written by Carla Bynum
Frequent collaborator Drake leads up the album’s first single “For Free,” a confident song about how good his sex game is. He wonders how can sex as good as his be free.
Nas is among the best lyricists in the game so it’s no surprise that he came prepared to destroy on the track “Nas Album Done.” The title of the track alone is enough to send Nas’ fans in an anticipation induced frenzy. It’s been four years since the release of his last album Life is Good and we can’t wait for more. Nas is known for advocating for black people and on this particular track he raps about racial economic inequality and how blacks can aim to resolve the issue. The song contains samples of “Fu-Gee-La” by the Fugees.
“Holy Key” is the third single from the album and features verses from Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar. In the album’s most surprising feature, Betty Wright, perhaps best known for the 1971 hit song “Clean up Woman,” sings the chorus. Sean and Kendrick rap about a range of topics including police brutality, religion and politics. During a listening party last month, Khaled told listeners that he told Big Sean and Kendrick he wanted them to “catch the Holy Ghost. No rules, no nothing.” He also instructed for Betty Wright to go to church on the hook. It appears they all followed suit and as a result produced a great record.
J. Cole is one of the most underappreciated rappers in the industry but his fanbase continues to grow. Cole has mostly been silent since the release of his historical double platinum album 2014 Forest Hills Drive in late 2014 so it’s nice to hear him step out of the shadows and release new music, even if it is only an interlude. On “Jermaine’s Interlude,” Cole raps about his feelings towards the rap industry and their desire to make his sellout musically. This is a topic he has talked about in the past, most notably on the song “Let Nas Down” from his Born Sinner album. He also mentions police brutality before he closes out with a line about retirement, which is sure to make his fans hearts drop.
Bryson Tiller is a newcomer to the industry and has already captivated audiences with two of the biggest radio hits in R&B, “Don’t” and “Exchange.” With hits and a platinum album under his belt already, it isn’t shocking that Khaled asked him to be on the album. Tiller joins Future on the song “Ima Be Alright” about how people change up on you and they want to take what you have from you. Khaled has warned us about “they” before. “They” are jealous and want to see us fail so we have to prove them wrong. It doesn’t matter what “they” say because he knows he’s going to be alright.
A rap album isn’t complete without at least one R&B track. “Do You Mind” is the fourth single from the album and might as well be titled “Hold You Down Pt. 2.” The song features Chris Brown, August Alsina, Jeremih, and Future, who were all featured on Khaled’s 2014 hit single “Hold You Down.” Nicki Minaj and frequent collaborator Rick Ross also make appearances on the song. “Do You Mind” is a smooth and sexy song that samples Lil Jon, Usher, and Ludacris’ “Lovers and Friends.” The song first appeared on iHeart Radio on July 28th.
Khaled is known to feature new artists on his albums from time to time. This time around Kodak Black from the 2016 XXL Freshman Class is featured and he is joined by Jeezy and French Montana. They rap about how they “Pick These Hoes Apart” by having sex with them and buying them lavish gifts even though they aren’t in love with them.
If there’s one thing that Future is known for, it’s making club bangers so it’s fitting that he is included on a track called “Fuck up the Club.” The track also features Rick Ross, YG, and Yo Gotti.
Big Sean stands out on the track “Work for It” about hardwork and finding someone who makes him want to give up everything he worked for. Gucci Mane has been a busy man since he was released from jail recently. He has already released his ninth studio album Everybody Looking on July 22nd and now he’s featured on DJ Khaled’s album. The track also features 2 Chainz.
“Don’t Play Yourself” is another one of Khaled’s motivational mottos and is pretty self-explanatory. This song features an all-star lineup that includes Jadakiss, Fabolous, Fat Joe, and Busta Rhymes. Newcomer Kent Jones is also featured on the song and he proves that he can hold his own with some of the greats.
Travi$ Scott has a way of making you feel high with his music and that continues on the song “Tourist.” The unmastered version of the song was previously released but Khaled decided to revive it. Lil Wayne is also featured on the song.
Meghan Trainor is probably the last person you would expect to hear on a DJ Khaled album but her voice surprisingly blends nicely with Wiz Khalifa and Wale. The trio seeks forgiveness on the track “Forgive Me Father.”
Mavado closes out the song with the uplifting song “Progress,” which is straight to the point. Mavado doesn’t want to deal with people who aren’t showing any progress. He knows that holding on to friendships with certain people is hopeless so he would prefer to spend his time with people with the same mindset as him.
With such an eclectic range of guests on Major Key, there’s something for everybody to enjoy. DJ Khaled continues to prove why he has had such success in the music industry thus far and his albums seem to get better each time.
Recommended Tracks: “Don’t Play Yourself,” “Progress,” “Nas Album Done,” “Ima Be Alright,” “Jermaine’s Interlude”