The musical mastermind discusses fatherhood, how he thinks about success, and why jumpsuits are sexy.
Some people speak in tongues. Some people speak in metaphors. Some people speak in riddles. DJ Khaled speaks in italics. Pop’s musical quilt-master is a serial emphasizer. His latest album, Father of Asahd, he tells me, was an impossibility—getting that many stars on one album, you try it—and yet, “I DID it.” So far as why he believes the album was so potent, he adds, “Because everybody comes with their A Game, or MORE than their A Game.”
the stress isn’t just reserved for self-aggrandizement. Sometimes—okay,
often—he’s merely caught in a state of awe. He’s impressed by his
friend, the celebrity chef Salt Bae, for instance, because he came from
nothing, and “Now he owns restaurants all over the world… The United States, and THE WORLD.”
It’s this sort of enthusiastic expression of untarnished wonder that’s helped make Khaled a superstar personality in his own right. His brazen accentuation transforms the otherwise mundane into grand pronouncements, culture-shaping catchphrases, and widely consumed motivation. He’s unapologetically loud, bold, and brash, and the culture eats it up. Sure, you might take issue with some of it—its simplicity, the carnival barker of it all—or you might if he didn’t always find his way back to such an undeniably positive message: Love.
Take his legacy. When it’s all said and done, Khaled says he wants to be remembered as “one of the biggest, most powerful moguls.” But also, “an incredible father, with a family that is beautiful and amazing. Somebody that’s loved and embraces love.” He justifies the emphasis.
Raptology: Congratulations! I heard that your wife is pregnant with another child.
DJ Khaled: Yeah, man, Asahd is going to have a brother. I’m going to have another son, another blessing. God is great. Our family’s just getting bigger. Ever since I had my son Asahd, life has changed in so many beautiful, great ways. I just appreciate life more, and what real love is. And I’m just so excited, man. I’m just excited to have barbecues with my family. I’m excited to go on family vacations. I’m excited to work for my family. I love being a father.
I thought it was funny that some headlines said “Another one!”
Asahd said “Another one!” too. It is. It’s another one, know what I’m saying? What I love about my catchphrases is it’s just me being me and it’s natural and the world embraces it.
Have you given any thoughts to names?
haven’t officially talked about names because I want to pick the name
closer to his arrival—I’m thinking the month of. Just because when we
named Asahd it was a feeling, it was a vibe. Asahd in Arabic means Lion.
At that time, and still, there was just a certain energy that Asahd
brought to me and the world, and that name fit perfect. God blessed us
with an incredible name. And we want to just catch the vibe.
Your last album was Father of Asahd. Does that mean you have to make another album with your next child’s name in the title?
of Asahd came out this year. It’s doing so amazing, and it’s like we
focused on that album, and when it’s time to make another one, we gonna
know what God wants us to do. It’s always a vibe. But I can tell you
this: All my albums’ titles and energies are based on what’s going on in
my life at that time.
If there’s one lesson you want to instill in your children, what is it?
The most important lesson is love. God and love. And God is love, and love is God. Just love. My son, I want to see him smile and be happy. When they’re children at this young age, they’re supposed to be extremely happy, and I want to keep it like that. So my son is always around me, and he’s around all the energies. I make sure that my energy is incredible for him because I know he learns so fast. If I say something, he’ll say it. So being a responsible parent, I say to myself, “I gotta make sure the love is 24 hours around the clock.” That way, he’ll know the difference between love and something else. And if he experiences something else, he’ll know that’s not the right thing.
How did you feel like Father of Asahd, musically, was a step forward for you?
It’s my biggest album to date. And my album before that was Grateful, and Asahd was a part of that too. And the album before that was Major Key,
and Asahd was in my queen’s belly, and he was a part of that too. So my
last three albums have been my biggest albums, and they’re going to
continue to get bigger. Not only am I going to make sure I continue
being great, you have to understand the inspiration and the purpose is
higher. And you gotta remember, I’m experienced. This is my 11th album. So I tell people all the time, with experience—look that word up. Experience is a great thing to have.
When you say this album was your biggest, do you equate the size of it with success?
a body of work, this is my biggest album. A classic album from top to
bottom. My whole career I’ve put out timeless records. I’ve been part of
your life, and everybody’s life, for a long time. I’m the guy who made
“All I Do Is Win,” I’m the guy who made “I’m the One” and “Wild
Thoughts” and “Shining”—I can keep going. Usually my albums, I would
have two, three big singles and a great album. This album, from top to
bottom, everything was a single.
It’s not only about numbers. It’s about the impact in the culture. It’s about, every time you turn on the TV you’re going to hear “All I Do Is Win.” Every time you watch football, basketball, soccer you gonna hear “All I Do Is Win.” You watch a movie, you gonna hear one of my records. You turn on the radio, you gonna hear one of my records. DJ Khaled is the anthem king.
I love the “You Stay” music video, and my favorite part is when you catch a piece of steak in your mouth. How did that come about?
Salt Bae is my friend, and I’m a big fan of him. He’s such a great, great person. I’m inspired by his story. He’s a great cook and entertainer and a boss and a mogul. He came from nothing to be where he’s at right now. That just shows you the power of the people and the power of love. I can relate to that. And now he owns restaurants all over theworld… The United States, and THE WORLD. And this man wakes up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning and works out every single day. And then he’s at his restaurant from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 o’clock at night, every day. And then being an entertainer and being able to inspire and bring happiness to people is such an inspiration. I asked him to be in my video. I was like, “Yo, I want to do this one scene. Not only to praise you. I just think it’s boss.” It fit the video.
Natalia is a Rap and Hip Hop enthusiast. After graduating from The New School of New York’s Public Relations Program, she decided to dedicate her life to the music publishing business and to the discovery of new talent. She helps new artists gain exposure to the masses via online marketing and publications.