DJ Khaled kicked off the summer with a bang, appearing on the season closer of “Saturday Night Live” in May followed by a performance on the BET Awards a month later — both all-star productions of songs from his latest album, “Father of Asahd,” released by Epic Records on May 17. But since then, he’s been relatively low-key — unusual for the producer who takes advantage of just about every opportunity to shout his own name.
Was it something Tyler the Creator said? To recap: the two artists, signed to sister labels under the Sony Music umbrella, were neck-and-neck out the gate for the top spot on the album chart, but Tyler’s “Igor,” released by Columbia the same day, came in at No. 1 after a bundle promotion disqualified some 30,000 Khaled sales from counting towards his tally. In the end, it was Tyler at 164,866 and Khaled at 135,802 for the cred-certifying week one numbers.
Three months later, Khaled is returning to the spotlight, appearing at Monday’s MTV Video Music Awards where he’s nominated three times: For the song “Higher” featuring the late Nipsey Hussle (best hip hop video), “Wish Wish” with Cardi B and 21 Savage (the fan-voted category best power anthem), and “Just Us” with SZA (best visual effects), all tracks off of “Father of Asahd.”
So how is “Father of Asahd” performing in terms of total sales? Official numbers have it at 710,642 albums sold in the U.S. as of Aug. 19, factoring in TEA (Track Equivalent Albums at a ratio of 10 tracks to 1 album, per Nielsen Music) and on-demand SEA (Streaming Equivalent Albums at a ratio of 1,500 streams to 1 album) in its total figure. Boasting tracks featuring Jay-Z and Beyonce, Post Malone, Future, Travis Scott, Meek Mill, Lil Wayne, John Legend and more, the album’s total streams just topped 1.4 billion, with “Wish Wish” coming in as its most consumed at 123.4 million streams. In simpler terms, Khaled has already gone gold by passing the 500,000 unit mark.
Not far behind so far in 2019 are the latest releases from DaBaby, “Baby on Baby” (683,639 sold since March) and J.Cole and Dreamville’s “Revenge of The Dreamers” collection (665,505 since July 5). Tyler the Creator’s “Igor” has tallied 430,457 in U.S. album sales year-to-date.
If “Father of Asahd” has a long tail effect, what’s driving it? Cardi for one, as “Wish Wish” picks up steam on Urban and Rhythmic radio following strong metrics for “You Stay” and “Just Us.” Indeed, there’s no discounting a star co-sign — or 20 — when it comes to getting attention for a project. But perhaps there is also the notion of a slower burn when it comes to Khaled’s collaboration overload. How many massive hip-hop names does an artist need to put his stamp on a piece of music? In Khaled’s world, you can always use another one.