The Untold Truth Of DJ Khaled

Major key alert! Introducing Khaled Mohamed Khaled — you know him as DJ Khaled. This producer, business mogul, and social media star released 11 albums as of 2020 and won his first Grammy award that same year (via Billboard). DJ Khaled is best known for his catchy songs like "I'm the One" and "Wild Thoughts." Decades into his career, the prolific producer continues to churn out hits featuring the biggest stars in music. And it's hard to escape his anthems. "You watch a movie, you gonna hear one of my records. You turn on the radio, you gonna hear one of my records," he proudly told GQ.

Since early in his career, the man hasn't stopped hustling even with roadblocks along the way — including a surprising fear for someone as big and bold as DJ Khaled. Outside of music, he found a way to share his bigger-than-life personality with the rest of the world. And don't forget about all of his famous catchphrases, like "Another One" and "Bless Up," Billboard summarized. He's even the author of an endearing self-help book called The Keys. In the book, DJ Khaled shares nuggets of advice or "Keys" to living a life of happiness, The New Yorker reported.

What's your favorite song by the big man? How about your favorite "Key" to success? Put your hands UP ... because this is the untold truth of DJ Khaled.

A rough start to becoming a DJ

Never shy to show off his lavish lifestyle, DJ Khaled acts like a king. But this reality almost never happened. When DJ Khaled started with big dreams to make it as a star, he tried anything necessary. This included illegal activities like driving with a suspended license. In return, a judge sentenced DJ Khaled to three months in jail. Though the young man only ended up serving for one month, the wakeup call worked. "I'm not a criminal or nothing, but it opened my eyes," he told Complex. "The day I got out, I went straight to Miami, me and my records, because I felt like I would keep getting in trouble."

According to an interview with Miami New Times, DJ Khaled had a rough first year in his new city. With a stagnant career and with little money, he was "just about homeless." The producer revealed, "I used to sleep at the radio station." He also hopped around to anyplace he could rest his bones for the evening. Motels, at "his girlfriend's parents' house, and after his girlfriend's dad found out about this, his girlfriend's car." He stuck with his dream and took any gig that came his way. But at that time, few wanted "to give this no-name from Orlando a shot."

DJ Khaled is the king of social media

"I use my social media for positivity, motivation, and inspiration," DJ Khaled told GQ. And this is no little side project of the music star. In 2017, Wired reported that every time DJ Khaled posted on Snapchat, three to four million people would see the content. "I tell people all the time that Snapchat changed my life," he said in his book The Keys. If that's not all, as of 2020, DJ Khaled had over 20 million followers on his Instagram account, too.

His Snapchat origin story is humble and amazing. While in Miami, DJ Khaled hopped on a jet ski to visit Rick Ross, another bigger-than-life personality in both size and bravado. But on DJ Khaled's return trip, he managed to get lost in the water. "It got dark quick, so I started Snapchatting because I had the flash, but I was Snapchatting also to keep my sense of humor and my spirits up," he explained to NPR. "I didn't panic, but was I worried? Absolutely." Nothing to worry about at all because it turned out people loved his sense of humor, wisdom, and inside peeks into what it's like to be a superstar.

DJ Khaled learned a lot from his parents

DJ Khaled credits his parents for teaching him how to work hard and keep hustling. Both his parents immigrated to the United States from Palestine, "with, like, $10 in their pocket," he told Vogue Man Arabia. To provide for the family, the pair sold clothing from the back of a car, which then upgraded to a place in a shopping center and then bigger still to a mall. "As a kid I got to see the progression from us living in an apartment to having a house," he recalled. He also remembered his parents' unstoppable work ethic. "I don't remember them ever having a day off in my life," he said. "But they still had time to raise me and my brother, actor Alaa Khaled, like real parents."

He remembers a moment in time where the family went through tax problems with the IRS. "Imagine your family finally making it from nothing to something, and finally getting things going, and finally buying a beautiful house and taking care of your children — and the next day, it's completely all gone," he confessed to Complex. "So that's when I had to man up," DJ admitted. He told Forbes his parents used their same work ethic to earn everything back that had been previously taken away. "I saw all of that growing up, so I was born with a relentless hustle," he declared.

Love and basketball for DJ Khaled

For the 2020 NBA All-Star game, DJ Khaled performed alongside Quavo from Migos and rap legend Lil Wayne, Fader reported. "I love the NBA. I love the Miami Heat, I love being on the floor and watching the game," DJ Khaled once told Sports Illustrated. And he came a long way to make it courtside. According to the producer, DJ Khaled used to be a ball boy as a young kid. "I actually worked the All-Star game, Magic Johnson's last All-Star game," he revealed. "I got to see Jordan play, I got a chance to throw the ball to Jordan, Charles Barkley, Shaq and the list goes on," he revealed. A young DJ Khaled just started his work in music "so I got a chance to give them my mixtapes when I was a kid." Imagine an unknown DJ Khaled handing a CD to players like Shaquille O'Neal and Michael Jordan. "Some of the NBA players remember, some of them might not. But a lot do," he claimed. 

