If you were able to get Ludacris, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes and Nelly, plus R&B superstars Usher and John Legend, all to appear on your album, you would probably have no doubt it would be the hottest thing out there. Thus, you can hardly blame DJ Khaled for titling his latest project Victory. The DJ-turned-exec has never been shy about declaring success, and with access to so much top talent, why not act like he’s got the game wrapped up, right?
After an intro that quickly makes the listener wish the more mellow version of Busta Rhymes showed up for work, the album starts out promising enough. Luda, Ross and Snoop join forces with T-Pain for the boastful “All I Do Is Win,” getting the energy level high on a track by DJ Nasty and L.V.M. Even better is “Fed Up,” which was the official lead single and teams Jeezy and Ross with men of the moment Drake and Lil Wayne, with Weezy sounding more focused than he has on most of his recent appearances. Usher lends a hand on the chorus and a half-sung, half-rapped verse that’s cleverer than you might expect. Traditionalists may prefer the title track, which really can’t go wrong considering it’s two verses of Nas spitting with John Legend doing the chorus. The Inkredibles make “Victory” their lone contribution to the album, and Nas is right at home backed by the piano loop and rolling drums.
Sadly, all of those highlights come in the first 20 minutes of the disc. The remaining tracks don’t leave much of an impression, with titles like “Rockin’ All My Chains On” and “Bring the Money Out” correctly suggesting not too much should be expected. It doesn’t help that The Runners and Schife and OhZee make a bunch of the songs sound pretty similar as well. It was rumored that The Neptunes and Cool & Dre were going to do some of the beats, but that either turned out to be false or their contributions ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor. Too bad.
With a couple of good singles followed by material that is destined to be easily forgotten, Victory is decent but nothing spectacular. That’s not the worst thing in the world, but with his clout and his large group of talented friends, you can’t help but think that Khaled was aspiring to something a little higher than that.
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