by Joseph Bonney
Grateful is the 10th studio album from arguably the most popular DJ in the world: Khaled. Since his separation from Cash Money, he’s linked up with Sony and got a major Jay-Z cosign that brought his career to new heights (starting from Snapchat fame). This album has to be his most ambitious to date and more deserving than anything else he’s dropped.
The theme is obviously grateful, something that Khaled has acknowledged greatly since gaining hip-hop respect, and the birth of his son Asahd, the poster child for the album. Beyonce and Jay-Z introduce the album with their brand of sophisticated bragging. Khaled also managed to pull an Alicia Keyes feature on the song "Nobody" with Nicki Minaj, another symbol of the height of this album.
Khaled does well to blend the new school with the old school, but you can tell he’s clearly favoring the new kids on the block. If you’re not a fan of the mumble rap/autotune/trap sound, this album is littered with it. "I’m the One", the album's fifth track, introduces that, while the rest of the album reflects the vibe of that song. Travis Scott is the go to guy on this album, with name credit on four tracks. His hooks are hyped like you’d expect, but his hook on "It’s Secured" with Nas seems slightly forced. Though Nas is on the song and he does what he’s best at: narrating the world around him.
Like I stated earlier the new school dominates this album. Migos has a solo track - "Major Bag Alert" - an absolute banger, and they also feature on "Iced Out My Arms" with 21 Savage (who has been quiet as of late but recently dropped a new single). Kodak Black hops on a couple tracks. His verse on "Down for Life" is his first verse that I’ve generally enjoyed. PARTYNEXTDOOR does a solid chorus with Travis Scott. I’m not a huge fan of some of their sounds, specifically Kodak’s chorus on "Pull a Caper", 21 Savages verse, and future leaves some forgettable verses and hooks. In the end, they all bang.
Raekwon blesses "Billy Ocean" - an old throwback about working the block - with a strong verse alongside Fat Joe. Then Pusha T and Jadakiss flow on a lovely sample over a trap beat with "Good Man". Jadakiss has the standout verse on this album; he feels like a father figure when he starts, and then he absolutely murks his verse and sons anyone else who tries to think they can out rap him.
This album has everything thing for the new kids and the old heads. DJ Khaled tries to show the current sound of hip-hop while breaking barriers. He wants the youngins to know the old days, and the new veteran listeners of hip-hop to join the new wave sound. This album brings everything that Khaled has worked for and he puts it in a powerful project. “Wild Thoughts” is the perfect example of that with the “Maria Maria” sample. This album gets a stamp of approval on being a contender for album of the year
Joseph Bonney is a writer, artist, hip-hop enthusiast, and gamer currently living in San Marcos, Texas. A recent English graduate with an Art/Design minor, when he's not working, he's usually doing 1 of the 4, or eating. You can find his Instagram page here.