You’ve probably heard of DJ Khaled, but you might not be sure of what he does. (Don’t worry, he gets that a lot.)
Chances are you’ve heard one of his songs this spring or summer, bumping from the speakers of a car cruising by. Khaled currently has three tracks on the Billboard Hot 100 list, and he dropped a new album, Grateful, on June 23.
The star-studded Grateful features guests including Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Drake, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Nas, Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj and more. It’s Khaled’s 10th album. He previously produced hits such as “All I Do Is Win” and “We Takin’ Over,” but he was never as big a star as he is today.
Born in New Orleans to Palestinian immigrant parents in 1975, he grew up in Louisiana and Florida and helped with his family’s business. When times got tough, he worked odd jobs and eventually worked his way up to become a prominent radio DJ in Miami, Fla., and producer of albums by Fabolous, Terror Squad and Fat Joe. He founded his record label, We The Best Music Group, in 2007, and today it’s an imprint of Epic Records.
With his newest release, it’s difficult to say whether the 41-year-old music producer, born Khaled Mohamed Khaled, is better known for his music or for his social media following. He has 6.5 million Instagram followers and several million Snapchat followers (Snapchat hides such figures), and he’s known for posting video stories of himself with his eight-month-old son, Asahd (who’s pictured on the Grateful cover art) or jet skiing (getting lost at sea).
Khaled’s ability to amass an A-List roster of collaborators and a sky-high following, not to mention a variety of endorsement deals, speaks to more than his ability to promote himself. It’s evidence of his expert networking skills and relatability, as well as his tremendous work ethic. Last fall, he published a book called The Keys, detailing the keys to success that he shares in interviews, in advertisements and of course, on social media.
For the uninitiated, here are seven tidbits to help you get to know DJ Khaled.