TOP 2 PROJECTS: "GOD DID" & " THE FOREVER STORY "
DJ Khaled - “God Did”
Over the past 15 years, DJ Khaled has managed to drop an album almost every year. With each of these albums, he also brings together an all-star team of rappers and singers every time. Plenty of his tracks have either been contenders for song of the summer, or memorialized as anthems you’ll hear played at the club, sporting events, and family barbecues. With his latest effort, “God Did,” he aims to keep that record going.
Coming in with 18 tracks and a star studded list of features, Khaled is absolutely looking to nab his second straight no. 1 album. While the project is certainly ambitious in its concept, its execution leaves much to be desired. The collaborations on some of these tracks could be considered monumental, but it doesn’t necessarily come across that way when you’re listening to it. Take, for example, the title track, “God Did”. Joining Khaled on the track are Rick Ross, John Legend, and Jay-Z, some incredibly accomplished musicians, alongside newcomer Friday as well. With all of that talent, the song comes out to nearly 8 and a half minutes. Over the course of the song, the melody expands and allows all of the artists shine on it (not to mention a verse from Hov that’s had Hip-Hop Twitter calling it the best Hip-Hop verse of all time). However not even Jay - Z can save the song from feeling like it was too long. Thankfully, no other song on the album comes anywhere near as close, in terms of length, and there’s a more consistent pacing throughout after you make it past this track.
Although you may not enjoy every track, it’s still amazing to see the collaborations Khaled manages to pull off on each album. “Keep Going” features Lil Durk, 21 Savage, and Roddy Ricch, and the trio pull off one of the best tracks on the album. With each of the three rappers bringing their own distinctive qualities into a track where all three of them are at the top of their game. Dr. Dre even secures a guest spot on the album, having produced a remix of Kanye West’s track “Use This Gospel.” The original track featured the first feature from Hip-Hop group, Clipse, in years, while also featuring incredible saxophone instrumentals courtesy of the legendary Kenny G. On Dre’s version, Ye’s remains intact, but joining him this time around is Eminem. The track stands alone as its own piece of artistic expression, but the instrumental wasn’t my favorite. It was still great to see three legends work with each other, though.
All in all, “God Did,” is another solid project from DJ Khaled, where he gets the best of the best to rap and sing for him as he proclaims his dominance as the best at what he does. While the collaborations the album sound good in theory, there were a few that just fell flat and didn’t deliver what I was expecting. I enjoyed the album, but it isn’t something I see myself venturing back to for a full listen. God certainly did something on this album, but it also makes me wonder what he didn’t do as well, earning 3 out of 5 stars from us.
“Party (feat. Quavo and Takeoff)”
“Keep It Going (feat. Lil Durk, 21 Savage, and Roddy Ricch)
“Let’s Pray (feat. Nardo Wick & Kodak Black)
“Beautiful (feat. Future and SZA)
J.I.D - The Forever Story
One of the things that I’ve always appreciated about J.I.D. is that he’s not afraid to rap his heart out and show off his skill on every track he has. Originally planned with 16 tracks, but downsizing to 15 due to sample clearance issues, J.I.D. has returned for his third studio album, and his first since 2018’s lauded “Dicaprio 2”. In the interim, he’s dropped guest verses on his friends tracks, while also having a hand in various group projects, like 2019’s “Revenge of The Dreamers III”, 2020’S “Spilligion” with the rest of his Spillage Village crew, and most recently, on the DJ Drama and Dreamville collaboration tape. “D-Day: A Gangsta Grillz Mixtape”.
As a result of having 4 years between “DiCaprio 2” and “The Forever Story”, the latter has some of the most polished production I have heard on a hip-hop album in a long time. Whether listening with a studio headset, AirPods, or your home speaker, everything sounds perfectly crisp. First and foremost, props to the engineers and mixer who worked on this project, as it would not be the same without them. As for the content of the album, it is more than a worthy follow up to “Dicaprio 2”, as well as a sequel to J.I.D’s first album, “The Never Story.” The production spans a variety of hip-hop genres, but J.I.D makes the tracks feel uniquely his, especially with the artists he brought along for the ride.
“Surround Sound (feat. 21 Savage and Baby Tate)” is one of the best tracks on the album, where J.I.D. opens up with the track’s catchy hook before exhibiting his always-impressive wordplay skills. After another hook, 21 Savage comes bursting through with a flow that mirrors J.I.D’s, yet also manages to sound independent of it as well thanks to 21’s confident yet calm delivery. Another hook comes through before Baby Tate appears and blesses us with several bars of her singing abilities, although very short-lived. Immediately following this song on the tracklist is “Kody Blu 31.” where J.I.D. also displays his singing chops as he speaks about watching his mom struggle to stay afloat while dealing with the death of her mother, as well the generational trauma that stems its way onto him as well. It;s a great juxtaposition of subject matter as well as beat placement, and shows off quite the range that J.I.D. has.
J.I.D’s storytelling and wordplay talents are on full display, as he combines them with meticulously-crafted production and features that complement and enhance the experience he intended for its listeners. The result is one of the best hip-hop albums of the year, and one unlike most others in the field. Spanning various different genres of hip-hop, with some R&B sprinkled in as well, J.I.D. has begun to cement his legacy among some of the best of this generation with this amazing body of work. His execution has earned him 4.5 stars out of 5.
“Surround Sound (feat. 21 Savage and Baby Tate)”
“Kody Blu 31”
“Lauder Too (feat. Ravyn Lenae & Eryn Allen Kane)”