Song of the Day #1,104: ‘I’m On One’ – DJ Khaled (featuring Drake, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne)

Here’s one of those all-star rap collaborations that crop up all over the place. It’s interesting how rap is the one genre where it’s expected that everybody shows up on everybody else’s records.

Certainly there are guest stars and collaborations on albums of all sorts (the new Brad Paisley features duets with Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton and Don Henley) but in rap, it’s an expectation.

First you have the apprenticeship phase, where a rapper makes guest appearances on other people’s albums before releasing his own. Eminem made his splash rapping alongside Dr. Dre before he dropped his first solo album. Nicki Minaj had done about a dozen celebrated guest turns before her album came out. It’s an effective way to introduce an artist to the fans and build excitement so that even a debut album can be a smash hit upon release.

Probably the most famous example of the phenomenon is Snoop Doggy Dogg, who was featured all over Dr. Dre’s album The Chronic. When his debut album, Doggystyle, was released a year later it sold 800,000 copies in a week, a record for a first album.

But those guest appearances don’t stop once an artist is established. Snoop Dogg would go on to record on records by Tupac, Nate Dogg, N.W.A., Eminem, 50 Cent and many more. Hell, even Mariah Carey and Katy Perry. And that’s common throughout the genre. The Grammys should give a best supporting actor trophy to rappers.

When an album is released by a DJ rather than a rapper, guest appearances are a necessity. DJ Khaled, a Palestinian mix-master who lives in Pembroke Pines, Florida (not very gangsta, let me tell you), recruited a star-studded lineup to rap on his latest album, We the Best Forever.

On this track, the fast-charting single ‘I’m the One,’ he brought in Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross. I’m not very familiar with Ross, but I just looked him up and was highly amused to learn that he suffered a major loss of street cred when it was discovered that he worked as a Florida corrections officer for a year and a half in the early 90s.

(Get em on)
I’m on one
(Get em on)
I’m on one
(Get em on)
I said I’m on one

[Drake]
I’m getting so throwed
I aint work this hard since I was 18
Apologise if I say, anything I don’t mean
Like whats up with your best friend?
We could all have some fun, believe me
And whats up with these new niggas?
And why they think it all comes so easy

But get it while you here boy
Cause all that hype don’t feel the same next year boy
Yeah and I’ll be right here in my spot with a little more cash than I already got
Trippin off you cause you had your shot
With my skin tanned and my hair long
And my fans who been so patient, me and 40 back to work but we still smell like a vacation
Hate the rumours, hate the bullshit
Hate these fucking allegations, I’m just feeling like the throne is for the taking
Watch me take it!

[Drake – Chorus]
All I care about is money and the city that I’m from
I’ma sip until I feel it, I’ma smoke it till it’s done
And I don’t really give a f-ck, and my excuse is that I’m young
And I’m only getting older so somebody shoulda told ya

I’m on one
Yeah, f-ck it, I’m on one
Yeah, I said I’m on one
F-ck it, I’m on one

Two white cups and I got that drink
Could be purple, it could be pink
Depending on how you mix that shit
Money that we got, never get that shit

Cause I’m on one
I said fuck it I’m on one

[Rick Ross]
I’m burning purple flowers
It’s burning my chest
I bury the most cash and burning the rest
Walking on the clouds, suspended in thin air
Do ones beneath me recognise the red bottoms I wear
Burner in the belt
Move the kids to the hills (BOSS)
Bend shawty on the sink, do it for the thrill
Kiss you on ya neck and tell ya everything is great
Even though I out on bond I might be facin’ 8′s
Still running with the same niggas til the death of me
Ever seen a million cash, gotta count it carefully
Ever made love to the woman of your dreams
In a room full of money out in London and she screams
Baby, I could take it there
Call Marc Jacobs personally to make a pair
So yeah, we on one, the feeling ain’t fair (Khaled)
And it’s double M G until I get the chair

[Drake – Chorus]

[Lil Wayne]
I walk around the club, f-ck everybody
And all my niggas got that Heat I feel like Pat Riley
Yeah, too much money, aint enough money
You know the feds listening, nigga what money?
I’m a made nigga
I should dust something
You niggas on the bench
Like the bus coming
huh, aint nothing sweet but the swishas
I’m focused might aswell say cheese for the pictures
Ohhh, I’m about to go Andre the Giant
You a sell out, but I aint buying
Chopper dissect a nigga like science
Put an end to your world like the Mayans
This a celebration bitches, Mazel Tov
It’s a slim chance I fall, Olive Oyl
Tunechi be the name, don’t ask me how I got it
I’m killin’ these hoes I swear I’m tryna stop the violence

[Chorus]

Young mula baby, YMCMB

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,104: ‘I’m On One’ – DJ Khaled (featuring Drake, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne)

  1. Dana says:

    Haven’t heard this song, but I probably wouldn’t leave it on the radio for 3 seconds. I don’t find the rap that compelling and that background music annoys me to no end.

    As for the guest rap appearance thing, it probably is a brilliant marketing strategy, and I mind it far less when the song is primarily a rap song anyway. What really annoys me for some reason, however, is the ever more ubiquitous rap break/bridge in pop songs such as Katy Perry’s “California Girls” or Justin Beiber’s “Baby.” In almost every instance, the rap is lame, sometimes even jarringly out of place, but put there simply to give the pop artist some more street cred or to simply go with the trend. I suppose R.E.M. may have been one of the first to start that trend with “Radio Song,” but it didn’t work then, and, in my view, it hasn’t really worked since.

  2. Clay says:

    I agree about the rap interlude in pop songs. Yes, R.E.M. was an early pioneer of one of the worst ideas in the music industry.

    I did like Keane’s pairing with K’NAAN, ‘Stop For a Minute.’
    https://meetinmontauk.com/2010/12/24/song-of-the-day-897-stop-for-a-minute-keane-featuring-knaan/

  3. Amy says:

    With many darling children running around, a quick look at these lyrics tells me that I dare not play the song right now. However, I will offer a tepid defense of the rap breakout in a pop song. I kind of like it conceptually. The new Owl City song (“Alligator Sky”) is a good example. Someone named Shawn Chrystopher is rapping in this song. When Maddie first hear it, she was appalled. I suggested she gave it a chance. Sure enough, she now appreciates it (though there is a rap-free version for Adam Young fans who never came around!)

    I happen to love the marriage of rap and “pop” in the Owl City song, so I certainly wouldn’t dismiss the whole “genre” or trend of mixing the two forms.

  4. Amy says:

    Sorry, I thought I had included the link above…

  5. Alex says:

    This song is awful. And the lyrics are idiotic. I love a good rap song with a catchy hook. I can even stand a song with one or the other. This song has neither. I do appreciate the shout out to Marc Jacobs, Pat Riley and Andre the Giant, but come on.

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