Spotlight On: DJ Khaled

head-shot-v2Interview By: Kaitlyn Tarallo

What else is there to accomplish when you’re already an internationally-known recording artist, a business mogul, and a social media mastermind? Between sharing major keys on Snapchat and touring with Queen Bey herself, DJ Khaled managed to add author to his ongoing list of successes after dropping his brand new book – The Keys. We got the chance to chat with DJ Khaled about his keys to success, the importance of staying away from negativity, and a few of his most insightful celebrity friends.

They don’t want you to keep reading, but we suggest you do.

Q: Few people have mastered Snapchat the way that you have. What inspired you to start sharing your major keys to success on the platform?

A: We live in a very digital world now! Especially with the younger generation being on a major platform like Snapchat, I’m able to connect with them more. I want them to know that anything is possible! Never settle; there is always room to grow and aspire to be the best person you can be. Every young person needs to know that. The door has never been open for me to walk in, in my whole career. I was determined and passionate – ripped doors down, took the hinges off, and put the hinges back in their face!

Q: What has working on the book been like for you? What do you hope fans and readers take away from it?

A: I know for a fact, you all will love THE KEYS. I love it, and usually when I love something I feel like the world will love it. Fan luv will definitely get insight on the keys from my perspective. A major key is to serve the people! I want you all to know I take nothing for granted, and I always remember where I’m coming from; that’s what drives my vision.

At the same time, you will get mogul talk from my book from the man himself, JAY Z. Jay Z will let you know in the book, why he rocks with me. You [will also hear from], LA Reid, Puff Daddy, Arianna Huffington… all people who I have so much respect and admiration for. But, you will also hear the story of the people who I came up from in the streets with [during] my childhood, or real good friends of mine.

Q: Is there anything in The Keys that people might not expect to see?

A: Absolutely, NO NEGATIVE TALK! Straight up. We don’t dwell on negative energy. It’s all about moving forward in life. Sometimes you will definitely hit a few bumps in the road – that’s life. But, it’s where you go from there. So, in The Keys it’s all about motivation and giving insight into my life and inspiring others through my story.

Q: Millions of Snapchatters follow along as you highlight personal aspects of your everyday life on social media. Are there other personal stories we can expect to see in the book?

A: When you peel back the layers of DJ Khaled, you see a story more complex than the ten-second Snapchats. It’s the tale of a child of immigrant parents who worked his way up from DJ-ing school dances in Orlando to the top of the Miami music scene. Now, I’m in seven million cell phones. My success didn’t happen overnight. It took time and sweat and some very overworked vocal cords. I feel like it’s the most unbelievable story because I am the definition of “hard work pays off.” I knew when I was a kid this is what I wanted to do, and there’s nothing else that I wanted to do more than this.

Q: Some of the cool features in The Keys include the “Mogul Talk” sidebars, where we’re treated to insights from some of the world’s most well known celebrities. Who do you think is your most insightful celebrity companion?

A: The book will feature “mogul talk” from industry vets like Rick Ross, Puff Daddy, L.A. Reid, Lyor Cohen and more. But, my most insightful celebrity companion – no introduction needed – the man who inspired us all within this industry, HOV – JAY Z. Jay and I have been friends for a long time and have built a relationship throughout the years. As some of you may know, I rock with Roc Nation. We always said we were going to do something together besides making music. So, I said let’s make history together, let’s make big business, and let’s secure the bag together. I consider this partnership…two moguls? It’s powerful! A word used to describe Jay, he is a visionary and he never settles. This is why I have so much respect and admiration for him.

Q: Before you became the master of motivation, where did you go for inspiration and advice?

A: The motivation and inspiration came to me at the age of 12/13. You know, in the garage with a bunch of turntables, a bunch of records, posters of my favorite artist – Biggie, Jay, Tupac, Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson – all this beautiful energy around me. My drum machine where I would make beats, my microphone. The biggest blessing in life is LIFE itself! Determined to live it to the fullest!

Q: Something you say quite often is “They Don’t Want You..” What is the significance of this phrase? What does it mean to you?

A: The phrase, “They Don’t Want You to . . .“ refers to the people who doubt your success, who don’t believe in you or your vision. The person who tells you, you can’t have “that”, or that you can’t win! So, we stay away from “They.”

They” never wanted me to have my own book, but look. . .now I got The Keys to you all! That’s what the phrase, “They Don’t Want You to…” means. STAY AWAY FROM THEY!

Q: As you know, at Barnes & Noble College, our main focus is on our students. Is there a major key you think that tops all the rest? How can it help college students on their journeys to success?

A: Of all the major keys, I think the best of them all is to believe in yourself and never give up on your aspirations in life. You only get one opportunity, make the very best of it. Life may sometimes not be easy – but that’s life! You just have to have faith, love, and people who believe in you and your dream. . .that’s the MAJOR KEY!

Q: You are a busy man with quite a resume, but we have to ask – what’s next? Are there any specific projects you hope to tackle in the future?

