Major Key (album)

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Major Key
DJKhaledMajorKeyCover.jpg
Studio album by DJ Khaled
Released July 29, 2016 (2016-07-29)
Recorded 2015–2016
Genre
Length 57:53
Label
Producer
DJ Khaled chronology
I Changed a Lot
(2015)I Changed a Lot2015
Major Key
(2016)
Grateful
(2017)Grateful2017
Singles from Major Key
  1. "For Free"
    Released: June 3, 2016
  2. "I Got the Keys"
    Released: July 4, 2016
  3. "Holy Key"
    Released: July 22, 2016
  4. "Do You Mind"
    Released: July 28, 2016

Major Key (stylized as Major 🔑) is the ninth studio album by American musician DJ Khaled. It was released on July 29, 2016, by We the Best Music Group and Epic Records. The album features guest appearances from Future, Big Sean, Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Drake, Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Betty Wright, J. Cole, Bryson Tiller, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, August Alsina, Jeremih, Kodak Black, Jeezy, French Montana, YG, Yo Gotti, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Jadakiss, Fabolous, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes, Kent Jones, Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Meghan Trainor, Wiz Khalifa, Wale and Mavado.[2]

The album was supported by four singles: "For Free", "I Got the Keys", "Holy Key" and "Do You Mind". Major Key received generally positive reviews from critics and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200. The album was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in November 2016. It received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album.[3]

Background[edit]

The album's title and themes originate from Khaled's recently raised profile in social media. In late 2015, Khaled became highly popular on Snapchat, sharing his advice that he calls his "keys to success", utilizing the 'key' emoji as a symbol of his knowledge.[4] The album's title is also a play on words, alluding simultaneously to the major mode and songs being performed in a major key. Some songs featured in this album, like "For Free" featuring Drake, have Khaled announcing the album name in the beginning of the song, shortly after announcing his record label, like in many other recent songs.

Release and promotion[edit]

On April 12, 2016, DJ Khaled announced that he has signed a record deal to Epic Records. He also made the announcement that the title to the album would be called Major Key.[5] On April 18, DJ Khaled joined Beyoncé on her The Formation World Tour.[6] On Twitter, Future hinted that the song with DJ Khaled and Jay-Z was going to be a single for the album.[7] On May 28, 2016, DJ Khaled shot and posted a photo for the album cover artwork, featuring him sitting on a throne, and a bunch of flowers surrounding him and a live lion.[8]

Recording and production[edit]

In an interview with DJ Whoo Kid, record producer Southside revealed that he was producing a song for DJ Khaled, Jay-Z and Future's single.[9] In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, DJ Khaled spoke about the album and revealing on who the guest appearances stated "I've got another record with me, Future, and Jay Z. I want to clarify and make sure everybody knows that I have two verses from Jay Z on this record with me and Future. Amongst other artists, me and Kanye West, we talking right now about making something special. Me and Rick Ross. Ross is definitely on the album. Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Chris Brown, August Alsina, Travis Scott, the list goes on."[10] He also hinted that he was going to collaborate with artists such as Mariah Carey and Drake on his Snapchat and Instagram.[8] DJ Khaled slated that the album would have no more than 14 songs.[11]

Singles[edit]

The official lead single from Major Key, "For Free", was released on June 3, 2016.[12] The song features a guest appearance from Canadian rapper Drake, with production by Nineteen85 and Jordan Ullman. The track premiered on Beats 1, during an interview with Zane Lowe and Khaled.[13]

The official second single from Major Key, "I Got the Keys", was released on June 4, 2016. The song features guest appearances from American rappers Future and Jay-Z, with production by Southside, Jake One and G Koop.[14] The music video was released after the 2016 BET Awards.[15]

On July 22, 2016, DJ Khaled would premiered his third single from the album, "Holy Key" featuring Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean and Betty Wright, during episode 24 of his primetime radio show We The Best Radio on Beats 1 radio.[16]

"Do You Mind" featuring Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, August Alsina, Jeremih, Future and Rick Ross, was released as the fourth single on July 28, 2016.[17]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?6.1/10[18]
Metacritic67/100[19]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[20]
Consequence of SoundB–[1]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[21]
Exclaim!4/10[22]
HipHopDX3.2/5[23]
Pitchfork6.9/10[24]
PopMatters6/10[25]
RapReviews.com7/10[26]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[27]
Spin6/10[28]

Major Key received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 67, based on 11 reviews.[19] Andy Kellman of AllMusic said, "The contrast between Khaled's all-positive demeanor and his facilitation of buccaneering misogyny is stark as ever here, most evident in tracks like "Work It" and "Pick These Hoes Apart"."[20] KC Orcutt of Consequence of Sound said, "As might be expected from a record this big with a rolodex this wide-ranging, Major Key is an absolutely mixed bag. Khaled utilizes full-speed-ahead intensity, big room trap, and syrupy R&B, all without leaving room to breathe. But then again, Khaled's presence unifies Major Key."[1] Nolan Feeney of Entertainment Weekly said, "His bottomless stock of anthemic crowd-pleasers may not be game-changing, but few albums this year have come preloaded with this many obvious singles."[21] Scott Glaysher of HipHopDX said, "There are instances on this album that do prove Khaled's worth as a Hip Hop orchestrator in terms of matching high profile rappers with quality beats but unfortunately, they come too few and far between."[23] Kris Ex of Pitchfork said, "Like all of his albums, Major Key is a mixed bag, fitting for a maestro who traffics in a blend of chest-thumping and humility that's both as comical as it is prophetic."[24]