And the Jordan connection came full circle for DJ Khaled. In a video clip for GQ, he showed off a pair of amazing sneakers. "I love Jordans, and 3's are my favorite," he said, referring to the Air Jordan 3 model of footwear. And according to the producer, he has about 100 pairs, and the Jordan brand has another 100 pairs of an extremely rare and custom collaboration, called the "Father of Asahd 3's."

The surprising thing that limited DJ Khaled

DJ Khaled's musical personality and social media machismo paint a picture of an unstoppable figure. And yet, DJ Khaled had a serious fear that affects so many other people: Flying. In a 2017 interview with Sports Illustrated, he confessed that he had recently taken his first flight in ten years. DJ Khaled vividly remembered the momentous "flight [which] was real smooth, and it was relaxing, too." With the big mental hurdle passed, DJ Khaled excitedly claimed he could spend more time with his young son "and travel with him instead of meeting up and having him fly in. I can be with him every second of the day."

He admitted about the occasional "jitterbugs," but his patient "one step at a time" approach opened the world up to the producer. "I'm excited to see my fans overseas eventually," he said. Even with the massive support from his followers abroad, he added, "I haven't been overseas to actually touch them and let them know in person how much I love them." And he is proud to talk about one of his most vulnerable traits. "To overcome my fear was a major win for me and an accomplishment and also a blessing because I'm sure everybody has some type of fear in their life," he explained. "And if we can overcome it, that's a major accomplishment." Major key indeed.

No plans of losing his religion

"I'm Muslim all the way. One hundred percent. It's my way of life," DJ Khaled told Vogue Man Arabia in 2018. "I was born and raised a Muslim. I'm Palestinian. I'm Arab," he added. The son of two Palestinian immigrants, DJ Khaled vividly remembered visiting Palestine with his parents as a nine-year-old. The original week-long plan turned into two years. "I remember running through the streets of Ramallah. I remember the amazing food — the maqluba, the kibbeh — and the olive trees, they are just beautiful," he said. And he picked up essential life lessons on the trip, too. "I learned the morals and respect of family first," he explained.

One of his early nicknames as a DJ was the "Arab Attack." But he smartly ditched the name after one of the darkest affairs in US History. "I dropped it because, after the whole 9/11 thing, you know I'm not one of those ignorant people. I'm a positive person," he told Heeb in an interview. He continued that the name meant "we attack you with music, but when 9/11 happened, I said, you know what, I'm not gonna use that name no more. It wasn't respectful to the people that went through some stuff." 

With one nickname retired, he added another, calling his studio "Jerusalem." He claimed, "I did it cause I feel like my studio is a holy place, everybody is allowed in there, and I feel like it's blessed."

DJ Khaled is a big spender in the luxury market

As a man with talents, DJ Khaled is a big guy with big fashion choices. "My style is me. I love color. I love tropical stuff. I love clean looks," he revealed to GQ. He's proud of everything that makes up the outfits — the confidence, the pristine beard lines — with a few exceptions — "and the way my shirt lay on my belly — it's just a vibe. It's Khaled." Certainly, one of a kind. And his love for one-of-a-kind landed DJ Khaled into an online feud. 

As GQ reported, photos surfaced of DJ Khaled wearing an amazing Goyard jacket. The French luxury brand is well known for its bags but only makes accessories and no ready-to-wear. The company said on Twitter that DJ Khaled's piece was "most likely a total fake." He set the record straight and tweeted that he uses its genuine scarves to create his own custom Goyard jackets, pants, and shirts. The company deleted the original posts, and DJ Khaled claimed no hard feelings. Maybe in part because he absolutely loves high-end accessories. 

In a video clip for GQ, he confessed to collecting a lot of bags. "I like 'em laying around in my office. I like 'em laying around in my closet," he revealed. And specifically showed off multiple colorways of the see-through Louis Vuitton duffle bags by Virgil Abloh. He'll need plenty of room to fill it up with all his catchphrases.

How many famous friends does DJ Khaled have?

The featured guest list on a DJ Khaled album looks the greatest musical festival lineup ever. Cardi B, SZA, John Legend, Post Malone, and Travis Scott all appear on his 2019 album Father of Asahd — and that's just on the first half. There's also Jay-Z, one of DJ Khaled's most famous pals. "Not only does he give me advice in terms of business, we've accomplished a lot over the years," DJ Khaled told Vogue Man Arabia. The two collaborated on the musical front line in songs like "I Got the Keys." Plus, a few tracks, specifically "Top Off" and "Shining," brought in Beyoncé to create an epic trio. But even DJ Khaled found himself a little star-struck over the irreplaceable Queen B. He admitted to The New York Times, that he only sees Bey when "I'm with my brother Jay-Z, and I just say, 'Hi,' and I look the other way so fast, and I kind of run."

