Miami producer DJ Khaled is a hip-hop superstar and bona fide social media sensation whose knack for churning out radio hits is matched only by his masterful command of Snapchat. We recently sat down with Khaled to discuss his music, his viral fame, and the secrets behind his success.
1. Where do you look for inspiration in life?
You can find inspiration in anything. I, for example, get a lot of my inspiration from the commercials for Cialis where the dad throws the football through the tire. The sense of victory, of throwing a perfect spiral through a tire, is absolutely invigorating. But on the other hand, it’s utterly shameful how that guy used drugs to gain an unfair advantage in having sex with his wife, and it breaks my heart to think about it. So I try to capture that dynamic of emotional conflict in every song.
2. You have an album called I Changed A Lot. In what ways have you changed?
I’ve gained a lot of weight on my left arm. It used to weigh 8 pounds, and now it weighs 38 pounds. So, that album title is mostly a reference to my large arm. That, and I no longer like gum. That’s it.
3. You’ve attracted millions of fans with your infectiously positive Snapchat stories. Why does Snapchat resonate so much with you as an artist?
For me, it’s just the ideal platform for me to connect directly with my fans. Before Snapchat, I’d have to go door to door and have people take surveys to find out if they were my fans, and if they were, then I’d have to give them another survey to find out if they wanted to connect with me. And after going through all that effort, there’d never be any time left for me to actually connect with them—I’d just shake their hand and hurry over to the next house. So Snapchat lets me bypass all that bullshit.
4. Out of all the tracks you’ve ever produced, which is your favorite?
Personally, the track closest to my heart is one that never ended up getting released. It’s called “Baby Bidet (Get Me One),” and it featured Ted Nugent and Sanjaya from American Idol. Those guys are best friends. They wanted to start a company that sold bidets for infants, and came to me seeking an investment for their business. I told them that I wouldn’t give them any money, but I would make a song for them that gets the whole club bumping, chanting, and feeling generally excited about baby bidets. The song sounded incredible, and it was going to be featured in all the baby-bidet commercials. Unfortunately, it never got released because Nugent drowned trying to drink out of his own baby bidet. It’s a damn shame.
5. What is a mantra your say to yourself to keep motivated?
I say, “My momma didn’t bake me in her oven for nine months just so I wouldn’t make an impact on the world!” And I know in reality mothers don’t bake their children—they grow them inside their womb. And I know my dad had a lot to do with my creation as well, because babies are made when the sperm fertilizes the egg. A mother can’t just all of a sudden get pregnant by herself, unless we’re talking about a frog mother. In my case, though, my mom had sex with my father, and then I came out into the world. I was premature, so I actually only gestated for eight months. Not sure if my mom did something wrong. Was she smoking? She was a smoker, so maybe. I’d like to think she stopped for me. But if I really stop to think about it, I have my doubts. Definitely. I have doubts.