Steve "Flash" Juon of RapReviews.com said, "If you're not expecting an hour of profound wisdom from start to finish this is an ideal late summer mixtape to ride around to."[26] A. Harmony of Exclaim! said, "It starts off deceptively strong, with standouts like "I Got the Keys", "Nas Album Done" and "For Free" all loaded near the beginning. But once the album advances past this bit of clever sequencing, it barely strikes a chord."[22] Michael G. Barilleaux of No Ripcord said, "The production on this album is bearable and more or less gets the job done, but is mostly composed of bothersome loops. This leaves the bulk of the work to the emcees. And quite frankly, some show up, and some most certainly do not."[29] Nathaniel Schwass of PopMatters said, "While Major Key proves that DJ Khaled is not simply a meme, Khaled swings too hard and misses too often with each attempt at a radio hit."[25] Christopher R. Weingarten of Rolling Stone said, "As with every Khaled LP, the end result is a blast in small doses but a little bludgeoning taken as a whole."[27] Matthew Ramirez of Spin said, "The problem with the fantasy of a major Khaled Album though, is that, like a summer blockbuster, Major Key is too front-loaded."[28] At the end of the year, Major Key was named the 48th best album of 2016 by Complex,[30] while XXL ranked it 50th.[31]

Commercial performance[edit]

In its home country of the United States, Major Key debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, with 96,000 equivalent album units, marked Khaled's first number one album.[32] While it was the best-selling album of the week, selling 59,000 copies in its first week.[33] The album sales launch is DJ Khaled's second-biggest first week in his career, behind We the Best (2007).[32] In its second week, the album remained in the top ten at Billboard 200, fell to number seven, with 43,000 equivalent album units, it sold 12,000 copies.[34][35] On November 21, 2016, Major Key was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[36]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."I Got the Keys" (featuring Jay-Z and Future)3:39
2."For Free" (featuring Drake)3:03
3."Nas Album Done" (featuring Nas)
3:16
4."Holy Key" (featuring Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar and Betty Wright)
  • DJ Khaled
  • Edsclusive
  • Cool & Dre
4:41
5."Jermaine's Interlude" (featuring J. Cole)
Hollywood JB3:03
6."Ima Be Alright" (featuring Bryson Tiller and Future)
  • The Beat Bully
  • DJ Khaled
4:06
7."Do You Mind" (featuring Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, August Alsina, Jeremih, Future and Rick Ross)5:25
8."Pick These Hoes Apart" (featuring Kodak Black, Jeezy and French Montana)
  • Ben Billions
  • Dyryk
  • DJ Khaled[a]
4:51
9."Fuck Up the Club" (featuring Future, Rick Ross, YG and Yo Gotti)
  • DJ Khaled
  • Qolorsound
  • Cool & Dre
3:51
10."Work for It" (featuring Big Sean, Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz)4:50
11."Don't Ever Play Yourself" (featuring Jadakiss, Fabolous, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes and Kent Jones)
  • DJ Khaled
  • Qolorsound
  • Cool & Dre
5:31
12."Tourist" (featuring Travis Scott and Lil Wayne)4:33
13."Forgive Me Father" (featuring Meghan Trainor, Wiz Khalifa and Wale)
4:06
14."Progress" (performed by Mavado)
Mineral Boss Productions2:58
Total length:57:53

Track notes

  • ^a signifies a co-producer
  • "Jermaine's Interlude" contains additional vocals from EarthGang and J.I.D

Sample credits

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[36] Gold 500,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Major Key by DJ Khaled on Apple Music". Apple Inc. Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  3. ^ Unterberger, Andrew (December 6, 2016). "Grammy 2017: The Complete List of Nominees". Billboard. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  4. ^ McCluskey, Megan (January 8, 2016). "Understanding the Key Emoji and DJ Khaled's 'Major Keys to Success'". Time. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  5. ^ Platon, Adelle (April 12, 2016). "DJ Khaled Talks Reuniting With L.A. Reid for Epic Deal, 'Major Key' Album & Making Movies on Hot 97". Billboard. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  6. ^ Platon, Adelle (April 18, 2016). "DJ Khaled Joins Beyonce's Formation Tour". Billboard. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  7. ^ Diep, Eric (May 14, 2016). "Future and DJ Khaled Say Jay Z's New Song Is a Summer Anthem". Complex. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Smith, Trevor (May 28, 2016). "DJ Khaled Says The Drake Vocals Are In, Shoots "Major Key" Cover With Lion". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
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