What does DJ Khaled do? DJ Khaled is a DJ, radio personality, author, motivational speaker, an advocate for cocoa butter, and so much more. If you like music in any way, shape, or form, then you’re sure to know about this music producer.
He is famous, he is ubiquitous, and he’s got millions of followers. But what exactly did DJ Khaled do that propelled him to fame and fortune?
We the Best!
A guy can only wear so many hats, but read this:
You read that in a different voice and in a particular tone that’s very familiar and memorable.
“We the Best Music!” and there, you just did it again.
These phrases are ingrained in our minds together with a particular tone because they usually end up at the start of wildly popular songs, and they’re said in the same way, almost every time.
And that makes DJ Khaled iconic in the music industry. But it begs the question —what does he actually do? We see him in music videos all the time, half-naked with a couple of girls (you got to love the confidence!), but what does he add to any of the songs we hear him in now?
DJ Khaled: A Brief Background
DJ Khaled, or Khaled Mohamed Khaled, grew from humble beginnings. Born in 1975 in New Orleans, Louisiana, he was brought up to be the type of guy who worked endlessly.
His parents, both Palestinian immigrants, supposedly worked all the time. Seriously, Khaled discussed that they worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they spent most of the time together, hustling. His parents were both musicians. This hustle mentality and the love for music, especially rap and soul, were ingrained in him since he was very young.
He started disc-jockeying at 13 years old, but his first real ticket to the music world happened around 1990 when he became part of radio station 99 Jamz. He later collaborated with Terror Squad as DJ during the band’s live performances. He gained prominence and started releasing his albums in 2006, and in 2007 he got his first real taste of success when his song “I’m So Hood” from his second album entered in the top 20 of the billboard charts. A string of more albums followed; DJ Khaled enjoyed smashing success and even earned 3 Grammy nominations, in which he won 1.
DJ Khaled is married to Nicole Tuck and they have two sons, Asahd and Aalam Tuck Khaled.
Here’s a video about DJ Khaled before he was famous:
How Did He Get Famous?
By the early 2000s, he worked as a radio DJ, and he worked hard at it too. Mixx 96, a radio station in Miami, gave Khaled a chance and gave him air time. Apparently, this was all he needed as he quickly became the life of that radio station.
He released albums that actually broke into the Billboard charts, Listennn… the Album and We the Best, from 2006 and 2007, respectively. He is also the best at connecting talents and having these artists collaborate in the studio, which instantly drew more people around him. DK Khaled is proof that when you stick to credible musicians and work with them, you start to grow, too.
Khaled should thank h3h3 Productions, a YouTube channel for showing his memes to the world. He became a meme to the internet but you’d be sure to notice that he doesn’t care, fame is fame.
DJ Khaled is, and will always be, famous for his catchphrases; because, well, they are catchy (we will show you samples of his witticism later). A lot of these Khaledic maxims have been incorporated in his songs, too, which makes it impossible to forget.
Criticisms and Backlash
Although as a hypeman, the usual question you would hear is, what’s your purpose other than saying your catchphrase?
A lot of folks on the internet tear him apart by saying that he only says his name in songs to remain relevant and that the songs would still make sense, even without him.
Critics call him out because his name on a song is nothing more than hype, and sooner or later, the hype will die down until he is no longer relevant to the industry.
While DJ Khaled used to DJ, produce songs, and make albums, he doesn’t do that anymore. He knows that one day, he will have to step back and make space for new artists, which means he should know to be prepared when it’s his time to hang the mic for good. Thus, DJ Khaled is exploring other avenues to earn like endorsement deals and social media.
DJ Khaled the Snapchat Star
DJ Khaled used social media as a tool; he didn’t see it as just an app that you can waste hours on. He used it so efficiently that it was insane how famous he got off of his Snapchat videos. And in those videos, he says all the meme-worthy stuff that is guaranteed to make you laugh or confused. Or both.
The one thing you’d actually think of is, “Is this guy for real?” You would think he’s joking, but no; he says all these things with the seriousness of a life coach. If you’ve never seen a man tell you that Dove soap or a manicure and pedicure would make you successful, go ahead and look for DJ Khaled on Snapchat or look for the compilations on YouTube.
With memes and the sort, it’s no question how he became one of the most famous people on Snapchat. You can see the authenticity when he speaks, no matter how silly the context might be. And what is his fascination with butter? DJ Khaled became viral by being himself, and there is no better feeling than that.
DJ Khaled’s Greatest Hits
As a fun way to wrap up this article, let’s have a look at DJ Khaled’s greatest hits.
Okay, we’re not exactly being clear here; when we say greatest hits, we didn’t mean “Borracho”, “Popstar”, “Wild Thought”, “I’m the One”, and many others.
By greatest hits, we’re referring to the DJ’s nuggets of wisdom —the quotable quotes and universal truths that at first might make you go Huh? but starts making sense after giving it much thought.
● “They kick you when you’re down, but they wanna kick it when you’re up.”
Ah, haters. You don’t even have to be famous to have one. Or two. But, anyway, DJ Khaled perfectly sums up the classic hater behavior during his guesting on The Ellen Show in 2016. In his Forbes interview the same year, he advised: “Never entertain ‘they’, keep ‘they’ away from you, the key is to stay away from ‘they’… Positive vibes and people only, thanks.”
● “You gotta water your plants. Nobody can water them for you.”
DJ Khaled dropped the truth bomb about putting in hard work because nobody on this planet understands your goals and aspirations better than yourself. And also, keep your plants healthy; we share the same planet.
● “Stay focused and secure your bag, because they want you to fail and they don’t want us to win.”
This got to be DJ Khaled’s golden quote. When you have defined your whys, toiled hard for it, and finally earned the fruits of your labor, better make sure to protect your bag —the success you worked hard for. There are people who are ready to kick the bag away from you; don’t let it happen.
● “I’m gonna go hard no matter what because I gotta feed my family and I gotta feed myself.”
This is DJ Khaled’s why —his family and himself. He’s hustling to keep them surviving and thriving.
● “The key to more success is cocoa butter.”
This Khaledism philosophy is supposed to be for laughs. But on second thought, when he added “I put cocoa butter all over my face and my iconic belly and my arms and legs. Why live rough? Live smooth.” it will dawn on you that he’s only giving a piece of sound advice. Gotta keep moisturizing; it’s good for your skin.
● “We gonna win more. We gonna live more. We the best.”
DJ Khaled is known for spreading positive energy and good spirit, as this affirmative sentiment from him illustrates.
DJ Khaled is a symbol of how the internet and social media can skyrocket you into a pedestal of fame that most of us could never dream of. How a meme can change your life in an instant. How one post can be the difference between fame or infamy. How changing your life with a do-or-die mindset and working day in and day out for results can eventually put you in a position that you once dreamt of.
Some people may say that this is a comedy, but for his followers, this is a full-on documentary of a guy’s life and how he turned short “inspiring” videos into more money than we can imagine.
And while haters will hate, as they always do, there’s no question that hustle is in DJ Khaled’s veins, he got it from his parents and he turned it into a lifestyle. Say all you want about him, but he’s right where he wants to be, and we can only watch from so far away.
Joyce Ann graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies at New Era University. She especially enjoyed her journalism class and was nominated for Photojournalist of the Year. Joyce Anne loves music; she is a self-taught piano player. When she's not writing (or baking or watching documentaries), she's probably playing songs on the piano, mostly by ear.