find a job that doesn’t require me to be around people. My coworker is wearing some strong oils she picked up at the flea market and I’d like to strangle her.

            • Dustin John Seibert

              “Strong oils” made me laugh aloud.

              A book of essays on marriage, divorce, sects and dating.

              I get not wanting to be around people in a cube, so I positioned my life/career so I don’t have to. Took years but I made it here!

              Congrats on getting back into exercise. I genuinely love hearing (reading) about us taking steps toward physical fitness because we as a community struggle with that. Fortunately I have an ex-military moms who planted the seeds for me.

    • Right!!!

  • HouseOfBonnets

    Just popping in to say:

    An icon
    A legend
    A lifestyle

    -Signed Asahd’s self-proclaimed publicist https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/eb739456f9f7b30e24d53d80b4ffbc485cb59c2ad72169b8c197fbbb3f57f9eb.jpg

    • Jennifer

      The tiny, matching suit?? The slicked-back hair!!! Is this pic in another angle so I can see the wee handkerchief that is surely in his pocket? I can’t deal! *uterus activated*

      • Emily Harris

        Don’t do! It’s a trap! Find the emergency off switch!!

  • AKA The Sauce

    Off topic…..I need a walk up song for the baseball season….any suggestions. So far I have N*gg@s in Paris and Power by Kanye….please help

    • PurpleIntrovert

      I think a player from Tampa Bay walks out to the first song. Personally, I’d walk out to Bout It or Vice Versa

      • AKA The Sauce

        I’m trying to stay current lol

        • PurpleIntrovert

          What? Master P is a classic though. SMH

          • AKA The Sauce

            True but I wanna stay current and not age myself. Already surrounded by 18-25 year olds lol

    • HouseOfBonnets

      You can never go wrong with the rough riders anthem just saying.

      • AKA The Sauce

        Yes you can lol

    • In my head as a baseball fan I would use “Don’t Make Me” by 8Ball & MJG.

      • AKA The Sauce

        I like this idea

      • PurpleIntrovert

        Good choice

        • AKA The Sauce

          It’s a little too crunk for baseball lol

      • Uncle Remus

        9 Little Millimeter Boys still has me bouncin when the kids aint around.

    • Knuck if you buck?

      • AKA The Sauce

        Noooooo lol

        • Silkk the Shocka’s “Let me hit it”?

          • AKA The Sauce

            Lol…I hate/love you for that

            • You will instantly be every old head’s favorite player.

              • AKA The Sauce

                I’ll get some numbers after the game too

    • Ms.Moon

      My favourite Designated Hitter Matsui #55 always went up to bat to the Godzilla theme never failed him yet.

      • AKA The Sauce

        I was thinking about the Star-ship troopers theme or Man of steel. My teammate has the James Bond theme…i laugh every time

        • Ms.Moon

          My dad won tickets to a Yankee’s game amazing seats in the shade right behind third base at the old Yankees Stadium, my brother and I went. I’m not very good at sports outside of soccer but I fell in love with #55 that day. Every time he came out he hit a homerun A-Rod and Jeter were not on that day but that man came out hit it out of the park every time and he won my heart. I have his Yankees shirt I made sure and bought one after that. I own three now actually.

    • PurpleIntrovert

      2 chainz “Riverdale Rd”

      • KMN

        yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssssssss lolol
        signed a pretty girl who likes trap music roflol

        • Kas

          Looks at Avi. Respectfully gives daps.

          • KMN

            Thank you so kindly ~blushes~
            Daps back

    • PurpleIntrovert

      Walked out to “All Me”
      or “Champions”

      • AKA The Sauce

        Champions has an anti white theme (per my coach) at the beginning….I walked away from him lol

        • PurpleIntrovert

          What? But he’s okay with Kanye?

          • AKA The Sauce

            Go figure

    • PurpleIntrovert

      Oh, YG’s “My Hitta”…you know, the clean version

      • AKA The Sauce

        Closer

      • AKA The Sauce

        I’m slick to put “Crippin” on there just to be petty lol

    • Right Here by Pharoahe Monch.

      Wait…this is for you. How about What You Know by TI?

      • AKA The Sauce

        No Ti

    • Jae Starz

      I’d love to be able to offer some help to you buuuut I am not current in the least bit. I will have you walking up to Dipset’s I’m Ready.

      • AKA The Sauce

        Lord lol

        • Jae Starz

          I’m sorry! Lol. I just can’t get with hip hop after like 2010-ish.

    • mssporadic

      Throw Some D’s

    • A Thousand Miles – Vanessa Carlton

    • PurpleIntrovert

      Did you figure it out?

      • AKA The Sauce

        Nah

        • PurpleIntrovert

          Long Live the Chief
          Father Stretch My Hands Part 1
          False Prophets
          That Part

          • AKA The Sauce

            Ohhh I love your top two

    • BrothasKeeper

      Man Ri’chea, Mystikal.

      • PurpleIntrovert

        He said he doesn’t want anything too old. I suggested Master P earlier.

        • BrothasKeeper

          Chump don’t want de help, chump dont get de help!

          • AKA The Sauce

            Really…help me

            • PurpleIntrovert

              DNA from K.Dot

            • BrothasKeeper

              No Problem-Chance The Rapper
              Until I’m Gone-Derek Minor/BJ The Chicago Kid
              Bad Man-R. Kelly

      • AKA The Sauce

        Taken

    • Emily Harris

      Real N*gg@ Roll Call? Ooh, or how bout Young Bloodz Damn? Loud and offensive is my fave.

    • Lea Thrace

      This is a no brainer. Never Scared- Bonecrusher

      ATL HEAUX!

      • KMN

        ooooh that’s a good one

    • KMN

      This Bodak Yellow by Cardi B is currently banging lmao

      • AKA The Sauce

        Meh

    • Michelle is my First Lady

      I Bet You Won’t.

      But as long as you turn it into the challenge tho. Homeboy was killing it in those streets.

      • AKA The Sauce

        huh

        • Michelle is my First Lady

          It is a song by Level.
          Look up #ibetyouwontchallenge in Instagram. Dude in a white cowboy hat dancing in the street. He kills it. I’m pretty sure he’s in TX somewhere.

    • Sweet Potato Kai ?

      Shook Ones, pt II

      • AKA The Sauce

        Lol….no

        • Sweet Potato Kai ?

          Why for?

  • PurpleIntrovert

    Asahd is so adorable!

    • AKA The Sauce

      Is

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