Hot 100 Review: POPSTAR by DJ Khaled (feat. Drake)

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Watch the video: https://youtu.be/E66p1SlIe6g

For someone as big as DJ Khalid (no pun intended) it’s strange that I never covered any of his songs before. That’s more beneficial than it should be considering how his songs are always so hit and miss. This song is definitely a miss.

The song has a bad start. DJ Khaled has his signature phrases he likes to throw out to denote he helped make the songs. When they’re used for fine enough pop songs they kind of blend in and help set a tone. This time, not only does DJ Khaled use all three: “We the Best Music,” “Another One,” and his name, but it clashes with the tone of the rest of song. This is because the song, though it fails, is trying to be sadder song about being a popstar. It can’t do that when it has a loud mouth trying to hype you up only to get depressed about what being famous is like.

The song attempts, and mostly succeeds, at correcting this immediately with the chorus. The chorus is a microcosm of everything wrong with the song by brings up the main ideas it wants to tackle but doesn’t tie them together. The chorus Drake laments how women and cops constantly harrase him even has he gets to live the life of luxury, with the cops specifically harrasing him because they only see him as a dealer and criminal, not a popstar.

These lines clearly try to make living the high life sound like a terrible burden and that having all that wealth any money is hollow. He can do whatever he wants and have whatever he wants but it means nothing. This is supported by the first verse where he says how he wants to take 2020 (he can have it by the way) and makes a list of things he wants and can easily have. One of those being a pretty and honest woman. After some wordplay about a manager for pop stars he goes into trying to wooh the ladies by bragging about how much money he makes and how successful it is.

This is a trope Drake does often. He likes to tie success to unsuccessful relationships. The best one of these, and his best song ever, “Too Good” is all about that. This song feels more calculated and makes him come off worse. He just moans (and his singing does sound like moaning) about stuff he wants and brags about what he can have. The problem with doing that is how that will attract women who think bragging and spending money is important (Makes me think of the truly dreadful song “Make his pockets hurt”). Being shallow will get you shallow people in return. Too bad he doesn’t spend time talking about that.

After another chorus he goes into the second verse which is him just, I guess lamenting, it’s not clear, but he basically is shocked how successful he is even though he isn’t white. He doesn’t say that. He cites Justin Bieber as an example, but Drake was successful befor Bieber so that doesn’t make sense. Also he doesn’t bring in any more cop stuff even tough the chorus does, meaning he’s leaving a great verse untouched. It honestly makes this verse feel pointless because he doesn’t say anything.

It doesn’t help that the production is so slow, sleepy, and generic that when it mixes with his voice it’s easy to kind of get lost in the song and block out whole parts of it. It has no energy, which would be an interesting parallel to draw with how rich can be shallow and dull but nothing else supports that.

There is no video. There is a visualizer that goes with the Spotify version. It has an owl land on this key on stage as the music plays. Maybe that’s a reference to DJ Khaled and his thing with key to success, but hard to tell.

It’s hard to feel bad for people who have lots of money and feel empty. They need paychological help for sure if they’re depressed, but saying how you can just got to the Virgin Islands, get long texts from girls that like you and can ignore them, or get to travel in style, or make lobster for fun, or have a platinum visa credit card is basically bragging to all those who are currently out of work and saying that they’re sad so you should feel bad for them. Just ignore the fact Drake could give so much of his money away and still have mansions, women, good looks, and opportunities to spare. It reminds me of the video for “God’s Plan” (that song is also a terrible trash fire) where he gave away the budget of the video to people in need. That was a great one time gesture, but you can do more. I do not feel bad for you when there are people you could help and saying you’re just a popstar is a cop out (that was targets for Drake, but DJ Khaled is the same way. He does even less and could give away his money to help).

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