DJ Khaled's Father of Asahd album is here, and while it features some of the biggest names in music, one of Khaled's most special collaborations on the 15-track project is with the late, great Nipsey Hussle.
During the legendary hitmaker's iHeartRadio Album Release Party in New York City Monday (May 20), Khaled remembered his friend and collaborator by discussing the making of their new track "Higher," which additionally features John Legend. "[Nipsey] represented love," Khaled began. "When I recorded this song I really felt the spirit of love on another level from him. I thank God he let me work with a king like him."
"We got in the studio and I'm gonna be honest, I cried a few times," he explained, saying he knew just how impactful the song would be, even before it was finished. Khaled added that when he listens to it now, he feels Nipsey's presence. "It's beautiful 'cause at the same time the record plays, it gives me goosebumps. It's a feeling that I feel the whole world feels. I'm just happy we got to make a record that the whole world can hear to continue his greatness [...] to keep the legacy going on forever ... the marathon continues."
Khaled also recalled the conversations he had with Nipsey before they made the track, detailing how he instantly knew it would be a hit. "I told Nip we were gonna win a Grammy for this song, the album, I told him that, so God willing," he told the audience, before revealing another unknown fact about "Higher.
"What's so special about the song is [...] he told he me he'd just built a new studio and said this is the first record, that verse, he recorded in the new studio," Khaled revealed.
As fans know, 100% proceeds from "Higher" will be going directly to the late rapper's children — Emani, 10, and Kross, 2 — which Khaled recently detailed in a post on social media. "Recently, I embarked on a soul-searching journey down a road I never thought I would travel in a million years. It began when a tragedy robbed the world of an enlightened soul, a brother, a father, a partner and my friend, Nipsey Hussle," Khaled wrote, before revealing that just days before Nipsey was murdered, "he shared his energy and positivity with me on a video set for a song called 'Higher.' After much prayer and reflection; and with the full blessing of the Asghedom family, I am sharing that moment with the world."
"The very title of the song reminds us that vibrating on a 'Higher' level was the essence of Nipsey's soul," Khaled's statement continued. "It is in this spirit, of moving forward, of preserving his mission that I, my co-writers, producers and label partner are donating 100% of all our proceeds from 'Higher' to Nipsey's children, Emani and Kross."
During his Monday album release party, Khaled additionally spoke about how Father of Asahd is his "biggest" album yet. "I'm gonna make every song on the album the one," he explained of his thought process when making his new LP. "I wanted to make every song on the album, my single. I just felt like my 11th album, if we're going to be a leader in this game we have to go to extra heights."
Khaled previously told iHeartRadio, "number 11 is the next chapter."
"More success, more blessings, and more wins. I challenged myself," he continued. "I wanted not only to evolve, but I wanted to make records and every time I made a record, I was so excited to shoot the video, and I knew it was a hit anthem. But, I kept saying to myself, 'Man, inspire me to make another one, and another one, and another one.' I just kept making them. And I kept shooting the videos and I kept putting everything in I can. What I learned through this process is about being disciplined and also being patient for me to give the radio world and my fans and my listeners and just all my supporters a presentation of an album of full of greatness. I didn't want to settle. I didn't settle for nothing. I made sure I did everything to the fullest."
DJ Khaled iHeartRadio Album Release Party Setlist
- "Wish Wish" featuring Cardi B and 21 Savage
- "Jealous" featuring Big Sean, Chris Brown, and Lil Wayne
- "Just Us" featuring SZA
- "You Stay" featuring Meek Mill, J Balvin, Lil Baby, and Jeremih
- "Higher" featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend
- "Freak N You" featuring Lil Wayne and Gunna
- "Celebrate" featuring Post Malone and Travis Scott
Father of Asahd is out now!
Photos: Katherine Typer and Rachel Kaplan for iHeartRadio