In an interview with GQ, he talked about what it's like to be so close with so many celebrities — as varied as the mysterious Salt Bae. "My keys to maintaining a relationship is to be honest at all times," DJ Khaled explained. He added that he's not just hoping to call in a favor to make a record but truly wants real connections and friendship. "I value them more than making a record."

The father of Asahd

As a DJ and businessman, DJ Khaled told GQ he wants to go down in history as "one of the biggest, most powerful moguls." But perhaps more importantly, "an incredible father, with a family that is beautiful and amazing." He revealed that one of the biggest turning points in his life was the birth of his first son, Asahd. Since that day, DJ Khaled claimed, "I just appreciate life more, and what real love is." Plus, the thrilling future opportunities that come with fatherhood. "I'm just excited to have barbecues with my family ... to go on family vacations ... to work for my family," he said, while adding, "I love being a father."

Unlike many celebrity children, DJ Khaled and his wife decided to openly share images of their child. In today's terms, that means an official Instagram account. The husband and wife started @asahdkhaled seeing the platform as a luxury compared to their childhoods. DJ Khaled told Vogue Man Arabia about the difficulty in finding photos of himself at a young age. So, with an Instagram account, "when Asahd gets older, he won't have that problem. We only put up moments."

DJ Khaled might have to set up another account. He and his wife welcomed kid number two in January of 2020. Or as only DJ Khaled could say in an Instagram post, "ANOTHER ONE!"

The resurfaced interview that shocked fans

With the past coming back to haunt him, DJ Khaled took a lot of heat when a 2015 interview went viral in 2018. As The Cut recapped, in the original discussion on The Breakfast Club, DJ Khaled let loose several chauvinistic comments. For example, he talked about "putting in the work" to buy a home and clothing for women. And how "a woman should praise the man — the king." Then for the grand finale, DJ Khaled proudly admitted to never performing oral sex on women. "I don't DO that," he clarified. Adding, "it's different rules for men. You gotta understand, we the king."

More progressive celebs like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson jumped on the opportunity to call out DJ Khaled. The bulky actor re-tweeted the story and claimed, "as a man, I take great pride in mastering ALL performances." Even Smash Mouth — a relic from the '90s — called out DJ Khaled on Twitter. In its re-tweet, the band said, "A King who doesn't is no King at all."

DJ Khaled collects hit songs and cars alike

Like a lot of guys with a lot of money, DJ Khaled is a gearhead who passionately collects cars. His label of choice? Rolls-Royce — the British luxury brand. "What I love about Rolls-Royce is, you look at me, it's like you're looking at a Rolls-Royce," he boasted to Forbes

As reported by TMZ, DJ Khaled dropped half a million dollars on a 2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan — before the additional customization and $25,000 in extra features like "custom 24-inch Forgiato rims." He revealed that he used the extravagant vehicle as his "every day when [h'es] in Miami ... when [he feels] like driving" car.

That purchase was nothing compared to his custom Maybach convertible. In his song "Top Off," Beyoncé and Future repeat the line "I took the top off the Maybach" seemingly one million times. DJ Khaled took the lyric seriously. "I can't have a record called 'Top Off,' and not get in the Maybach with the top off," DJ Khaled said in a CRWN interview, via Billboard. According to him, the German brand only produces about three of these special convertibles "in the U.S. and they cost like a million and five. I started breaking out in a sweat. I told Jigga I gotta go buy the car," DJ Khaled said about the track's other featured guest, Jay-Z. Later, DJ Khaled claimed, "the next day, I pulled up on Jigga with the top off."

How much does this DJ make?

In 2016, Forbes reported that DJ Khaled racked in approximately $15 million for the year, making him one of the highest-paid acts in hip-hop. His big payday came in part from a wildly successful Snapchat profile and various brand partnerships. One year later, he used some of this money to buy a home in Beverly Hills. As reported by Variety, DJ Khaled purchased a $9.9 million home, previously owned by the British musical heartthrob Robbie Williams. One year later, DJ Khaled picked up an additional residence — but this one completely blew the first purchase out of the water. The musical tycoon purchased a $22 million mansion in Miami, via The Los Angeles Times.

When he's not creating custom clothing or buying supercars, DJ Khaled enjoys the simpler pleasures in life. Like candles — though unsurprisingly, very expensive and very French. DJ Khaled has a soft spot for Diptyque's olfactory expertise. In a video clip for GQ, he confessed to visiting Diptyque's boutiques often to buy its signature candles. "They love me. They know when I walk in, I want it all," he said.

As of July 2020, DJ Khaled was worth $36.5 million, according to Forbes. Thanks in part to his continued collaborations with big brands like Apple, T-Mobile, Ciroc, and Weight Watchers.