DJ Khaled’s New Album: God Shouldn’t Have


Epic Records

‘God Did,’ DJ Khaled’s thirtheenth studio album was released on Aug 26, 2022

Katya Roudakov, A&E Editor

DJ Khaled released his thirteenth album, “God Did,” on Aug. 26, and one thing is abundantly clear: God shouldn’t have. In all seriousness, this album is an absolute dumpster fire that took good, decent artists and crammed them into a box so small it juiced them of all originality. The common denominator of all 18 tracks is a tasteless, dusty beat: DJ Khaled’s evil mark.

Maybe it’s the unlucky number 13 — or maybe it’s DJ Khaled’s blatant lack of skill. Regardless, “God Did” is a listening experience that can only be compared to laying on a bed of nails in the middle of a pitch-black soundproofed room. Uncomfortable, mildly painful, and extremely unstimulating. While its sales might not show this album’s true colors, its number of streams definitely does. Even 12 days after its release, only one feature-rich song has broken 10 million streams on Spotify (excluding the lead single), pitiful for someone with over 35 million monthly listeners.

As much as I hate to do it, it’s time to subject you to the finest this dreadful album has to offer.

USE THIS GOSPEL (remix) (feat. Eminem, Ye)

After a drab intro and a generic title track, I really did have hope for this one. Legends like Eminem and Ye — surely even DJ Khaled couldn’t ruin a song like this, right? Wrong. Right off the bat, Khaled assaults our ears with a Home-Depot-y beat, full of horns, bells, and dated drum sounds straight off of a patriotic country-rock album. The bars are good enough, and Ye’s melody isn’t bad, but the absurdly dramatic track drowns it all out. That’s not to mention the entirely out of place dubstep beat drop that seems to function as a grand finale. It’s as if the producer took hip hop, country, gospel, EDM, and a little bit of over-filtered electric guitar, and put it all in a blender. If DJ Khaled wasn’t on this song, it would be great.

STAYING ALIVE (feat. Drake, Lil Baby) 

This song does more than ruin a classic. DJ Khaled’s additions to the sample of the Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive” are entirely out of place and do the bare minimum. If you’re going to sample one of the catchiest songs of all time, why not use it? Instead, Khaled has Drake monotonously repeat “I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m staying alive,” just barely on pitch, and throws on a generic trap beat with muddled 808s. Drake’s lyrics are frustrating in and of themselves: Drake, the top-selling individual artist of all time, rapping about how hard he fights to stay alive. Maybe it would mean something if Drake was an underdog, a new guy on the scene, but he isn’t. It comes off as out of touch and annoying. Lil Baby is unremarkable. A waste of a Bee Gees sample.

LET’S PRAY (feat. Don Toliver, Travis Scott) 

Back at it again with the corny, dark bells. Three different producer tags start off this song, which is only a little bit concerning when you consider this is meant to be a DJ Khaled song. Personally, I think we should have left melodramatic beats and verses about god in 2018, but this entire album serves to change my mind. My biggest issue with this song isn’t even the flavorless piano chord buildup with no release — it’s the lyrics. The refrain is “I know you pray to God when you want something from me / I know you pray to god when you want some,” and while I’m an atheist, I don’t believe we should be making innuendos about god. It’s the same issue seen in most of the songs on this album, where people rap about how god wanted them to become rich and famous. I don’t think it quite works like that.

THE STREETS KNOW MY NAME (feat. Bounty Killer, Buju Banton, Capleton, Sizzla, Skillibeng) 

This is the one truly redeeming track of this album. If you ignore the persistent airhorn, and if you’ve gotten used to the concept of a disappointing beat, I think you’ll find this track is listenable. The killer lineup of Jamaican artists is what sets it apart; each of them have enough personality to overpower the mediocre, verging-on-terrible backing track. It’s also got lyrics that extend just a bit farther than your standard DJ Khaled feature verse. If anything, this is painful to listen to, since it lets you know exactly what this album could’ve sounded like if some of the other artists branched out past the cookie-cutter beats Khaled provided them with. It’s powerful not because of the DJ but because of the artists, and it’s receiving a disgracefully low amount of streams.

“God Did” is chock-full of beats that any 12 year old with GarageBand could’ve made, and it’s obvious that DJ Khaled wasn’t encouraging any creative input from artists. He left no room for most of them to make any sort of impact, and the theme of “God” only narrowed it down more and led to some disconcerting bars. God believing in you is fine, but when his will extends beyond safety, food, and happiness and reaches heaps of luxury… it gets a little dodgy.

This album is a stain for anyone whose name is on it, and in the future DJ Khaled should be kept far away from any music studios. It’s clear he’s past his prime.

This story won First Place Critical Review from CSMA.