Rap, In General III: DJ Khaled’s Failed Feminism

by Opheli Garcia Lawler


DJ Khaled has somehow maintained his relevance as a hip hop icon for a very long time. He produces, he raps, and most notably, at least for me, he makes golden music videos. Have you seen “Hold You Down”??? If not, drop everything and go do so NOW, because that’s what we’re talking about today. As per usual, DJ Khaled brings a star studded collaboration together for this video: Chris Brown, August Alsina, Future, and Jeremih.

The video is pretty average for the most part: Mansions, beautiful women, the luxury associated with being famous, rich, successful. What makes this video truly standout is not the product placement (DJ Khaled’s headphones are placed on just about every person in the video, and Nicki Minaj’s new “Myx Fusion” moscato makes multiple cameos,), not a woman kneeling at Chris Brown’s feet, not the fact that the vestibule of the mansion that all these men gather in looks like it was filmed on a green screen. No, not even the fact that, while there is a woman kneeling at Chris Brown’s feet he is singing “I’m the one that is gonna hold you down,” a fact we all were painfully aware of concerning Chris Brown’s relationship history.

The standout star in this video is DJ Khaled talking. He says to this woman sitting at a table “Say my name, baby.” She says: “DJ Khaled.” This exact exchange is repeated once more, and then DJ Khaled says, based on this exchange: “You’re smart, you’re loyal, go buy your mom a house.” And with that, he slides her what looks to be a hundred thousand dollars in cash. Nonsensical? Probably. Creepy? Absolutely.

The woman he is talking to, in all fairness, was an extremely unconvincing actress, delivering her lines as if, off-camera, a gun was pointed at her head. Either that,or she owes the producer a debt large enough to be coerced into starring in a DJ Khaled music video. 

Either way, it’s uncomfortable to watch what is supposed to be a song of love and assurance and support towards these men’s partners transform into a loyalty club, rewarded with cash and shoes and luxury, but no deeper connection to these women. This chick’s literal only lines were saying “DJ Khaled,” and he gave her compliments that parallel compliments given to a dog.

So DJ Khaled, you had the right idea, I guess, but why? Why did you have to go and be the soundtrack of my nightmares?

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Highlighter Staff Columnist. Email her at music@nyunews.com


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