A DJ, RECORD PRODUCER, MEDIA PERSONALITY, SONGWRITER, AND PHILANTHROPIST DJ KHALED’S MULTI-THREAT VIRTUOSITY GOES FAR BEYOND THE TURNTABLES
BY EVAN MONROE
It would be damn near impossible to dispute DJ Khaled’s winning trajectory right now. In 2020 alone, he took home a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Performance for “Higher” alongside John Legend and the late Nipsey Hussle, made a cameo as Manny the Butcher in Bad Boys for Life (and also executive produced the film’s soundtrack), performed at the NBA All-Star halftime show in Chicago, and tried to outrun J. Lo in the new Miami Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Super Bowl commercial. His latest album, Father of Asahd, went Platinum, and the prolific artist has already dropped hints to his millions of fans on social media that another one will soon be on the way. In the words of the 2012 triple Platinum single featuring Ludacris, Rick Ross, T-Pain, and Snoop Dogg, “All I Do Is Win,” Khaled is winning indeed.
Khaled Mohamed Khaled was born in New Orleans in 1975, the son of Palestinian immigrants. His parents, both musicians, taught their son the value of the grind early on. “If I wanted to hang out with my mother and father, I had to hang out with them hustling,” the DJ said in a 2017 interview. The aspiring musician got his start in the industry as a radio DJ in the late ‘90s on the hip hop station 99 Jamz. He released his first album in 2006, Listennn… the Album, which garnered a number 12 spot on the Billboard 200 charts, and since then, he’s curated 10 additional albums, his last three each earning Platinum status. He’s collaborated with some of the most prominent names in hip hop and soul, from Jay-Z and Beyoncé to Rihanna and Drake. His label, We the Best Music Group, was signed to Epic Records in 2016 and represents budding stars like Steph Lecor and Kent Jones.
Even through wild success, the DJ’s authenticity has remained untarnished with fame, and why he’s been dubbed the “King of Snapchat” by his loyal following. As someone who came from humble beginnings himself, Khaled continues to pay it forward through his nonprofit, We the Best Foundation, which supports charity organizations and individuals in underserved communities. “We want to enrich the lives of the next generation,” proclaimed the father of two.