There was a time when “what does DJ Khaled actually do?” was actually a pretty funny joke on social media. But after eight albums that stretch over almost a decade - the latest being I Changed a Lot, which drops tomorrow - the joke's become tired.
It’s clear that Khaled has an ear for production, brings the hottest acts in the game together, helps to manufacture hits and uses his often outrageous personality to keep himself in the spotlight. Remember when he drank champagne underwater? When he proposed to Nicki Minaj? He's created a simple and straightforward formula that has worked time and time again.
The undeniable truth is that Khaled has been a fixture in hip-hop for years now, and in that time it seems like he's worked with everyone from Jay Z to Ace Hood. But there's so often a gap between "seems" and reality, so we wanted to look at the numbers behind his albums. How many artists have appeared on a Khaled album? Who has appeared the most? Let's break it down.
Number of total guest features on his albums: 271
Number of guest features on each album:
- Listennnn...The Album: 40
- We The Best: 41
- We Global: 38
- Victory: 33
- We The Best Forever: 36
- Kiss The Ring: 28
- Suffering From Success: 30
- I Changed A Lot: 25
When it comes down to guest features, nobody does it like DJ Khaled. Before I counted I knew it would be a lot, but 271? 271?!?!?! It’s also interesting to note how much smaller his circle has gotten over the years. For his more recent albums, he’s cut out smaller names in favor of only using the biggest artists as well those he signed to We The Best Music like Ace Hood, Mavado and Vado.
- Listennnn...The Album: 230,000
- We The Best: 440,000
- We Global: 60,000
- Victory: 28,000
- We The Best Forever: 53,000
- Kiss The Ring: 108,000
- Suffering From Success: 44,000
- I Changed A Lot: TBA
While it’s impossible to track the DJ Khaled album sales to precision, it’s interesting to look at their up and down nature. The Miami native's first two albums, released in 2006 and 2007 respectively, are his top-selling, because more albums were being purchased at that time. Victory had his biggest single ever with “All I Do Is Win,” but that wasn't reflective in the overall album sales. Sales for Kiss The Ring were also surprising since the LP didn’t have a huge hit nor was it any different than the five full-lengths that preceeded it.
Most Frequent Guest Features:
- Rick Ross: 8 albums, 32 songs
- Lil Wayne: 7 albums, 13 songs
- Birdman: 7 albums, 11 songs
Many artists appear on several albums from DJ Khaled, and Ross has appeared so often he might as well be Khaled's twin. After the three mentioned above, Plies and Jadakiss have each appeared on six of those albums. Jadakiss is the most featured New York artist, even above Fat Joe, who is only on half of Khaled’s albums, but has a much longer history with him.
- “I’m On One” ft. Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne: #10 on Billboard Hot 100, platinum certification.
- “All I Do Is Win” ft. T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg & Rick Ross: #24 on Billboard Hot 100, double platinum certification.
- “I’m So Hood” ft. T-Pain, Trick Daddy, Rick Ross & Plies: #19 on Billboard Hot 100, platinum certification.
- “We Takin’ Over” ft. Akon, T.I., Fat Joe, Rick Ross, Birdman & Lil Wayne: #38 on Billboard Hot 100, gold certification.
Minus his debut album, DJ Khaled has managed to have at least one single that been certified gold or better on every album. “Grammy Family” definitely should’ve been a much bigger single, too. Even though his records have been very popular, Khaled has surprisingly been unable to hit #1 beyond the rap charts. “I’m On One” is the closest he’s gotten.
For most of his albums, DJ Khaled sticks to a formula that brings the best of the best together, but every now and then he’ll do something unexpected. In doing so, he’s created some special records that stand out from his usual string of hits.
- Scarface, Nas & DJ Premier - "Hip-Hop"
- Kanye West, Consequence & John Legend - "Grammy Family"
- J. Cole & Bas - "Hell’s Kitchen"
- Jadakiss, Fat Joe & Ja Rule - "New York Is Back"
- Nas & Cool (of Cool & Dre) - "I’m On"
- J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T. & Kendrick Lamar - "They Ready"
In the end, it's hard to not view these numbers as staggering. They show how DJ Khaled has played an integral role in the art of hip-hop collaborations for almost a decade. Hate him or love him, he's been undeniably influential. No DJ has done what he’s managed to do for such a sustained period, even if we're still not entirely sure what it is he does. If having eight albums in nine years is an indicator of his future, you can surely expect DJ Khaled to continue to win. As long as he can put together albums, there will always be another one.