DJ Khaled has now released 11 albums in 13 years, and, if nothing else, Father of Asahd is certainly, as the man says, “another one.” As usual, the DJ/hypeman/impresario’s latest 15-track collection boasts a slew of superstar team-ups along with some of the hottest working producers and dares you to guess what role he himself plays beyond liberally sprinkling his regular ad libs throughout. But as quality control at Khaled HQ dips slightly yet noticeably, it might be time for him to receive more undeserved blame than undeserved credit.
That the album’s first two singles were released last summer already gives Father of Asahd a prematurely dated feel. On “Top Off,” Jay-Z and Beyonce are still calling for the release of Meek Mill from prison, and the Justin Bieber/Chance the Rapper/Quavo collab “No Brainer,” which was already a tepid echo of their bona fide 2016 smash “I’m the One,” feels like a distant memory no one is particularly nostalgic for.
With no commercially undeniable moments like the Rihanna showcase “Wild Thoughts” (from Khaled’s Grateful), Father of Asahd grooves along like an adequate 54-minute stretch of hip-hop/R&B radio (with no commercials, at least). The brilliant neo-soul singer SZA deserves a much better potential star-turn than “Just Us,” with its klutzy recreated interpolation of Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson” beat. Surprisingly, the album’s strongest cuts are its deepest: It peaks midway with a soulful, emotionally resonant stretch that begins with “Higher,” a typically striving rap from the late Nipsey Hussle with worthy support from John Legend.
If once there was the sense that Khaled at least brokered these collaborations, that somehow his presence made these songs possible, now he feels more like a rubber stamp. Yet even so, there are moments of brilliance here, particularly on Cardi B’s killer verse of “Wish Wish,” Maybe we’d have never have heard Cardi rap “Put a ribbon on my box ’cause this pussy gifted” if Father of Asahd never existed and that would’ve been a damn shame.