We're four months into 2016 and while DJ Khaled has had many good years, this might be the first he can lay any real claim on being the best.
In February, Khaled aligned himself with Apple Music for a weekly We The Best radio show and also acquired management through Jay Z’s Roc Nation. And then last week he announced that his We The Best imprint has signed a deal with L.A Reid and Epic Records, guaranteeing the label boss will continue to suffer mightily from success for some time to come.
Along with the new album announcement, Khaled is also searching for the next superstar. In that Instagram post he wrote, “When it comes to breaking new artists, no one does it better than We The Best Music!” A double-take inducing statement considering that while there's no denying Khaled broke himself to the masses, he has yet to do it for anyone else.
Ace Hood is the only artist that Khaled has presented to the world that has gone on to have a moderately successful career. During T-Pain’s height, “Cash Flow” put Ace on the map in 2008. Hood stayed relevant with anthems like “Hustle Hard” and “Bugatti,” but the last few summers have came and went without a new banger from the Florida native. If it feels like Meek Mill came along and snatched Ace Hood's shout-rap spot, that feels about right.
Outside of Ace, who can Khaled take credit for? Currently, his We The Best roster includes Hood, Mavado, Vado, and someone named Steph Lecor. That's it. Mavado was well-known prior to signing in 2011, and Vado's rise to a lukewarm blog presence is thanks to Cam’ron, not Khaled. For all of Khaled's presence and his deep Rolodex of famous friends, he hasn't actually done much for the artists actually signed to his own label.
Can DJ Khaled make a rapper into a bigger star than himself? It’s a question that I’ve wondered for years. His greatest skill seemed to be bringing together big names to make big records, not taking someone unknown and putting them into households around the globe. Is he really certified to run a label? Where are the receipts to back it up?
It might be time to change the phrase from “We The Best” to “I’m The Best.” Truthfully, he is. He is the best at marketing, the best at promoting, the best at motivating, the best at social media, but far from the best label head. Until he proves otherwise, DJ Khaled is just a famous face with a full belly who will promise you the same while mostly feeding you self-help quotes.
Khaled has Apple Music’s radio program, Roc Nation’s management and now EpicRecords backing and distribution. It’s quite the threesome to be wedged between. His major keys have unlocked the door into a kingdom of possibilities. There’s no doubt that Khaled will only become an even bigger giant, but as he grows it will make those around him appear as shrimps.
What good is a king with a starving kingdom?
Correction: It appears that Kent Jones is also signed to We the Best. Jones has yet to put out an album with the label and his biggest song to date has been "Don't Mind."