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We the Best

DJ Khaled

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Album Review

Arriving a year — almost to the day — after his superior Listennn: The Album, DJ Khaled's sophomore effort, We the Best, is a mixed bag. On the plus side there are the singles and highlights, all of them infectious, grand, and inspired. Leadoff single "We Takin' Over" is a star-studded, Akon-anchored anthem with swagger to burn, while "Brown Paper Bag" twists a grand sample of Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You" into a soulful tale of fast money. On the latter, Jeezy, Weezy (Lil Wayne), and Rick Ross add up to that rumored all-star edition of Boyz N da Hood that never happened, and if that isn't enough to draw the hip-hop regulars in, hearing the Game, Jadakiss, and Trick Daddy all on the same track, "I'm from the Ghetto," certainly will. Last of the must-haves is "B**** I'm from Dade County" with Khaled, Trick Daddy, and production team the Diaz Brothers in fine pro-Florida form. Besides the Diaz Brothers, Cool & Dre, the Runners, Danja, and Caine Beats produce tracks while Khaled only helms two: the "Intro" (which barely counts) and "Before the Solution," with Beanie Siegel once again covering his iffy relationships with Jay-Z and Dame Dash. Beanie has covered this drama much better elsewhere, up to and including his guest shot on Listennn, but the other tracks that miss aren't as disappointing; they're just fair. Khaled doesn't help much by doing his usual "Listennnnnn!" and "I represent the ghetto!" shouts over songs he has little or no connection with, and while the man has said this effort isn't about his production skills but rather music he loves, it seems like all the more reason to stay out of the way. Maybe it's an effort to ease the geographical jumps — from Florida to the Cleveland-repping Bone Thugs and on to "New York" — or a way to keep the momentum rolling on this up-and-down effort. Instead, it just points out these shortcomings when they could have been less noticeable. Much more frustrating than a failure, We the Best earns a slight thumbs up if you think of it as a disjointed soundtrack or four-hit mixtape. [We the Best was also made available in a clean version, with all explicit material removed.]

Biography

Born: 26 November 1975 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Miami-based DJ/producer DJ Khaled — a Palestinian-American born Khaled Khaled — is a member of Fat Joe's Terror Squad and released Listennn: The Album on Koch in June 2006. He utilized his connections to snare the likes of Beanie Sigel, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Paul Wall, Young Jeezy, Slim Thug, Trick Daddy, and Clipse for guest appearances. Many were back for his 2007 effort We the Best and in 2008 for We Global. The thematic Victory followed in 2010, while 2011's We the Best Forever would...
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