DJ Khaled’s eleventh studio album out today, Father of Asahd, is yet another display of his comprehensive Rolodex. Cardi B, SZA, Meek Mill and Beyoncé all make appearances. Tucked squarely in the middle is “Higher,” the first official song from Nipsey Hussle released posthumously since he was shot and killed in March. Proceeds from the single, Khaled announced this week, will go directly to the late rapper’s children.
“Higher,” with an accompanying video that features Nipsey Hussle, is a prescient artifact of an artist coming to grips with his mortality all too soon. Directed by Eif Rivera, the visual is a love letter to Nipsey’s hometown of Crenshaw. Nipsey and Khaled pose in front of a plain house painted blue, as John Legend preaches a musical sermon on a grand piano driving through a palm tree-lined street.
“Lookin’ back at my life make my heart race / Dance with the devil and test our faith,” raps Nipsey over appropriately grand, string and piano-filled production by Khaled, working with STREETRUNNER and Tarik Azzouz. The song’s chorus, sung by Legend, is similarly gutting. “They’d rather see me down, put my soul in the fire / But we keep goin’ higher, higher,” he sings.