DJ Khaled has taken over the mantle that DJ Clue used to have as creator of the legit mix tape that is turned into an album. Since the South has taken over, he has been the fixture in hip-hop with his energetic ad-libs and collaborations as well as beat making The past couple of years, he has been doing his thing but hasn't had an album for a minute and he has had some singles in the build up to his new album release, "I've Changed A Lot".
The title kind of says one thing, but the music doesn't really show any growth in terms of what the style or subject matter is. The album starts with Future and Rick Ross on the first two tracks, "I Don't Play About My Paper", and "I Ride" which also include Jeezy and Lil Boosie. On Paper, Future has the hook and a verse where I don't understand but three or four words of his ultra-effects aided vocals. I actually like Ross' flow on both songs though but I can't stand Future and what he does. "Gold Slugs" is one of thr latest songs that have come out to support the album and it features Chris Brown, August Alsina, and the flavor of the summer, Fetty Wap. The song is really just average with a typical track and whatever Fetty actually does isn't good.
Now, the one song that could be a single if it were cleaned up somehow is "How Many Times" with Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Big Sean. Even though Sean is the weak link, at least his verse is last, but Chris Brown makes the song. Some of you may remember "They Don't Love You Know More" which features French Montana on the hook and verses from pre-Drake beef Meek Mill, Jay-z and Rick Ross. The Jay feature is the most unlikely and he tries too hard to do whats popping now. "You Mine" with Jeremih, Trey Singz and Future
Now I'm not the biggest fan of "I Lied" but it is the most somewhat original spin on anything on the album. It features French Montana, Beanie Sigel, Jadakiss, and Meek Mill as they talk about how they swear to the judge or someone close who needs to hear that they are going to be honest about illegal activities only to knowingly lie. This is a song that had the potential if only one of the rappers had given an insight into why they lied other than that they just did it for the streets. However, understand it is a bit unreasonable to have that expectation on this album. The other side of that is "I Swear I Never Tell Another Soul" which is the anti-snitching anthem and features Yo Gotti, Future, and an appearance from Trick Daddy. Ace Hood is only on two songs and neither really stands out.
A Khaled album is definitely a mixtape. It doesn't have anything that is a unifying theme and the title doesn't reflect the music or collaborations that we see. There isn't anything unexpected other than the Jay-z and Trick Daddy appearances. The production is all the same, really loud and heavy handed and there is way too much effects heavy voices on the album from singers like August Alsina to Future and Fetty Wap. The sound is almost grating, the one bright spot is the star talent that is Chris Brown who manages to bring something to any song he is featured on that elevates it. (side note the cover even looks like a mixtape. I understand synergy and promotion but that just looks corny and the address on the front, heat jersey....none of it works well.)