The music production industry is one of the most convoluted and complicated industries on the planet. If you asked the average person what goes into the production of a typical record label produced studio album, they would probably have no idea and their explanation would undoubtedly be something along the lines of a few instruments, some microphones, a singer, and a computer to record it all into. Nothing could be further from the truth. Studio albums require dozens of people, usually all working together for several months at a time in a collaborative effort to create the best possible sound and to stay true to the artist’s vision for their emotional expression. There are so many levels and so many different factors that go into a studio album, and the people involved range from the audio technicians to the sound mixers all the way up to studio executives and producers.
One such producer is DJ Khaled, a musician and influencer who has made quite a name for himself over the years through a variety of personal projects, collaborative efforts, and features.
Who is DJ Khaled?
If you have been interested in popular music for any amount of time, the phrases “we the best music” and “another one” have probably been in your ears at some point. These phrases came into being thanks to musician and producer DJ Khaled. Born Khaled Mohamed Khaled in November of 1975, DJ Khaled is a man who has had to work for the majority of what he has. This work ethic was instilled in him by his parents who were Palestinian imigrants to the United States. They came to America with barely any money and worked every day, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day to provide for him and his siblings.
Khaled’s interest in music was sparked at an early age due to the fact that his parents regularly played Arabic music around the home. He discovered a passion for rap music shortly thereafter, and his parents were fully supportive as he began to explore that passion. At the age of thirteen, he began to DJ in his garage where he had a keyboard, turntables, a drum machine, and records. This was where he got his start and developed a love for what he would one day turn into a fully fledged career.
His early life was not without its difficulties. Khaled’s parents were incredibly poor and their hardships continued for many years. When he was barely old enough to drive, his parents were robbed. Khaled discusses this in his book “The Keys”, released in 2016. His parents also dealt with other financial difficulties due to their business, and they left Florida to return to New Orleans (where he was born), shortly thereafter. However, Khaled decided to stay in Orlando to try and jumpstart his musical career.
DJ Khaled’s Musical Personal Musical Career
Before making a career in music production, DJ Khaled actually created his own music as well. He released a debut studio album in 2006 called Listennn… the Album and it received certified gold status. After that, he released We the Best in 2007, which was popular for the top 20 single “I’m So Hood”. In 2008 and and 2010 respectively, he released We Global and Victory, both of which reached into the top ten on the Billboard 200. Victory was most popular for the single “All I Do Is Win” which reached certified triple platinum status. Overall, he has released eleven albums and is currently working on Khaled Khaled which will most likely be released later in 2020.
His musical career has reached noted fame levels, and he has also been nominated for several awards. He has received over ninety nominations, and has several wins as well, including a 2017 American Music Award for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Song for “I’m the One”, two BET Awards for Best Collaboration and Video of the Year (the latter being on “Higher” featuring Nipsey Hussle), and a Grammy for Hip-Hop Song of the Year for “Wild Thoughts” in 2018.
However, most of his awards have not come on his solo productions; they have come on collaborative projects with several other famous musicians. So, what exactly does he do in the spotlight that has gotten him so much attention over the years?
DJ Khaled’s Other Accomplishments
Aside from producing his own music to the tune of several hundred songs and twelve albums, DJ Khaled is most known as a producer and DJ for other people’s music. He has created his own record label, We the Best Music Group, that is responsible for several famous artists’ works.
He has collaborated with artists like Fat Joe, R&B sensation Chris Brown, songstress Keyshia Cole, Cee Lo Green, Cool & Dre, rapper Rick Ross, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Nas, Birdman, Lil Wayne, T.I., Akon, Drake, and Nicki Minaj just to name a few.
He is also famous for creating his own brand, the We the Best Brand, which has become an online mentality that he cultivates. He instills in his followers the ideas of success, hard work, and what he calls the keys to success, which he also wrote a book about in 2016.
While he is no stranger to controversy, he usually handles it very well. He has branded himself in such a way that he is still able to communicate clearly and effectively to a wide audience without alienating anyone, and when there is controversy, he recovers very quickly. For example, with the 2019 release of Father of Asahd, he gave Allah a producer credit on the album, which angered some fans. One fan even took to Twitter, saying, “DJ Khaled credited Allah as a co-producer for his album…Based on this symptom/behaviour, I can confirm that DJ Khaled is suffering from a severe case of being done out here.” People responded negatively, but DJ Khaled handled it well and pointed people back to his Muslim faith as a well-intentioned expression of what he believes.
He is also dealing with an issue with Billboard where he believes he was wrongly placed number 2 on their Billboard 200 list, second to Tyler the Creator’s IGOR. He believes he outsold IGOR due to bundle sales that were deliberately not counted by the Billboard music organization, and believes he was gypped out of his first place spot.
While DJ Khaled’s fame is not just from his music, he has made a successful name for himself as an influencer, public figure, producer, and DJ. He works well with others, collaborates with several artists, and his goal is producing a sound true to the vision of those he works with. He is a family man, an author, a musician, and his desire is to spread his success and his vision to the lives of his fans by speaking what he believes to be his best truth into their lives and by giving them what he calls the keys to success.