DJ Khaled’s Journey to the Top

A positive outlook on life—and no shortage of self-confidence—are the ingredients to the hip-hop DJ's success


Love him or hate him: DJ Khaled is one of the most powerful DJs in the hip-hop community, having produced some of the hottest Top 40 tracks since 2006. And he’s not shy about it: According to his Instagram, the mogul gave the “CEO of iTunes” the OK “to add the most powerful servers” to handle his “I Wanna Be With You” single sales. The “We the Best” rapper speaks with a rough-sounding conviction, but his words are always uplifting. DJ Khaled (born Khaled bin Abdul Khaled) took  a few moments out of his daily grind to talk about his rap mogul lifestyle, positivity and his upcoming gig on New Year’s Eve at Lavo.

How do you feel about the rise of the “DJ” in pop culture?

I love anything with the word “rise.” It’s amazing. DJs, we’re special people. We wear many hats, and we’re special artists. We’re special to the culture; to hip-hop culture, pop culture, you know what I mean? The DJ is very powerful. It’s on the DJ how much power you wanna have and where you wanna take your heights. I’m a DJ when I say I’m a DJ. I come from DJ, and I still DJ. And at the same time I’m also one of the biggest moguls out here.

Who are your favorite DJs to listen to?

My favorite DJs are probably Funk Flex, Kid Capri, Uncle Al, Clark Kent. … There are a few legends out there that I respect. But obviously me—I feel like I’m the best DJ in the world.

You are known for having a very positive outlook. What advice do you have for any average Joe to “be the best”?

God first. God first.

And as an artist, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Never stop. You know what I’m saying? When you get the opportunity and you finally break the door down of being in the game, once you get that feeling of success—don’t ever stop.

You’re a somewhat controversial figure. How do you deal with haters?

You don’t deal with them. It’s simple. When you have negative energy or haters, why would you deal with ’em? What’s the point? You’re wasting your time.

How do you remain so positive in the face of that?

It’s that life. God gave me life, and I appreciate it. That’s all that matters every day. You could be happy one day, mad one day—no matter what vibe you are, as long as you got life, you can deal with it.

When can we expect your new album, I Changed a Lot!, to drop?

The album is gonna come probably next year. I don’t have a date right now. But I’m just enjoying myself, making great music. My last record went No. 1 on the charts. It’s called “Hold You Down,” and it’s still currently on top of the charts. So I’m just enjoying putting hit records out and when the album needs to come out it’s gonna come out.

Since you’re a celebrity DJ, do you ever feel like you have to act a certain way because you’re now a role model for a lot of kids?

I act like DJ Khaled, that’s who I act like. I’m Khaled Khaled. I don’t know how to act like nobody else but me. Being me is what got me here.

What do you have planned for 2015?

Got some big announcements in 2015. Just expect more and more big stuff from We the Best brand. I got these brand-new [We the Best] headphones out right now. Expect more greatness. Expect a corporate takeover. Expect big wins.

What are you planning for your big New Year’s Eve bash at Lavo?

I’m coming to tear that whole place apart in an amazing way. When I get behind the turntables and when I touch that stage it’s gonna be New Year’s for real. It’s gonna be the best party that Lavo ever threw in their whole history of being created. Matter of fact, whoever the promoter is that hired me needs a raise. As a matter of fact, he’s a genius. There’s no party like a We the Best music party—it’s the best thing. Ever.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

My New Year’s resolution is always more blessings. You know what I mean? Make sure my family and their health is great. And more wins. It’s always winning.

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