#1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, week of 8/20/16
I hate the Lil Wayne song “Lollipop.” I didn’t even like Wayne himself that much when it came out (I know), and “Lollipop” lacked even his usual weirdo charm, got played constantly everywhere and was followed by a parade of imitators that also got played constantly everywhere. To this day I cringe whenever a rap beat starts out with that high-pitched bleep-bloop stuff. I bring this up not because a lot of the songs on DJ Khaled’s Major Key sound like “Lollipop” clones (though stuff like “Fuck Up the Club” is in the ballpark), but because, in a very general sense, the album does have that kind of glossy radio-rap sound. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, just that it’s not my thing, although some cuts did grow on me after repeated listens (“For Free,” “Holy Key,” even “Fuck Up the Club,” actually).
But who knows how much influence DJ Khaled even had on the Major Key‘s sound? He’s not a rapper; this is a compilation album with vocals handled by an all-star lineup of guests including Jay-Z, Drake, Nas, Kendrick Lamar, etc. But if you, like me, assumed that meant that Khaled handled most or all of the production here, nope: He’s credited behind the boards on only five of the fourteen songs. I’ll go ahead and assume that he shaped the project’s aesthetic through a whole lot of behind-the-scenes string-pulling, but it is funny that the actual credits make it seem like he was only half-heartedly involved in the creation of his own album.
In any case, Khaled’s newfound prominence has less to do with his actual music than with the fact that he’s the only person born before 1996 to ever figure out how to use Snapchat. His cartoonish persona, which only shows up here via his shouted ad-libs, would generally be described as hyper-positive or motivational, but I gotta say that the “They don’t want us to win!” part of it comes off as paranoid and creepy to me. It’s like what a guy yells while waving his copy of Catcher in the Rye as bystanders wrestle the gun out of his hand.
So, again, not really my thing. But it is kind of cool that in the middle of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the bestselling albums chart is topped by a devout Muslim who used to call himself “Arab Attack.” America: We may be intolerant, but not consistently!