Who is DJ Khaled?
By: Nana Osei/Arab America Contributing Writer
DJ Khaled is one of the biggest producers in the world of Hip Hop. He has worked with multiple stars from Jay Z to French Montana over his career. However, Dj Khaled was not always the record producing mogul he is today. There’s also much about him that many don’t know. Here is the story of a man that started off as a simple DJ to one of the most popular producers of this century.
Khaled Mohamed Khaled was born on November 26, 1975, in New Orleans, Lousiana to newly immigrated Palestinian parents. His mother was born in Ramallah and his father was born in Al-Mazra’a ash-Sharqiya. DJ Khaled has one brother named Alec Ledd who is an actor. He was raised as a Muslim by both of his parents and is a believer to this day.
DJ Khaled did not start from a family of riches but from humble beginnings. His father arrived in America with only 20 dollars in his pocket to survive on between him and his wife. Since his childhood, Dj Khaled watched his parents selling clothes out of their van at a local flea market. Sometimes DJ Khaled would even help. He stated in an interview with the Miami New Times, “They worked every day, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. If I wanted to hang out with my mother and father, I had to hang out with them hustling.”
DJ Khaled was exposed to music at an early age. Both of his parents were musicians who played Arabic Music. They fostered and supported his love for rap and soul music as a child.
DJ Khaled’s family moved to Orlando in which he attended Dr. Phillips High School. He became more involved with music at the age of 13 in which he would DJ in his garage. At the age of 16, Dj Khaled and his family had to move back to New Orleans. His family had gotten in trouble with the IRS and became completely broke. Khaled was saddened by having to leave Orlando; however, this has led him to start gigantic opportunities.
An Amazing Career with Humble Beginnings
After getting back to New Orleans, Dj Khaled found a job at Odyssey records, a recording label business through which he met some of his top music collaborators today. At Odyssey Records, he met Birdman, Lil-Wayne, and the American Record label Cash Money. However, he still hadn’t reached a level in which they would see him as an ally.
During the early 90s, after leaving his job at Odyssey records, Khaled decided to DJ full time. In 1994 he had moved to Miami fully set on making a name for himself. In the beginning, this was extremely hard as he would simply DJ for any place that let him. Sadly, he hadn’t had the reputation he currently holds so even finding places to Dj was a challenge. He mainly would DJ at Reggae Sound clashes.
Khaled then decided to make his move as a Radio DJ. He first started as playing music for a Carribean pirate radio station called Mixx 96. He even used to sleep in the station showing his dedication to the music. Later, he went out on his own and became the host of “The Luke Show”. This was when his career really started to blow up as his radio personality became known all over the World.
Making His Own Music
In 2006, after being giving production credits for songs with many artists such as Terror Squad, he finally produced his own album called, Listennn… the Album. This album reached #12 on the Billboard Charts. His next album, We the Best, featured to hip hop artists such as Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, and Birdman.
In 2009 he became president of Def Jam South and launched his own record label called, “We the Best Music.” He then released the hit single, “All I do is win,” featuring Ludacris and Snoop Dog in 2010. It even went double Platinum. From then on, he went on to release incredible albums such as Victory, Suffering from Success, and Major Key. in all of these albums he collaborated with the best of the Hip hop world from Drake to Jay Z, Making Khaled one of the most influential producers of all time.
Khaled also owes a lot of his success to being a major and genius social media influencer. He has over 4.5 million followers on Twitter, over 3.6 million on Facebook, and even over 15.5 million on Instagram. Social media is what he has used to truly captivate the world with his over the top personality. In 2016, he even became a viral sensation with his Key to Success theme. Everyone was watching his snapshot as he would use his “key” phrase in hilarious and over the top spells. He then took the chance to write his own book called, “The Keys.” The book is basically DJ Khaled’s guide on finding success with business and other lifestyle advice.
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Dj Khaled took his son’s birth as an opportunity to take social media to a new level. He even used Snapshot as a way to document his son’s birth! A large part of his social media is him showing how much he loves his son and tbh it’s heartwarming. DJ Khaled shows how much he spoils his son with jewelry and toys. He named his most recent album Father of Ashad.
In 2016, DJ Khaled, performed a concert for Sabra Hummus in California. Sabra Hummus has been on the boycott list (BDS) for several years because of their support for the Israeli military, which has committed gross human rights violations against the Palestinian people. On numerous occasions, Khaled has stated he “supports his people,” regarding Palestine, but his stance with Sabra in 2016 was criticized by many in the Palestinian and Arab American communities.
In the End
DJ Khaled is more than just a simple meme and controversial personality. So don’t sell him so short for his social media antics. He’s a genius social media influencer, a wonderful father, a hip hop mogul, and critically-acclaimed producer.
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