DJ Khaled’s latest project suffers from a lot more than success.
DJ Khaled has been behind some of the hottest records of the last few years and if there's one thing he's made consistently clear it's that he has a winning formula for hits. This is also his greatest fault.
It's never been so clear how one dimensional DJ Khaled's music really is than here on Suffering From Success, the DJ's seventh studio album.
Regardless of what the title suggests, Suffering From Success is a dense collection of club music across several genres. There's little to nothing in the way of introspection, meditation or “suffering” in the music on this album – barring one, maybe two tracks.
With that said, you aren't likely to find a more consistent, diligent effort in turn-up music than what's presented on this album. Pretty much every song was designed with the sole intention of enhancing your club-hopping weekend, particularly in the south it seems.
Khaled clearly wants to dominate the Top 40 charts with this project. Big names like Future, Meek Mill, Ace Hood, and Lil' Wayne have spent several months at a time on the charts and Khaled clearly meant to leverage these artist's popularity with this record.
The problem is, most people only spend a few nights a week at the club. Many spend even less. With that in mind, this album has almost no utility for the everyday listener. Future's auto-tuned crooning, the throw-away verses from many of these rappers and the general uniformity in the production make it difficult to take this album seriously – or Khaled's art itself.
The hooks are bland at best and cavalier the rest of the time. The writing (all of it, from hooks to verses) generally puts too much focus on “haters” or safe, stunt raps. Instead of nurturing fans, Khaled and his guests continually indulge those that clearly have no love for them or their moves. Then again, this could be a symptom of Khaled's suffering perhaps.
Regardless, the album is an unfortunately weak effort with a couple of exceptions. Lil' Wayne's verse on “No Motive” marks a trend in the emcee's rapping as of late. He seems to be making good on his promise to fans to do better. J Cole did similarly well on “Hell's Kitchen.”
And then there's “Never Surrender.”
This is the best song on the album without question. The record is packed with guest – Scarface, Jadakiss, Meek Mill, John Legend, Akon and Anthony Hamilton. The lyrics are meaningful and the production is slick. “Never Surrender” is arguably the best song DJ Khaled has ever been involved in, with the most argument coming from “Hip-Hop,” which featured Nas and Scarface.
Songs like “Never Surrender” and “Hip-Hop” show what Khaled truly excels at – bringing some of the best artists in rap together to offer up incredible bars that make no sacrifice for content over sonically enjoyable music. It's a shame this talent wasn't explored further on this album.