The amount of pleasure you get out of DJ Khaled’s new disc We The Best Forever enjoys a directly inverse relationship with the amount of thought you put into it. If listening to, say, Shabazz Palaces is the hip-hop equivalent of eating broccoli, then this album is a deep-fried Big Mac covered in Skittles that has been re-deep fried and covered in a layer of dolphin fat. And guilded. You can call DJ Khaled a lot of things, but you can’t call him a liar. He said he was going to give you a bunch of songs about how he and all his friends were the best at a bunch of unspecified activities, and that’s what you got. Hope you’re happy with yourself, because DJ Khaled sure as shit is.
DJ Khaled doesn’t actually rap, produce or scratch on any of these tracks. Well, he’s credited with “additional production” on “Welcome To My Hood,” which could honestly mean anything, and he kicks a quick verse on “Welcome To My Hood (Remix),” which – Jesus Christ – features thirteen different rappers. Instead, think of We The Best Forever as a trip through DJ Khaled’s thoughts, with him serving as the album’s narrator and thematic chaperone. If you are lucky, he will scream his own name and then tell you what the song is about (the song is always about whatever the title is), and then get out of the way. If you are unlucky, you will have to figure out what the song is about by looking at the back of the CD case.
That little disclaimer out of the way, this album sounds fucking incredible on headphones. You can practically hear the spit flying from Ace Hood’s mouth as he works twice as hard for half the glory. “Welcome To My Hood” is the best song on here, mainly because it features Rick Ross rapping, “Fuck yo’ houseboat, nigga,” a line so stupid you could only dream it up if you were a genius. Meanwhile, the entire Young Money B-Squad manages to make the bombastic electro of “A Million Lights” sound downright inspiring, even though they’re literally rapping about nothing and Kevin Rudolph doing his best and most anachronistic Julian Casablancas impression on the hook.
Less successful is B.o.B, maybe because this is his first time on a Khaled album. He seems to think that We The Best Forever was not, in fact, an album about being the best (forever), but instead an album about how it was good to work hard and be honest and fair with yourself and others. Fuck that. Yes, you have to be relentless in your pursuit of victory, but if you have to rub your best friend’s face in the dirt in order to get there, well, that’s their loss and they never deserved to be the best. Another guy who completely misses the point here is Game, whose verses on “Sleep When I’m Gone” belong on a completely different album. In a move that proves that in the universe of DJ Khaled, quality is circular and not linear, his verses are actually so good that they prevent him from being the best, The Game incorrectly focusing upon showcasing his talent and losing sight of the Big Picture where he should have just rapped about owning a pet tiger and called it a day.
It just goes to show that on a DJ Khaled album, you can’t be Eddie Van Halen. You’ve got to be David Lee Roth. Anything less (or more), and DJ Khaled loses control of his own album. And on an album he’s so minimally involved in, control is about all he’s got.