In the past few years, DJ Khaled has gone from rap impresario to one of the most popular personalities in all of pop culture. His command of social media, his penchant for catchphrases (“Another One,” “Major Key”), and of course, his relationship with his infant son Asahd, who is credited as an executive producer, have done much to bolster this image, while Khaled continues to notch countless radio hits.
Now, with a larger audience than ever before, and the release of his latest album Grateful right around the corner, Khaled (born Khaled Mohamed Khaled) has assembled one of the most staggering roll calls of artists and musical forces in modern music. From producers and emcees to crossover singers, its become clear that Grateful is set to be Khaled’s most impressive release to date. Check out every confirmed guest feature below.
In a recent interview with Los Angeles radio station Power 106, Khaled confirmed that RiRi will lend her talented vocals to the album. It is unknown whether the “Work” singer will get a track all to herself or whether she will feature alongside a lineup of fellow artists, but Khaled did make her involvement clear when he insist that host J. Cruz asked him if “the Rihanna vocals [came] in yet.” Khaled’s answer? “Be ready.” This will be the first time Rihanna has appeared on a Khaled album.
Watch the full Power 106 interview here.
In that same Power 106 interview, Khaled also spoke on his relationship with Nas, and whether or not the legendary emcee will appear, given his guest spot on the standout track “Nas Album Done” from Khaled’s 2016 album Major Key. Khaled confirmed Nas’ return, telling J. Cruz that he “has a message for ya’ll on my album.” This is good news for longtime Nas listeners, as they’ve been waiting on new material from him since the release of his 2012 album Life Is Good. Watch the music video for Nas and Khaled’s collaboration “Nas Album Done” below.
3. Mariah Carey & Travis Scott
DJ Khaled started 2017 off with a bang when he posted Instagram photos of himself in the studio with pop icon Mariah Carey. And while the combination of Khaled and Carey is enough to confuse most people (and for good reason), the hip-hop personality upped the “Huh?” factor by including emcee/producer Travis Scott in the recording sessions. “We just vibin’,” Khaled writes in the Instagram caption, tagging the label of both artists, and dropping some major hints to fans that a collaboration could be on the way.
While it remains to be seen what a Mariah Carey and Travis Scott record–with Khaled’s ad-libs– might sound like, the notion does remain one of the most fascinating as we head into the last leg of promotion for Grateful. Khaled and Scott previously collaborated on the song “Tourist” in 2016.
4. Chance The Rapper
Chance The Rapper has quickly become one of the most promising artists in hip-hop, with universal praise, cultural awareness, and three Grammy Awards preceding his already spotless reputation. Despite this, the Chicago emcee has been pretty stingy when it comes to guest verses, doling them out only to close collaborators like Action Bronson, Kanye West, and Macklemore. This looks as though it will change on Grateful, as Chance is slated to appear alongside Khaled and a staggering array of artists on the track “The One.” Khaled even posted an Instagram photo of him and Chance to commemorate their first ever collaboration. Hopefully, it won’t be their last.
5. Justin Bieber
Whether or not you like Justin Bieber, it’s tough to deny the musical comeback he pulled off in 2016. The pop superstar scored massive singles like “What Do You Mean?” and “Sorry,” while “Love Yourself” earned him Grammy nominations for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. And while he’s been relatively quiet on the music front in 2017 (barring a remix with Luis Fonsi), Bieber has been confirmed to appear alongside Khaled and Chance on “The One.” The Biebs was subsequently spotted during the shoot for the accompanying music video, while Khaled also gave the singer a shout-out for his 23rd birthday in March.
Over the years, Quavo has proven himself to be the most charismatic member of the hip-hop trio Migos. Whether originating “The Dab” or killing features alongside guys like Travis Scott and Young Thug, it seems like there isn’t a hot song these days that doesn’t include Quavo (born Quavious Marshall) and his quotable ad-libs. So, in what seems like a no-brainer, DJ Khaled has recruited the emcee to add some fire to “The One” alongside Chance The Rapper and Justin Bieber.
And while the artwork for the single lists Quavo as the sole Migos emcee to appear on the track, other Khaled posts have include appearances from Offset and Takeoff. Whether the other Migos are just dropping in for a music video cameo or to drop guest verses elsewhere on Grateful remains to be seen. In the meantime, check out their previous collaboration with Khaled– the title track of their latest album Culture— below.
7. Lil Wayne
Khaled’s affiliation with Lil Wayne dates back nearly a decade. Since the mid-2000s, the hip-hop mainstays have collaborated on hits like “Holla At Me” (2006), “We Takin’ Over” (2007), “Brown Paper Bag” (2007),” and “No Motive” (2013). Now, the man commonly referred to as Weezy F. Baby will provide a guest verse on the jam-packed posse cut “The One.” Like Nas, this feature is a promising sign for Wayne fans, as the emcee has been struggling to get a proper release for his long-awaited album Tha Carter V.
The most recent report on the album has been from Cash Money boss Birdman in February, who claimed that it would be out before the end of the year. Watch the video for Khaled and Wayne’s latest collaboration, “How Many Times” (2016), below.
8. Beyoncé & Jay-Z
This one’s pretty obvious. Hip-hop’s power couple has been confirmed to appear on Grateful ever since the release of the single “Shining” in February. Build around a stuttering sample of Osunlade’s 2013 song “Dionne,” “Shining” received positive reviews from music critics, with Pitchfork praising its mesh of “adult contemporary rap” with “moments of ecstasy.”
