Meet DJ Khaled. DJ Khaled exists on the border between cringeworthy excess and grotesque self-parody. He was – hopefully – joking when he recently claimed on Instagram that he “allowed” Apple chief executive Tim Cook (at least, we think that’s who he means) to use the “most powerful servers” to distribute his new single.
But Khaled is symptomatic of the ridiculousness of the rap industry.
DJ Khaled’s songs almost always begin with a shouted, “DJ Khaled!” followed by an equally enthusiastic, “We the best!”
For Khaled, being anything other than “the best” is not worth shouting about. (Precisely what he is claiming to be “the best” at has never been made clear.)
His 2007 album We The Best was followed by 2008’s We Global, and in 2011 he released We The Best Forever. Amongst his hit songs are We Takin’ Over and All I Do Is Win. DJ Khaled is also CEO of We The Best Music Group.
Some readers will remember Mark Zuckerberg standing awkwardly on stage at Facebook’s 2011 F8 conference as All I Do Is Win by DJ Khaled played.
For DJ Khaled, any means to fame and social affirmation are justified. Take, for example, the Nicki Minaj proposal saga. On 15 July 2013, Khaled proposed to Nicki Minaj live on MTV with a 10 karat, half a million dollar diamond ring.
Days after the embarrassing video was shown, reports claimed that Nicki Minaj had taken out a restraining order against DJ Khaled. The entire proposal was later revealed to be fake: it was merely a publicity stunt for a new DJ Khaled song featuring Nicki Minaj called “I Wanna Be with You”.
Unfortunately for DJ Khaled, he isn’t “the best” at acting. A promotional video for his new album Suffering From Success featured a mafia-style meeting between some successful rappers. DJ Khaled espouses his wisdom, telling a fellow rapper that he didn’t talk to him earlier because he doesn’t “trust” his “car”.
Many people have struggled to identify exactly what DJ Khaled does. He is neither a DJ, nor a rapper, nor a writer, producer… well, you get the idea. In a 2012 interview, he finally explained his creative process.
I make hits. I find hits. And I put hits out. That’s what I do.
Sounds like a record producer, right? Well, no: Khaled doesn’t produce his own records. Occasionally he hollers, “We the best!” and says his own name on his and other people’s tracks, but that’s about it. To date, he seems to have produced perhaps four songs. Maybe we should refer to him as a hustler.
I reached out to Lil Wayne and Rick Ross. Then I got with Drake on iChat to make sure every little ad-lib was right. Then I had [Drake’s engineer and producer Noah] 40 [Shebib] add a little production to the T-Minus track.
Social media gurus take note: this is how you swag it on social media.