There’s truth to DJ Khaled‘s words. “I live at Billboard. Check the charts. I’ve been there for seven years straight,” DJ Khaled tells Billboard.com the day before the release of “We the Best Forever” (July 18).
Seven years ago (2004), DJ Khaled lent his production skills to Billboard 200 albums, Fabolous‘ “Real Talk” (2005), Fat Joe‘s “All or Nothing” (2005) and more. After two years (2006), DJ Khaled was determined to make a mark on the Billboard charts with his own albums — and he did. All four of Khaled’s former studio albums have debuted on the Billboard 200, with his second album “We The Best” — which includes street anthem “We Takin’ Over” — peaking at No. 2 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Rap Albums charts.
DJ Khaled plans to continue climbing the charts with his fifth studio album, “We the Best Forever.” The first single off “We the Best Forever,” “I’m On One,” featuring Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross has been cozy at No. 1 on Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop for the second week.
There’s no saying, with not even a full day released, where “We the Best Forever” will take DJ Khaled. On the day before the album’s release, DJ Khaled sat down with Billboard.com to walk us through every track on “We the Best Forever.” Watch the video track-by-track above or read what Khaled had to say below. Khaled tells us which songs are his favorites and how and why he chose the featured artists on the album, one being the queen of R&B, Mary J. Blige.
1. “I’m On One” Feat. Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne
“This song has a special story because I’ve been trying to get Drake to do a verse on my album for… it took me like a whole full year. In a good positive way, nothing negative. Just his schedule, his creative process to get things done. Actually Drake was heavily involved. Actually he blessed me as well as Ross, Lil Wayne, just the whole team.”
2. “Welcome to My Hood” Feat. Rick Ross, Plies, Lil Wayne and T-Pain
“‘Welcome to My Hood,’ another special record produced by The Renegades and myself as well as Nasty. We came together to make that track. We wanted to make a sequel to ‘I’m So Hood’ that I made lfour or five years ago cause the streets always say ‘Khaled, man, make another ‘I’m So Hood,’ make another ‘I’m So Hood’. So what I did was made another ‘I’m So Hood’ but we called it ‘Welcome to My Hood’ and added Wayne, Plies, Ross and T-Pain. It’s a street anthem. It’s one of [those] street records, it’s just undeniable. You have to bop your head and give you that mean mug face.”
3. “Money” Feat. Young Jeezy and Ludacris
“‘Money,’ ‘Money’ is a hot record. Me, Jeezy and Ludacris, and it’s produced by Lex Luger. Ludacris flipped the topic in a different way and went on a whole other level with it. Jeezy, straight hustler, kept it so hood and gully. It’s just one of those tracks that motivates the hustler. It’s about getting money. It’s about just hustling hard. The streets [are] going to love that.”
4. “I’m Thuggin'” Feat. Ace Hood and Waka Flocka Flame
“‘I’m Thuggin” is gonna be the new ‘tear the club up’ record. It’s got me, Ace Hood, and Waka Flocka on it, produced by Lex Luger. The minute it come on in the club it’s going to f*ck the whole place up. You’re going to need security in that club, heavily. Every record on my album is a hit. Every record is a hit in it’s own way.”
5. “It’ Ain’t Over Till It’s Over” Feat. Mary J. Blige, Fabolous, Jadakiss
“‘It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over.’ Mary J. Blige, DJ Khaled, Fabolous, Jadakiss all on one record. If you love hip-hop and you love R&B it’s an undeniable hit record. I’m actually about to world premiere the video. It’s my first time working with Mary J. Bilge. That’s the queen. It’s a big record, it’s a hit. Working with Mary has been amazing. On my album it was an amazing process working with her. Me and The Runners did a track on her album. That’s crazy too. It opened doors and our relationship is real good. Shout out to Kendu and the whole Mary J. Blige team.”
