What does DJ Khaled actually do?
It's a question that's perplexed scholars, philosophers and academics for centuries, or at least since about 2006, when we first heard word of the force of nature that is Khaled. He doesn't produce, he doesn't rap, so besides the occasional ad-lib, what is it that earns him his name on album after album? Today, in a strange way, we got the clearest answer yet.
In a new interview, Khaled spoke about how it took him years of trying before he got Jay Z to give him a verse for, "I Got the Keys." The word "stalk" isn't quite right, but he did buy a condo in New York City just so he could travel in from Miami to be around Jay Z constantly and continually ask for that verse, a tactic my daughter essentially uses to procure the vast majority of the ice cream she consumes.
So that's it, there's our answer. What does DJ Khaled do? He convinces people to do things. Whatever it takes, however long it takes, he's going to close his sale, and his sales track record is incredible. He's now convinced everyone from Drake to Nas, Jay Z to Kendrick Lamar, Ace Hood to Ace Hood, to give him a verse for his albums, and then he's convinced the world to listen.
He may not be a genius musician, but he's a genius salesman, the kind of talker that could sell ice in the winter, fire in hell and water to a well. It's a hustler spirit that Jay must have recognized and inspired him to sign Khaled, which now makes even more sense. Jay clearly figured that a man willing to work that hard to pry a guest verse from him was someone to invest in. And it's that spirit that's also turned him into some sort of Snapchat Tony Robbins. Frankly, while I clearly can't help myself when it comes to cracking the occasional jokes, I genuinely wish I had just a touch more of those sales skills.
He's living proof that you don't need enormous talent to become rich and famous, all you need is the kind of determination that borders on stubbornness, the kind of belief in yourself that borders on delusion and the kind of persistence that borders on harassment. Now that's a major key.
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.
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