Some musical releases are so manicured that you have to wonder if it’s even appropriate to label the result music. As an exercise in constructing pop music, rather than making it, DJ Khaled lays claim to being a modern master.

A 7-million-follwer-man on Instagram, sometime judge on America’s Got Talent, human pitch-machine for big-name brands and Snapchat king, DJ Khaled’s new long-player Grateful is an ode to music synthesised.

There’s more than an hour and half’s listening here, 23 songs, that speak of the best, the highest and the most. From DJ Khaled’s perspective, this music-making thing must be a tremendous laugh. The vast majority of tracks feature guest appearances – a completely mind-boggling assortment of A-Listers – to an extent that you might wonder if the main man felt at all guilty about his contribution to Grateful. Alongside Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Drake, there’s the quite silly idea that DJ Khaled’s infant son, Asahd (who is on the cover), is somehow deserving of a credit as an executive producer. Perhaps Khaled’s grateful that people seem to swallow the gag?

So, with that critique to one side, what’s the music like? Let’s start with the former Billboard No.1, Wild Thoughts featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller: it has a Latin guitar sample from Santana’s 1999 Maria Maria featuring The Product G&B, it has Khaled rapping a few lines and it has the talented Rihanna doing most of the work. You’d have to wonder if Khaled claims any credit for the work on Wild Thoughts, so minimal is his input. I hope she got paid.

Elsewhere, Beyoncé sings the house down on Shining. There’s the Bieber doing vocals on I’m The One and Minaj is dynamite on Nobody. Jay-Z, Rick Ross and Nas come along for the all-star rap-ride too. And Drake – you can read our review of that album here – does his best on To The Max.

Overall, the glitzy names and attempts at even bigger tunes are weighed down by some less than stellar moments. No matter what you feel about DJ Khaled’s efforts here, he’s put himself in the position to be outshone by some very talented people, which they have done, gratefully.

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