“HAVE THE DRAKE VOCALS COME IN YET?!” If you’ve been online during the past week, then you’ve heard DJ Khaled annoyingly yell this across his social media channels. Seemingly, there are multiple appropriate contexts for this request: *DJ Khaled taking a shit*—“HAVE THE DRAKE VOCALS COME IN YET?!”; *DJ Khaled jerking off*—“HAVE THE DRAKE VOCALS COME IN YET?!”; *DJ Khaled pretending to workout to keep up Snapchat appearances*—“HAVE THE DRAKE VOCALS COME IN YET?!” He sounds like an ignorant Oprah shouting during her “Favorite Things” segment. We get it, the Drake vocals haven’t come in yet.
These heavily anticipated Drizzy bars are apparently the crown jewel for Khaled’s upcoming album, Grateful, executively produced by his six-month old child, Asahd, who Khaled is forcibly grooming to be his successor. I swear that kid is going to run into a guillotine of identity crises during his adolescence. Can you imagine if a six-month old had a lawyer for a father who dressed him up in a suit and tie, gave him stacks of court cases in lieu of cartoons, and brought him to arbitrations? He’d be fucked. I think Asahd is fucked. DJ Khaled disagrees. His near-infant child is a frequent recipient of Khaled’s Drizzy vocal requests. “Asahd, HAVE THE DRAKE VOCALS COME IN YET?!” The baby confusedly looks up from his stroller at his laboredly breathing father, who looks back at him legitimately expecting an answer. “Asahd?” While his son can’t vocalize any semblance of annoyance, others can.
During one of the “we the best” music mogul’s vocal inquisitions, he’s answered by his fed-up fiancé. “Honey, honey, honey… DID THE DRAKE VOCALS COME IN YET?” “Yo, shut the fuck up,” she replies off-camera. “Do you love me? Why you trippin’?” Khaled sensitively asks. Not only is his fiancé growing increasingly pissed off at the Miami-Based DJ, so is the man in question.
After Khaled’s thousandth Drizzy vocal demand, the 6 God himself took to social media offering an impersonation of the man who’s been hounding him: “CJ, HAVE THE KHALED VOCALS COME IN YET?!…Chill, everything’s top-secret.” Whether or not Drake is actually growing tired of Khaled is unclear, but what is clear is that DJ Khaled is one of the most annoying people in entertainment.
Let me preface this by saying I whole-heartedly respect DJ Khaled, the empire he’s built, and his savvy marketing/branding. For all I know, this whole Drake vocal request is just a marketing ploy to drive Grateful’s awareness—we all know his Snapchat presence has skyrocketed his overall brand equity. Now, let me continue by saying that I really don’t give a shit about all of that, and I’m exhausted by his quasi motivational rhetoric, and his general essence.
“We the best”; “You smart, you loyal”; “Major key alert”; “Anotha one”—these ad-libs define DJ Khaled, and ruin potentially great songs. Throughout his albums, Khaled shouts one—if not all—of these sayings to ensure our awareness of his presence (“Yo, you guys better not forget about me!”), and to interrupt the featured artists. I wish I could attend the Khaled song brainstorming meetings. In my mind, Khaled sits at a jewel-encrusted round table with two very strong artists, a couple of producers, and his son, who’s decked out in a tailored Armani suit with a condo on his wrist. Khaled starts out the meeting by greeting his artists with pleasantries, “Hello, we the best; Good to see you, anotha one; Shalom, you better be loyal; Why are you here? You played yourself.” He then moves onto brainstorming song concepts. “Aight, I got this vision. Hold your applause until the end. It’s gonna be the best. No, WE the best. Asahd, wait your turn—daddy’s speaking. [Speaking to Drake, Kanye, Metro Boomin’, and Boi-1da] Y’all are two of today’s top MCs, and y’all are two of today’s top producers—I want to pair you all together. Guys, I said applause at the end. Now, here’s what makes us the best: I’m gonna shout random ad-libs throughout the track to give it that signature Khaled edge. And that’s the vision. Aight guys, clap.”
I know that he’s actually well-versed in turn tables, and I know that I’m delegitimizing his actual musical acumen—call me crazy, ignorant, or both—but I just don’t think much skill is required to find preeminent artists and producers with complementing aesthetics. I’m fairly confident that if I had the rolodex, I could call J. Cole and Kendrick, tell them to write a couple of 16s to a Mike WiLL Made-It beat, yell a few out of context phrases, and call it a day. But, to Khaled’s credit, he’s able to nurture these relationships because he busted his ass establishing a name in music.
Before he was DJ Khaled, he was DJ Arab Attack. He’d frequently spin at clubs and parties to drive his awareness and reputation, netting him his initial exposure. Then 9/11 happened, so the whole “DJ Arab Attack” moniker wasn’t exactly kosher with the American audience—Al Qaeda was quite upset. DJ Arab Attack was put to bed, but DJ Khaled rose from the ashes like an overweight phoenix. The rest is history. He’s perhaps Snapchat’s greatest influencer; he’s better IG material than drunk, idiotic white frat boys; he’s complied some great songs and albums.
Clearly, the man has an intense work ethic that has afforded him his robust fame. I just find his personality to be abrasive and off-putting. Whether or not he’s actually talented is slightly subjective, but artists definitely enjoy working with him, and I’m definitely being a pretentious prick. However, Drake might be starting to harbor similar feelings to me, and might kill someone if he hears “HAVE THE DRAKE VOCALS COME IN YET?!” one more time.