As a blogger, editorialist and/or journalist its imperative to remain unbiased with anything that you do. So for DJ Khaled I find it very difficult to not be biased. Khaled has been in the game and doing it forever so I feel as though the standard in which he should be judged should not only be a reflection of his other bodies of work but off of his longevity and experience in the industry. With that being said let’s look at “Kiss The Ring” and answer the question is he and this album Reigning Royalty or Delusions of Grandeur.
Khaled has come along way in his career from mere radio sidekick to the personal dj of Terror Squad in 2006 to rapper and producer to becoming President of DefJam South in 2009. Once can easily agree that Khaled has an incredible career and rise in the industry but with that and 5 albums under his belt is the music living up to the hype that is DJ KHALED aka MR. WE THE BEST! Knowing that he is not an artist but an enjoyer of music his albums are feature heavy with his now famous adlibs “We The Best” thrown in at every opportunity he can get and because of this his lineups have been a who’s who of the hip hop community. In my opinion, he was a fundamental key in keeping the south a formidable force in Hip Hop while bridging the respective regions/coasts together. Khaled is the reason a lot of artist are known and got shine around the country outside of their respective demographics. With collabs from southern royalty like Bun B, Scarface, Ludacris and TI to the midwest stars Kanye West & Nelly. Then he brings in the influences of the West with the Game, Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg and back to the birthplace of Hip Hop NY (the east) with the likes of Jadakiss, Jim Jones, Nas, Busta Rhymes and Fabolous. Now if you notice I didnt include any members of the Terror Squad, MMG or YMCMB because Khaled is faithful and keeps his team on everything that he does. However, these are just some of the artist that has made appearances on his projects that range from club bangers and anthems to gritty street tales and even something a little softer to appeal to his female demographic.
Kiss The Ring should have been the apex of his catalog but it has fallen on deaf ears. The project as a whole is listenable but forgettable. Not saying that there are not standout tracks because Khaled has crafted a few classic tracks on the opus like “They Ready feat J. Cole, BIG K.R.I.T. & Kendrick Lamar” and “Hip Hop feat DJ Premier, Nas & Scarface.” These 2 tracks are by far the best tracks on the entire album but shows that he has what it takes to create greatness. Lyrically these tracks will go down as the best tracks of 2012 and refutes the claim that Nas once made saying that Hip Hop is dead. He brought 2 generations of the genre on separate tracks and made history and shows that lyricism is alive and well. In addition to this he stays true to form and delivers bangers for the club like his current single “Take It To The Head feat Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne,” “Bitches & Bottles (Let’s Get It Started) feat Lil Wayne, TI & Future,” “Dont See Em feat 2 Chainz, Birdman & Ace Hood” and “Dont Pay For It feat Wale, Tyga, Mack Maine & Kirko Bangz.” He fed the streets as well with the tracks “Shout Out to The Real feat Meek Mill, Ace Hood & Plies,” “I Wish You Would feat Kanye West & Rick Ross” and “I Did It For My Dawgs feat Rick Ross, French Montana, Jadakiss & Meek Mill.”
As you can see he has once again compiled a stellar lineup but like a lot of songs that are now being released they lack quality, substance and originality. So a lot of these songs sound like something that we’ve heard before. This doesn’t live up to the body of work as Victory or We The Best. It takes more than throwing a bunch of talented or less than talented artist on a track to construct a hit. Now as a whole is this a bad album? NO. Will it stand out against other albums that have dropped this year? NOT AT ALL. This will be another album that gets lost in the mix behind MMG’s Self Made 2, Rick Ross’ “God Forgives, I Dont” and the upcoming albums from the likes of Slaughterhouse and Meek Mill. (Just wait on those 2 reviews) This album is the equivalent, except for a few standout tracks, of a group version of 2 Chainz debut. It’s nothing to write home about but if the mood hits you, you can listen without throwing it completely out the window.
To answer the question is this Reigning Royalty or Delusions of Grandeur let’s settle for a happy medium and say that Khaled is a little overconfident and should settle for a firm handshake than any ring kissing. Kiss The Ring in stores August 21 go support Khaled and that entire We The Best movement.