What can’t DJ Khaled do?
He’s an unstoppable force as a sonic match-maker, first and foremost. Ever since meeting Lil Wayne and Birdman in 1993, DJ Khaled has aligned artists to create magic in the studio. His sophomore studio album We the Best features the hottest rappers on several songs, catapulting all to the top of the charts. “We Takin’ Over” features T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Akon, Birdman, and Lil Wayne. “I’m So Hood” features T-Pain, Trick Daddy, Plies, and Rick Ross. Who Khaled brings together, all big names, and how he does so, is one of the things that makes him successful. He’s one of a few rappers’ favorite A&R.
While critics felt the count of guest appearances was a bit much, it was that very thing that brought attention Khaled’s way. He followed up “I’m So Hood” with “Go Hard” and “All I Do Is Win,” featuring Ludacris, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg, and T-Pain. It became one of his highest selling songs, and certified double-platinum. (It’s also one of President Obama’s theme songs.)
“I’m On One,” featuring Drake, Rick Ross, and Lil Wayne, was a winner from the start, especially since its release came around the time that Drake caused heads to turn. His ad-libs became motivational for those in the streets and cubicles.
That is not to say Khaled hasn’t had his lows: A short-lived beef with 50 Cent and an album less commercially successful than his previous ones. I Changed A Lot fell short with smash hits. But yet, he still seems to rise.
He soon became a Snapchat phenomenon, when he used his account to share motivational gems (“keys to success”) and give users a glimpse into his daily life. That life evidently includes coddling his plants, trolling his wife, eating healthy breakfasts (although it’s tough), and documenting his revelations in the shower. Most things, especially the latter, are fascinating because you and I can relate. Snapchat made Khaled a household name, putting him before an audience ranging from millennials (who haven’t heard “We Takin’ Over”) to day one fans — a step forward into mainstream.
Khaled has had one hell of a year, and we’re not even midway into 2016. He signed a management deal with Jay Z’s Roc Nation in February. He and his label We The Best Music Group recently signed a deal with Epic Records in April. He visited President Obama, alongside Pusha T, Chance the Rapper, Wale, J. Cole, Janelle Monáe, Nicki Minaj, and more to discuss criminal justice reform. He’s also set to embark on tour with one of our queens herself, Queen Bey’. On April 19, Khaled gracefully announced that he’ll be the opening act on Beyoncé’s Formation tour, kicking off on April 27 in Miami, FL. Yes, Beyoncé. One of today’s biggest entertainers, and arguably ever.
Have we reached peak Khaled? If we thought Khaled was too much for us once, is he on his way to getting there now?
You can’t even get mad at Khaled’s success — which he realized he was first suffering from when a doctor told him it was the root of a bald spot. He’s been in the game since the early ‘90s, creating hits and making connections. We’ll have to see if he has a few more hits on his upcoming Major Key album to take advantage of his overdue mainstream recognition.