DJ Khaled – Kiss the Ring album review

While the cover of Kiss the Ring finds DJ Khaled doing his best Drake impression while wearing a comically oversized ring, don’t believe for a second that he has stepped away from his shtick. Khaled drops his yearly albums mostly to remind listeners of how ingrained he is in mainstream Hip-Hop. He’s not the type that could revolutionize the genre if he wanted to, but he is still surprisingly relevant in 2012.

From up-and-comers like 2 chainz and Meek Mill to big names like Kanye West, Nas, and Rick Ross, there really is an incredible roster on Kiss the Ring. With this ridiculous amount of talent, it’s not surprising that the album is full of songs that will be all over the radio in the very near future.

The absolutely vicious “Bitches & Bottles” seems like the obvious choice for the next single off of Kiss the Ring. Future sings a hook that is destined to be hide in the nooks and crannies of your brain and show up unexpectedly. As the beat builds, getting darker and darker, he howls out at the top of his lungs giving the chorus a life of its own. T.I. shows up in full Urban Legend mode for a verse that is an incredible reminder of his effortless confidence and talent when he’s on. Wayne’s verse isn’t as powerful in comparison, but having the instruments drop out for his first few bars makes it much more dynamic.

“Hip Hop” starts off with Khaled claiming that “This shit’s special!” which transitions into a verse that only the legendary Scarface could pen. While the sentiment would seem trite coming from a rapper without his credentials, Face beautifully describes the tumultuous ride that has been his career and how the rap game has left him with a bitter taste in his mouth. Anthropomorphizing his livelihood opens up a rawness in Scarface’s bars that does wonders for the track.

Kiss the Ring isn’t going to make any Top 10 lists as an album, but a few tracks will stick around long enough to justify a 2013 release for Khaled. That’s probably all he was aiming for anyway.