I had straight A’s in Elementary School…a stat that doesn’t translate on Bumble as well as one might think. I was far from being a prodigy or some form of baby genius, but the curriculum came easy and my report card showed reciprocity. Of course, my prepubescent capacity is nothing to brag about now, but when put into context, my memorization of the Alphabet and pronunciation of words like “precipitation” and “mineral” were at least somewhat impressive. Add that to the fact that I could excuse myself for the bathroom in Spanish and my ability to keep crayons within the confines of the lines really made me an All Star. Yes, yes, Freudian Psychology would agree that I was developing just fine and my adolescent accolades were proof of that. Since the glory days of recess and line leaders though, my trophy case has since drawn dust, as my achievement was really only held with laud due to the fact that I was, well, a child. No one is impressed by the 23 year old guy who has mastered his multiplication tables; this esteem would only be granted to the youth. As a kid, everything is an achievement, but Asahd Khaled has done something no other infant has done today. You see, even at 40, Executive Producing a Platinum selling record is something that deserves an applause. Doing so at 7 months though? Prophetic.
DJ Khaled just dropped his 10th studio album last week, a 23 song track list staffed with a support team comprised of essentially every relevant hip hop/R&B artist under the sun. Travis Scott, Drake, Rihanna, Big Sean, Nas, ect all offer a verse or two on Grateful…purportedly under the tutelage and curation of Khaleds own new born son, Asahd. After first announcing Asahds role within the albums creation, critics and spectators alike scratched their head and pondered the obvious; how could a baby have executive produced a studio album? Deeper inquiry beckons a second question…what does an executive producer even do, if a mute, stroller-bound child can be accredited the position? Does this mean dollars signs for young Asahd ? Lastly, is any of this even deserved or is this the ultimate case of musical nepotism? Yes Boy yes boy yes boy !
The semantics of this twilight zone-esque idea isn’t too far off from what you probably expected. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, the first major announcement of Grateful and Asahds executive production responsibilities, Khaled explained that his son would emote a response on every song that was in the cards to make the final cut. Claps and bubbles were a green light. So was somber silence…for the “deeper” songs. The singles and songs to go platinum were met with a soiled diaper and vomit, a response Khaled called “the super blessings.” Essentially, Asahd was the gate keeper. Scenes from Gladiator come to mind, when the king decides the fallens fate with a simple thumbs up or down, sans red wine, plus a binky. Is that enough to deserve his title as EP?
Personally, I always found the Executive Producer title to be a bit ambiguous. Like a “business consultant,” what on Earth do they do all day? According to MediaMatch an “Executive Producer is in place to oversee the work of the producer on behalf of the studio, the financiers or the distributors. They will ensure the album is completed on time, within budget, and to agreed artistic and technical standards.” Our definition unfortunately isn’t helping young Asahds case, as there’s no way a new born can act as the bridge of communication between the artists and the studios forcing us to the conclusion that Asahds title was of course a born day gift from his mogul of a father. We can attempt to discredit the kid all we want and cry foul over the absurdity of it all, but it won’t change the fact that Asahd has points and royalties on Grateful. I’m sure the newborn has quite the trust fund set in place already, but it is confirmed that the worlds youngest executive will be banking off Grateful in perpetuity. Asahd has a payday coming his way at just 7 months of age, adolescent financial success only equatable to Gerber Babies. Of course, the kids in the lucky sperm club, but before we steal his title, understand that Asahds influence on the album was likely larger than any featured artists and possibly even DJ Khaleds himself. I’m hear to argue that the boy deserves every penny coming his way.
The music bizz is a strange jungle to be a habitant of. We’ve seen it all honesty… wardrobe malfunctions, overdoses of the 27 club, group fall outs, lots of sex, and little to no rules. Miraculously though, no other musical patriarch has granted their spawn royalty rights in the form Executive Production. It won’t be the first time, nor the last time that DJ Khaled trail blazes a new method with his inherent madness.
There’s a loophole in the contract though, one that gives Asahd a little more leeway when it comes to his financial ties to Grateful. Presumably, the executive producer umbrellas a role the record companies label “creative director.” When it comes to the creative approach on Grateful, it’s factual that Asahd had momentous impact over his father, who outspokenly has said that his son was his inspiration for the project. With that, Asahd is the artists muse, a role that can’t be understated when it comes to music and the arts. Artists from the dawn of time have been attributing their success to forces outside of themselves. Whether it be through nature, worldly events, signs of the times, or other people, artists have been on record for millennia, saying that their art is a direct result of the inspiration they found outside of themselves. Here is a list to provide some more context, a roster of all time artistic greats and the inspirations that triggered some of their best work. With that, it can be argued that some art can’t even be accredited to the talent of the artist, rather the inception of the piece came at the hands of the almighty, all powerful, and all encompassing MUSE.
Ever since Khaled brought his baby into the world, his social media following and fans alike have been enamored by the love the DJ has for his offspring. While all children are said to be the apple of their parents eyes, Khaled pushes that envelope even further, exemplifying the unconditional love that is expected to be shared between a father and his son. The duo is inseparable and it wouldn’t be a stretch for me to say that DJ Khaleds life revolves around Asahd. The effect the kid has had on his father is apparent…the charismatic DJ has been expelling more energy and lust for life than ever before and it translates into the album on an equally obvious level. By no means is Grateful childish, but there is certainly a youthful exuberance…I doubt the hip hop mogul would allow Chance the Rapper to recite the ABCs on I Love You So Much nor would the outro be called Thank You Asahd if he wasn’t predicating the albums success with the inspiration he found in parenthood.
In a few more years, Asahd will become privy to the silver spoon he will be eating from throughout his existence on planet Earth. The businessman is quick to take credit for his work, the artist is even quicker to express gratitude to the forces that dictated theirs. There is an understanding in the industry that nothing is ever new, ideas are simply recreated and recycled into new ventures. Art without inspiration is graffiti and even spray painted profanity was triggered by something external. Asahd is sitting on a nest egg with more commas than most will ever see. Sure, you’ll say it’s not fair…Khaled will say say he wouldn’t have it any other way.