For hip-hop heads of a certain age, there’s an inescapable familiarity present throughout DJ Khaled’s 12th studio album, KHALED KHALED. Project opener “THANKFUL,” featuring Lil Wayne and Jeremih, borrows the flute line from JAY-Z’s “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love).” Fans of dearly departed ATL hero Shawty Lo will recognize the horn charge from H.E.R./Migos collaboration “WE GOING CRAZY” as the one from “Dey Know.” A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Big Sean, Puff Daddy, and Rick Ross appear over an interpolation of the Notorious B.I.G. classic “Long Kiss Goodnight” for “THIS IS MY YEAR,” and then we get Justin Timberlake on “JUST BE” singing over a piano loop that Ghostface Killah made famous on “All That I Got Is You.”
To be fair, though, these same touchstones of hip-hop past are in many cases samples themselves, with Khaled merely furthering the tradition he was born into—updating great music for a new generation of listeners. The sounds he’s engineered here are undeniable in that regard and will surely be as eyebrow-raising for the uninitiated as they are for those overcome with nostalgia. There’s a totally new energy in the odd-couple collab “LET IT GO” (featuring Justin Bieber and 21 Savage), a mountain-moving statement song that features both JAY-Z and Nas (“SORRY NOT SORRY”), and then a legends-only dancehall set called “WHERE YOU COME FROM” featuring Buju Banton, Capleton, and Bounty Killer. Oh, and two Drake songs!