DJ Khaled has done the impossible. He’s made a bad song that features both Lil Baby and Drake. Two pop rap superstars that rarely miss when coupled together. Titans of hip-hop that still sell millions of records in the streaming era. It’s a crowning achievement on the mantel of his increasingly embarrassing career.
The fat used car salesman who used to churn out hits has finally run out of what little steam he had left. DJ Khaled is what happens when you put all of you skill points into “persuasion” and 0 into actually being good at your job.
To be fair, he is a highly talented marketer. A living, breathing example of everything wrong with the music industry. A talented capitalist who bastardizes art in order to make a quick buck. How he gets these superstars to rap over these beats, which are below average at best, is impressive. He must have Jeffery Epstein levels of dirt on all these rappers for them to continually debase themselves over his dogshit production.
His “production” if you can even call it that, consists of taking an existing iconic beat (Maria Maria by Carlos Santana = “Wild Thoughts”, Ms Jackson by Outkast = “Just Us”), tweaking 1 aspect of it and calling it a day. Or making a trap beat that is so generic it sounds like an AI created it. Rather than producing, he pays his collaborators millions to do all the work then tries to drown them out by screaming catchphrases. He is a lazy, talentless, shill focused on profits. An unfunny court jester that uses music as a shield for his insecurity.
Nobody Wants to do This, Not Even DJ Khaled
The music video starts out like every DJ Khaled production with a faux-motivational speech where he says “they” didn’t believe in us and “they” didn’t want to see him/us succeed. I’ve come to understand that he needs this “everybody doubts him” narrative because the truth, that nobody cares about him, is much more terrifying to him. Irrelevancy is death for DJ Khaled. Anything less than #1 is a failure. It’s why he threw a temper tantrum when Tyler, the Creator beat him for the #1 spot. Tyler explains the dick punch Khaled’s ego took very eloquently.
Without being #1, Khaled has no identity. No personality. He’s left to face the fact that despite having every major star in the industry on his album, his music still sucks. He thinks he’s figured out a “formula”, but in reality he’s a talentless salesman trying to justify his existence.
Back to the video. DJ Big Mac then condescendingly says nurses and doctors, you know, people with actual skills, are “special” and not “regular”. What follows is the most generic, uninspired music video featuring Drake and Lil Baby milling about/partying in a hospital looking like they’d rather be anywhere else. There are gratuitous close ups of Lobos tequila who most likely paid for the video because profitable ROI is more important than quality. DJ Khaled only appears in one shot dancing around the ambulances, too lazy to participate in a music video for his own fucking song.
The song rips off the Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive” chorus without an ounce of charm or kitsch of the original. There’s not really much else to say because there’s not much going on. The whole thing is a half assed throwaway song with a superstar budget. This should have been left on the hard drive, not promoted like a single.
We (haven’t been) the Best (in quite some time)
I miss the goofy DJ Khaled that made songs like, “I’m the One”. At least that was fun. The stars never really fit together but thy were having fun and those vibes came through on the track. This new age Khaled has lost every bit of charm and likabilitty he used to have. He’s completed his transformation into a soulless CEO. The apathy comes through loud and clear. He doesn’t even like the music he’s making yet he’s arrogant enough to think that he can shit out anything as long as there are some big names attached and the fans are too dumb to notice.
DJ Khaled is like Coca-Cola. A mediocre product nobody wants or needs that’s propped up by a neverending marketing budget. A soulless corporate entity that provides no value to the world at large. A loud, brash, but ultimately empty vessel for buzzwords and meaningless motivational platitudes. A DJ who cannot DJ. A producer who cannot produce. He is a fraud in every sense of the word. And this song is a testament to his legacy that nobody will remember. No matter how much he screams on the track, people will remember the artists, not the A&R who invited them to Miami.
I would say this is the end of DJ Khaled’s run but it’s not. He’s so disillusioned that he’ll continue to embarrass himself despite dwindling sales numbers. He’ll blame his “haters” and everybody else but his own lazy, fat ass for his failure. DJ Khaled is incapable of understanding that quality music takes effort. It’s possible to mask your ineptitude with marketing dollars but at some point, you need talent. Any talent. A drop of talent. A fucking whiff of talent. And you need to actually care about what you’re doing. Khaled runs his music career like the owner of a successful IHOP franchise. Wealthy but jaded and passionless about what they do. And after what seems like an eternity, it’s finally coming back to bite him.