6. “Legendary” Feat. Chris Brown, Keyshia Cole and Ne-Yo“‘Legendary.’ Probably one of my favorite records on the album because I feel like it’s going to be one of [those] records thats going to win a Grammy. It’s me, Chris Brown, Keyshia Cole, and Ne-Yo, produced Nasty Beat Makers, co-produced by myself. This record is so inspiration, motivational. I feel like its going to be one of those records that’s going to be talked about forever. It’s one of those timeless records. Just the collaboration with Keyshia Cole, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo all on one record, that don’t happen.”
7. “Sleep When I’m Gone” Feat. Cee-Lo, Busta Rhymes and The Game
“‘Sleep When I’m Gone’ is one of those big, epic, cinematic records. Working with Cee-Lo Green was just amazing. You’ve got Busta Rhymes and The Game spitting some real, live… not stories, but real life stuff. And then of course, Danja on the track. It’s just special — it’s epic. Epic.”
8. “Can’t Stop” Feat. T-Pain and Birdman
“Shout out to Birdman on ‘Can’t Stop.’ Birdman, T-Pain and Boi-1da on the track. I really love this track because it’s that vintage Birdman, that vintage Cash Money. He’s just talking that talk on there and the beat is crazy. When I got with Pain, I told him I wanted him to sing the hook with so much pain and emotion, and he did exactly what I asked him to do. The track is a classic track and the hood is gonna eat that like crazy.”
9. “Future” Feat. Ace Hood, Meek Mill, Wale, Vado and Big Sean
“Yeah, Big Sean, Ace Hood, Meek Mill, Vado and Wale all on one track. I call it the ‘Future’ because I feel like these are the young guys that are coming up in the game, they’re putting out hit records, they’re hustling and they’re doing a great job. I felt like they all needed to be on one track. There’s no hook. Everybody’s having fun, spitting some bars. Big Sean’s got his own style. Ace Hood’s got his own style. Meek, Wale and Vado… It’s just one of them hip-hop records that hip-hop will appreciate.”
10. “The Life” Feat. Akon and B.O.B.
“My Life” was produced by the team… actually my engineer and my mix engineer, Lu Diaz. When I heard the track, I felt like I needed to put Akon on there. Akon and I have always made great records. I felt like it [“The LIfe”] needed to be one of them records where it talks about the struggle, the life. Akon does that well with the tone of his voice. I wanted to put B.O.B. because I felt like the track was calling for his vocals with the guitars. And [with] think the topic, it made sense. I’ve been following B.O.B. and I respect his story. A lot of people slept on him when he first came out and he showed them. [He] became one of the biggest selling artists, had number one records and touched different genres, so I had to respect him. I think it’s a great record that all type of people can like — hip-hop, rock & roll people. Everybody will like it.
11. “A Million Lights” Feat. Tyga, Cory Gunz, Mack Maine, Jae Millz and Kevin Rudolf
“‘A Million Lights.’ I love it because it’s the Young Money camp. It’s dope because it’s a record we sampled, me, The Runners and Monart. We had Kevin Rudolf sing the hook. We found a sample and it was some rock record and we wanted Kevin Rudolf to sing the hook and re-sing the hook. I just felt like it had that bounce that Young Money has. It’s a fun record. I think Tyga, Cory Gunz, Mack Maine and Jae Millz made it into a hit record. The title explains it all: ‘A Million Lights.'”
12. “Welcome to My Hood (Remix)” Feat. Ludacris, T-Pain, Busta Rhymes, Mavado, Twista, Birdman, Ace Hood, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Bun B, The Game and Waka Flocka
“The remix to ‘Welcome to My Hood’ was basically me letting everybody know, ‘don’t play with me.’ Meaning as in, ‘I do this.’ That was just me in the studio saying, ‘You know what? I’m gonna make a remix and I’m gonna put this guy on it and this guy on it.’ There’s too many people to name, like 100 people on one record. I actually had to stop myself because it just kept getting so long. It [‘Welcome to My Hood (Remix)’] just showed how everybody got love for the hood and spit amazing bars. I got the chance to speak my mind on the record as well on some verse tip. It’s a classic, that goes in the historical books of remixes.”