What does a DJ Khaled record really sound like? From breakout tracks “We Takin’ Over,” “I’m So Hood,” and “All I Do Is Win” to last year’s Grammy-nominated Major Key, the signature stylistic consistency is Khaled’s over-the-top ad-libs at the opening of each track. Like no other beatsmith before him, Khaled is a bastion of the personal brand, a bounding force so insanely good a self-promo that’s he’s hustled his way onto the biggest tracks from hit-makers for over a decade now.
Far from an exception to the rule, “I’m the One” thrives thanks to Khaled’s curatorial skill. With an opening shot of his already Instagram-famous son Asahd that rolls straight into the man’s Snapchat-ready lines, the track bounces with a fluttering, pitched-up sample and the sort of bouncy bassline that’s ideal for a summer radio jam. It’s not particularly groundbreaking, but the track makes up for with great guest verses from artists each having fun with it.
Bieber starts with a silky-smooth hook, meditating on the vaguely-personified girl-of-his-dreams with a “Beauty and a Beat”-like vibrato as Quavo cuts through the mix with a mid-tempo verse not all to distant from the Migos feature on “Slide.” Though far from the best verses of their career, Chance and Wayne both cut loose with carefree verses from the club, switching things up with ease as they move within the track.
Ultimately, “I’m the One” starts with a hit-making blueprint and delivers a surprisingly consistent single despite the overload of features. Each guest sticks to what they do best, having fun within their lane in a way that shouldn’t sound this fun. In the words of Khaled himself, it’s anotha one.