Projected to sell up to 70k copies in its first week (figures from HDD), nearly three times as much as his two previous releases, it’s hard to deny that Major Key is an ongoing commercial success and DJ Khaled is doing something right.
An odd rise in popularity, yes, but a rise less surprising than many would have you believe. In a year, Khaled has gone from being relatively unknown in the mainstream to a face recognised by most. This was achieved, in fact, by doing little more than being a caricature of himself. The ex-Miami based radio host has a clear innate ability to get people interested in him. Those who find that his boastful attitude spills over into cocksure, still find it difficult to take their eyes of Khaled’s extraordinary antics. Whether you’re watching to see how he can make a fool out of himself next, or watching as a staunch fan; you’re still watching.
Some have come to a realisation that the man seen making hundreds of Snapchats a day, prolonged monologues on radio programmes and celebratory videos in the Bahamas after making a number one single; is, to a degree, an act. The recent meeting between Ethan and Hila of H3H3Productions and Khaled was a fine example of the other side of the living meme, a side of a more relaxed and kind guy with a sense of humour.
It is easy to forget that the Grammy nominee has been around for a long time. His first album dropped more than ten years ago and predating that Khaled was making ground in Hip Hop with Young Money members, Birdman and Little Wayne. His releases have significantly improved; his previous LP I Changed A Lot was a solid album and by far his best piece of work, now Major Key has surpassed even that in quality. The superstar features have been there from the outset, but Khaled’s capability of selecting the right ones to go in the right places has gotten much, much better (forget Meghan Trainor, for a moment). It still remains unclear how much of a role he truly plays in the making of tracks and it has been claimed that his influence is slight at best. It’s hard to comment without actually being in the studio, but Khaled keeps attracting big-name artists who come back and work with/for him time and time again. If he really was so inactive and intolerable wouldn’t Jay Z, Lil Wayne, Nas, etc. stop their associations with him?
The debate about who DJ Khaled is and what DJ Khaled does could, and in all likelihood will, go on for some time. There will always be those that see him as arrogant and irritating but in spite of that, he isn’t going away anytime soon, so we may as well bask in the memes while they’re still fresh. In all seriousness, I urge anyone to go and listen to Major Key and give the album a chance, regardless of prior opinions towards the creator, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Sketch by Tegan Price