Review: DJ Khaled’s ‘I Wanna Be With You’ Is Saved By Nicki Minaj’s Comic Relief

Barbie outshines the boys once again

It didn’t take long for savvy observers to come to the conclusion that DJ Khaled’s over-the-top video marriage proposal to Nicki Minaj was all publicity and no sizzle. But even the most cynical of rap fans could not imagine that a wedding query to his bodacious Young Money label mate—complete with a spectacular 10 karat diamond ring—was merely a set-up to his latest single “I Wanna Be With You,” featuring Minaj, Future, and Rick Ross. One would be tempted to call Khaled’s follow-up to his popular Drake, Lil Wayne and the aforementioned Rozay-assisted single “No New Friends” corporate hip-hop at its most blatantly glorious.

According to the credits, the cookie-cutting “I Wanna Be With You” is produced by Lee On The Beats, with co-production given to Mr. WE THE BEST himself, a fact that will most likely further annoy detractors of the veteran music industry player who are still trying to figure out what exactly are Khaled’s primary talents. But before we dig more into that can of sardines, how’s the actual record? With a sleepwalking Future handling chorus duties (as the hook suggest seemingly 100 times over, the man just “wanna be with you…”), Minaj cuts into the monotonous run with one of her most hilarious, no-frills rhymes in a minute, giving a foul mouth, unintentional nod to former rival Lil Kim. “Niggas be fallin’ in love with this pussy/Mean stew chicken, and bake ‘em a couple of cookies/Dick on veteran/Ain’t fucking with rookies, shot a high school video and now we wanna play hooky.”

Ross throws in his prerequisite drug czar ambitions admitting, “All I talk is cocaine/White tee and these rope chains/Blow the roof back—Kurt Cobain.” But even as you ponder just how many more times rappers will continue to use the suicidal death of the ‘90s rock icon as a punchline, Khaled’s gift as a major talent broker is once again on full display. Indeed, no one has ever said that the Miami-based DJ, who doubles essentially as popular music’s most dependable A&R, cannot quarterback a hit. But maybe in the near future Khaled will use his considerable power to create something more on the adventurous side. —Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)