By Max Achille
With a new album and smash single, the Florida household name D.J. Khaled is coming straight out of the radio box to slap disbelievers in their faces. We taking Over solidifies the Miami movement that is spearheaded by Khaled and We the Best, the album takes his favorite phrase from just mere words to actual fact. With a second single off the album, entitled Brown Paper Bag, steadily gaining momentum across the Hip Hop stage, if any one doesn’t know they better ask somebody! D.J. Khaled, poised and confidant in his work, is taking over for real!
Why is Hip Hop so beautiful to you?
I was birthed with Hip Hop. I grew up around the culture, the clothing, the music, the graffiti, and the B. Boyin’. I am Hip Hop–when I came out of my mom’s stomach I was a Hip Hop child.
What motivated you to first become a D. J.?
Music in general; I always used to buy mix tapes and C. D.s. I would always make my own mix tapes and one day I just decided to become one.
What has been the most important and influential point in your career so far?
Doing We Taking Over and doing the album We the Best. Shooting the biggest video in Hip Hop and having the biggest #1 record in the country.
How did We Taking Over come about?
I got with the producer Danja Hills, when he made the beat I loved it, and we did some things to the intro and the chorus to make it real big, and when I heard it I loved it. I took my shirt off in the studio and jumped on the studio table. I knew I was going to put Akon on the beat—then we got Rick Ross, T. I., Lil Wayne, Fat Joe, Bird Man–I had a vision for the whole record.
Tell me more about the video…
Gill Green shot it. I told him that my favorite videos were Biggie’s Victory, Nas’ Hate Me Now, and Biggie’s Hypnotize. He came up with a treatment that was so amazing. I wanted a video that would be classic. We put it together, all the artists got a chance to help, and we made a mini movie that was so amazing. It’s the biggest thing in Hip Hop.
Let me know about We The Best, the album, in general…
We the Best explains itself—because we the best! I’m the best, Maxine is the best, The Source is the best. All the rappers on the album are the best, the producers are the best. Everybody is coming with their A game. I have huge collaborations right now. The next single is called Brown Paper Bag, with Young Jeezy, Juelz Santana, Rick Ross, Lil Qayne, Fat Joe and Tre. It’ s going to be the number one record…then I got other records with Game, T. Pain, Trick, Jadakiss, Paul Wall, Ja Rule, Shareefa–and the list goes on an on. It’s gong to be big–We the best!
How do you feel now that the public is truly embracing the record?
It feels great…for the whole country to love the record, watch the video, get in all the countdowns, and be number one. It’s big, it’s a big accomplishment for me. It’s only going to make me work harder to do bigger things and take it to another level because I have to outdo myself every single time. It’s a lot of work and stress but, we the best!
What sets you apart from other D. J.s?
My energy, my presence, and my swagger!
I know that you hand pick a lot of talent and help a lot of up-and-coming artists–you mentioned “swagger”–what is that you look for?
The artist got to have that “swagger”. Every big rapper from the Biggies, to the Puns, to the Lox , to the Lil Waynes, The Joe Cracks, the Jay-zs, the Keyshia Coles, they got swagger. A lot of people could rap and a lot of people could make songs these days but not many people have that swagger.
How did you link up with Terror Squad originally?
Fat Joe is my best friend and brother. Im the God-father of his beautiful daughter. I’ve known him for about 15 years. I met him in a N.Y. new music seminar back in the days, and we’ve just been best friends ever since. He kept it real with me, and I kept it real with him. Real g’s doing real things and we the best!
What officially prompted your change from just being a D. J to becoming this phenomenon that you are now?
More work…no more sleep, positive things…a lot of stress comes with this business but I guess it’s good stress…
What part of your culture do you take into this music thing? I know you’re Palestinian right?
I represent the Palestinian life–that is who I am. I’m Arab and I’m Muslim. I represent God. I represent love, unity, and peace.
What’s the difference between making a regular mixtape and making We the Best?
You have to have concepts, production, its not freestylin’…it’s well put together and we stayed in the studio and made it happen. It’s a masterpiece.
What is your ultimate hope for this record?
Being the number one independent record in the country, like I had last time; the number one record on BillBoard. I want the video to be #1in every count down, radio station, we have to be number one cause we the best, we represent the 1.
So what’s next for you?
The executive thing…have my own label…produce some more hit records…manage the runners to the top of the mountains and highest cliff…to be the number one producers…also build some stores, run a whole building in N. Y. …all types of stuff.
Why is Miami the best and how do you fit into this movement?
Miami is just filled with so many different cultures. We just got that hood that’s so real! You can’t let the palm trees confuse you! We have so much unity. We rarely beef with each other, and if there is one we make sure we squash it. All the rappers and D. J.s –we come together to represent the movement cause we the best.
So where do you hope to be ten years from now?
I hope to be swimming in the ocean in my back yard with the dolphins (laughs).
What advice do you have for new artists?
Always feel confident about your work and be number one in everything you do. You can’t sleep! There are no days off because everybody wants that spot.
So what’s your last message to the fans?
You got to give thanks to life every single day…give thanks to the most high and just give thanks—We the Best!