“I represent the hustlers,” DJ Khaled tells Speedy Norman in a recent interview for Complex. They are sat within his estate, surrounded by the luxuries he’s accumulated from his lengthy career. He follows this with a mantra he undeniably lives by: “When times get hard, go harder. When times get great, go even fucking harder!”
The legendary hip-hop renaissance man is in a place where he stays relevant through the timeless nature of classic records like ‘We Takin’ Over’ and ‘Wild Thoughts’. Most people with over 20 years in a game would take this stature as a sign to gracefully disappear and enjoy dwelling within the walls of the mansion they manifested. But even when surrounded by glimmering decoratives and a plethora of plaques, Khaled cannot be boxed in. So it’s no surprise we sit here today with his album God Did, only a year separated from his last.
Throughout Grateful, Father of Asahd, and Khaled Khaled, Khaled approached every opportunity to make music with appreciation. The songs on these albums were motivated, arena-ready and garnished with Khaled’s shouty adlibs, which over the years have transformed from proclamations of bravado to a celebration of the blessings in his life. God Did continues this trend, emphasising the importance of finding your higher power, and harnessing its presence in order to push yourself to be the best.
Khaled takes inspiration from the naysayers on God Did and is thankful for his higher powers’ presence in every moment. This has infiltrated his art in the best of ways, transforming his music into epic, sing-a-long dedications to the grind. Every song feels reflective as if every featured artist is taking the chance to look at how far they have come. The title track is an 8-minute display of rap excellence, where Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, and Jay Z intricately flex their achievements. ‘BEAUTIFUL’ finds Future and SZA gushing over the delights of existence. The album is jam-packed with a slew of other A-list features from Eminem, Kanye West, and more, all of who participate in Khaled’s determined, positive outlook. This approach creates a space of motivation for the listener, and an important sanctuary away from the stresses of everyday life.
The uplifting atmosphere of the album’s concept also lends itself to the sound. In typical Khaled fashion, It toggles through all of modern rap’s trends, on a quest to create massive, timeless anthems. But God Did also serves as Khaled’s love letter to his past, harnessing the hard work of his days at Odyssey Records, or peddling albums like We The Best. ‘THESE STREETS KNOW MY NAME’ serves as an ode to dancehall and reggae, creating a sun-soaked vibe for Skillibeng, Buju Banton, Capleton, Bounty Killer, and Sizzla to snap on. ‘Keep Going’ is a posse cut that thrives in the vintage feeling of friendly competition Khaled has been known to conduct, with Lil Durk, 21 Savage, and Roddy Ricch let off ember-filled flows as a representation of today’s talent. There’s even a dedicated Jadakiss interlude, allowing the New York legend to spit slick for 2-and-a-half minutes, serving as Khaled’s homage to the classic hip-hop that led him to his current success. The album is not only a celebration of the grind, but a culmination of the sounds, styles, and superstars that epitomise the term. With Khaled conducting this orchestra of gratitude, the results are rich with greatness.
God Did is DJ Khaled’s blockbuster blueprint that maps out the results of representing the hustle. He once again demonstrates that he’ll never be content, constantly striving for more in his already ridiculous highlight reel. It shows that he’s still at the top of his game, as he explores a variety of sounds, and connects star-studded collaborations to create ear-catching anthems. But within the bangers, is a new depth, as it represents a community of creatives coming together, and celebrating the blessings that they continue to build upon. DJ Khaled’s music has always been a source of fun within the frenzy of chaos the world often brings us. Now, the entertainment is enriched with his wisdom, as he wails out motivational adlibs to guide you through your own manifestations, and remind you that even if the naysayers persist, there’s a higher power positioned to believe in your personal quest. Khaled was once focused on giving you major keys, but now he’s determined to help you knock down doors.