The Independent also thought positively of the sing, writing: “The song shows three heavyweights bringing all their talents to the party– DJ Khaled has served up a smooth, crisp beat, Beyoncé delivers an awesome attitude-laden verse and then Jay-Z steps in with a new sense of life, he’s back to best bars on this.” The single artwork features Khaled’s newborn son, Asahd, dressed in a tuxedo.
Similar to Lil Wayne, Future’s presence on a DJ Khaled album has become a tradition. Their past collaborations– “Hold You Down” (2014), “Do You Mind” 2016), “I Got The Keys” (2016)– have yielded massive success, and it looks as though the streak will continue on Grateful. Khaled posted a photo of him and Future on Instagram in March that came with the caption: “Texting my son @asahdkhaled letting him know we got more @future verses and more hooks on #GRATEFUL. NOTICE HOW I SAID MORE!!!”
Ignoring any and all subtlety, Khaled has made it clear that Future will have a heavy presence on the album, whether it be singing song choruses or providing actual bars. Future Hendrix even got in on the Grateful spirit, exclaiming “Major Bag Alert!” in an Instagram video. Check it out below.
10. Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj has made plenty of headlines lately for her feuds with Remy Ma and Meek Mill, but it looks as though the self-appointed “Queen of Hip-Hop” is getting back to the music with a guest spot on Grateful. Khaled announced her involvement on Instagram with a photo of them together and the caption: “AYO JUAN! Turn @nickiminaj vocals up! #GRATEFUL THE ALBUM ITS COMING!” This isn’t the first time Minaj and Khaled have collaborated. They teamed up with Chris Brown, Rick Ross, and Lil Wayne for “Take It Down,” the Kiss the Ring single which was certified gold in 2012. Check out the music video below.
11. Rick Ross
Khaled and Rick Ross have lots in common, from their looming physical presence to their hometown of Miami. This connection has led to a massive number of street anthems like “I’m So Hood” (2007), “Out Here Grindin” (2008), “All I Do Is Win” (2010), and “No New Friends” (2013). With this in mind, Rozay was the closest to a guaranteed return for Grateful, and Khaled confirmed as much when he posted (you guessed it) a photo of him and the Kingpin emcee on Instagram. “When you see my hand go up like this jus know ANOTHER ONE! #GRATEFUL THE ALBUM IS COMING!” Khaled writes in the caption, “You already when me @richforever get in studio it’s more [fire emoji]! FAN LUV I GOT US!!” Check out the music video for “No New Friends” below.
12. Big Sean
Big Sean and Khaled have had a brief, albeit beneficial working relationship. The G.O.O.D. Music emcee appeared on “Holy Key” from Khaled’s 2016 album that saw him laying waste to a bombastic beat and chorus from Betty Wright. Alongside Kendrick Lamar, Sean put his flow and rubbery cadence to good use, and the results made for one of the album’s standout cuts. Khaled took the Instagram route yet again when it came to Grateful, posting a photo of him and Sean in the studio with the caption: “Ayo @bigsean did the @bigsean vocals come in yet!! EveryTING TOP SECRET!! #GRATEFUL THE ALBUM COMING!!”
13. Alicia Keys
This one is pretty surprising. Alicia Keys, the universally respected songstress behind classics like “Fallin,” “If I Ain’t Got You,” and “No One” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of grand, swaggering DJ Khaled albums. If anything, they seem more compatible with Keys’ husband, producer Swizz Beatz, who shares Khaled’s gift for catchy hooks and earworm ad-libs.
Nevertheless, Khaled posted an Instagram photo of him and Keys working in the studio. There wasn’t much mentioned in the photo’s caption (“#GRATEFUL THE ALBUM ITS COMING!!”), but its clear that she’s laid down vocals for the album and can be expected to appear on at least one of the new tracks.
14. 2 Chainz
2 Chainz and Khaled sparked online rumors when an Instagram clip of them was posted in the studio. Released shortly after Chainz’s upcoming album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music was delayed indefinitely, it showed the two charismatic personalities listening to unreleased music from both Pretty Girls and Grateful. The caption that came with the clip read: “@djkhaled and I played each other our albums the other day, jus know that #grateful and #prettygirlsliketrapmusic is gonna be something to talk about!”
Needless to say, this led to speculation that Chainz would be dropping a guest verse on Khaled’s new project, and perhaps even vice versa. Given their chemistry on past songs like “I Don’t See ‘Em” (2012), “You Don’t Want These Problems” (2013) and “Work For It” (2016), this thought process isn’t much of a stretch. Listen to the latter collaboration below.
Despite the impressive names that have been mentioned in connection to this album, none have proven as exciting–or elusive–as Drake. Khaled first teased the existence of “Drake vocals” in March, and what began as a humorous play-by-play on social media quickly became a prime example of Khaled’s marketing savvy. Khaled even told Asahd that he had to go on a “top secret mission” to locate Drake and secure his vocals in a series of Instagram videos that you can check out below.
Needless to say, Drake eventually coughed over the vocals, but not before getting in some jokes of his own with an uncanny DJ Khaled impression and a series of Instagram clips that showed the two hip-hop titans in the studio together. Check out their most recent collaboration, “For Free” (2016), below.