A: Thank you! It has been quite a year for me. I mean, from really having a connection with my fans on a new level, to going on tour with BEYONCÉ! I mean. . .what can I do to top that!?! But, I am forever grateful for every opportunity that comes my way, and in any projects that I have in the near future, I just want my fans to feel inspired and to be with me on this journey.


Have you had the chance to read The KeysLet’s discuss! Share your feedback in the comments below.





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  1. Isaac says:


  2. Lakeyia Connor says:

    Awesome! I want this book!

  3. Cynthia says:

    Penning lyrics about assaulting women is a wobbly foundation on which to build success. I’m not impressed by his association with Jay Z, the former crack dealer, either. There are many better examples of immigrants and sons of immigrants who have added much to our country.

    • Jessica says:

      Cynthia unfortunately you are one of those to criticize the way a person builds their empire buy shaming them. Shame on you. Because you don’t agree with someone’s past lifestyle (see how I said past?) does not mean that they are a horrible person. This man has a wife and just had a baby and he treats that woman with the highest regards. I am pretty sure he consults his wife about his ideas and music. And for Jay Z he is on the same boat. He USE TO be a crack dealer (see how I said use to??) he is now an entrepreneur making big money with legit investments, has a beautiful wife as well and has a beautiful daughter that he is raising amazingly and puts them both on the highest pedestal you can possibly imagine. This is how they make their money to feed and provide for their family. I am beginning to sense a bit of insecurities in you. If you are not parading yourself in ways you don’t approve of then why are you so worried about other’s and their likes? However someone chooses to live their life is their business. You can point, comment, disapprove all you want but that does not mean everyone will listen. And I am pretty sure you are thinking after reading this that I must be one of these women who misrepresents myself… I am not… I have 2 beautiful daughters that I teach to always have respect for themselves and never let anyone say or treat them any less.

      • Cynthia says:

        As far as Jay Z and Beh, what decent man celebrates the mother of his children dancing around half naked and singing suggestive and violent lyrics. Also, I’m not sure why as African Americans we are supposed to obsess on the fact that many white men enslaved Africans 200 years ago yet we excuse every hoodlum in our culture for what he did 5 or 10 years ago. My way of thinking is we are presently enslaved; however, this is a slavery of our own making. Many, many men have done very well without having to exploit their own people, and those men are better role models than we are discussing herein. As for your making ad hominem (personal) attacks on me, that is what people with undisciplined minds do when they’re losing the argument. Good luck to you, Jessica. You may just need it.

  4. Monique says:

    I luv the idea of coming together and uniting
    Under the circumstances I think these guys should really get together and plan some school functions and or concerts. The book idea is great. Sharing information on your career struggles and success and or achievements is very inspirational for students.

    • Cynthia says:

      Monique, if your aspirations are to make a living singing lewd lyrics and shaking your moneymaker, then perhaps this book is for you. Otherwise, there is no value in this book for an intelligent, ambitious woman. Study hard in school and create your own success. Do not look to Queen Bey and the like to provide you a template with which to gain success. The hip hop culture exploits women, pure and simple.

  5. Rosie Wang says:

    Would love to read the book

  6. Cynthia says:

    I just realized that my original comment is “awaiting moderation,” which I imagine will be the case indefinitely. This is undoubtedly because I quoted Mr. Khaled’s lyrics within my message, which are undoubtedly considered too offensive to repeat herein. Let me see if I can paraphrase. In these lyrics he speaks of taking certain liberties with women that would not be considered savory by gentle society, but he expresses this in a much more vulgar way. When you decide to idolize someone, you should consider their entire body of work. My original comment may never be posted, but each on of you have the responsibility and the ability to vet Mr. Khaled’s body of work. Then, you can decide if he is truly a role model who you would wish to follow.

  7. DJ Khaled says:

    Holla back and put me on Dog, wanna get started making paper like yourself, I’m 46 years old just been diagnosed with MS, lost my job due to work related injury. My foot got ran over with an 1800 lb motor; I was taken to the hospital; and they ran a brain MRI, making sure I didn’t have a minor stroke, Thank God I didn’t, but they said they found MS. This has been an ongoing thing since 2014, Just praying to get blessed, nothing but Love, Monty Thomas

  8. octavia b says:

    Send me an email on taking the first step on building my own success and platform with no options at all. I want to know how to take nothing and turn it into gold.

    • Andrea says:

      The very idea of believing you’re without options, is what’s holding you back. Look around you, for what you CAN do. I don’t know your age but if old enough, apply for grants, scolorships and financial aid. Start with an education and go from there. Believe in yourself always, no matter what

      If you believe wholeheartedly, you’ll do something amazing, you most likely will. If you think you’ll fail, you most likely will be right. In any case, you will certainly increase your chance for success by staying positive.

  9. elvina seward says:

    Awesome!. Keep moving forward. I’m 70 plus yrs and am still young. I am after a second degree. And will define my next move soon. Peace and Blessings. I will purchase your book.

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