The mainstream world continues to discover DJ Khaled through his Snapchat success, and the latest guest to the Palestinian’s Success! party is The Daily Show.
On Wednesday, Hassan Minhaj, a Daily Show correspondent (and UCDavis alum, go Aggies!), took a trip to Khaled’s well-stocked sneaker closet where he gained a few “keys to success!” and traded shoe descriptions with the master himself until he ran out of comebacks and a disguise for his voracious shoe envy. It was then that Khaled comforted Minhaj with this slightly confusing gem: “knowing is better than learning, which I know sounds weird.” Probably because that makes no sense?
As hip-hop head Minhaj knows, DJ Khaled is not new. Even still, folks like Taylor Swift and New York Times fans are joining the one-liner king’s Internet frenzy like they’ve “discovered” something.
We people of color and lovers of hip-hop are glad the mainstream has learned about Khaled’s motivational Snapchats, and we’re happy that the industrious DJ and advice guru will probably point all of this new attention to a lucrative end. However, Khaled has been on the radio since the late 1990s and released his first album in 2006 (which was called Listennn... the Album—yes, he was misspelling titles even back then).
For those new to the Khaled rage, let us give you a quick crash course in the arbiter of success!
Born in New Orleans, Khaled got into hip-hop and reggae early and began working at Odyssey record store where he met Cash Money Records owners Baby and Slim in the early 1990s. From there, he DJ’d at a pirate radio station and then joined 2 Live Crew’s The Luke Show with Uncle Luke and a slew of naked women. By 2003, Khaled earned his own radio show on Miami’s hip-hop station 99 Jamz.
While hosting his show, Khaled began releasing his own albums filled with posse cuts like the criminally underrated “Holla At Me,” “I’m So Hood” and “All I Do Is Win” featuring every rapper known to woman.
During this time he was part of New York MC Fat Joe’s Terror Squad rap crew, where he held umbrellas and shielded Joe from rain and dollar bills.
After his albums sold well and he proved his knack for balancing radio and hood hits, record labels like Def Jam gave him a shot at helping rappers like Rick Ross choose songs for their albums. He was takin’ over.
Around this time, Khaled set up his own independent label called We The Best, touting Miami rapper Ace Hood. Remember this song? It’s great for the gym.
Then Khaled joined the Cash Money Records crew and continued to carve his niche with masterful one-liners that don’t really make sense but are entertaining and catchy as hell. Some examples currently bowling over popular culture right now are:
The point is, DJ Khaled has been around for a very long time and in more ways than the brief timeline you’ve just read. So if you’re enjoying him, that’s great! But don’t act like he’s some new fresh face you’ve discovered—you didn’t. Internet, don’t Columbus DJ Khaled, thanks.
Contact the author at Hillary@jezebel.com.