How DJ Khaled Went from Pirate Radio to Superstar
From pirate radio stations to Snapchat King, DJ Khaled has done it all in his career. But even now it seems he’s just getting started. Take a look back at how it all happened from his early beginnings until now with our timeline.
Born N Raised (1975 – 1988)
DJ Khaled, the son of Palestinian immigrants, spent the early years of his life in New Orleans, Louisiana. At 13 years old, he began learning how to DJ in his parents’ garage after moving to Orlando, Florida.
Out Here Grindin’ (1993 – 1998)
Khaled’s family returned to Louisiana where he worked at Odyssey record store, forging alliances with artists on the come up including Lil Wayne and Birdman. Khaled got his first radio gig on Miami pirate station Mixx 93. Before long, he was co-hosting The Luke Show with 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell.
They Ready (1999 – 2005)
He was involved in the production of Hip Hop albums such as Real Talk by Fabolous, True Story by Terror Squad, and All or Nothing and Me, Myself & I by Fat Joe. In 2003, he began hosting his own weeknight radio show on 99 Jams, which would later become the most listened to station in Southern Florida.
He also became renowned for throwing the wildest house parties, a tradition he still holds today…
During this time, Khaled dropped a string of successful mixtapes leading up to 2006, in which he labelled his tracks with the infamous “DJ KHALED” shout at the beginning.
We Takin’ Over (2006 – 2008)
His debut Listennn…The Album dropped in June 2006, reaching number 3 in the Top 20 Billboard Rap chart and number 12 in the Billboard 200.
2007 saw the release of his second album We The Best, which spawned two singles: “We Takin’ Over” ft T.I, Akon, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Birdman and Lil Wayne, and “I’m So Hood” (later certified platinum) with Rick Ross, T – Pain, Trick Daddy and Piles. The album peaked at Number 2 on the Billboard Rap/Hip Hop chart.
Not only did 2008 see the release of Khaled’s third commercial album We Global but it also saw the founding of the “We The Best Music Group” which later became an imprint of YMCMB.
All I Do Is Win (2009)
After winning DJ of The Year at the BET Hip Hop Awards, DJ Khaled was appointed the president of Def Jam South. The label most notably jump-started the career of Young Jeezy along with many others including 2 Chainz and Frank Ocean.
I’m On One (2010 – 2012)
Khaled released three more fairly successful albums: Victory (2010), We The Best Forever (2011) and Kiss The Ring (2012). As with the rest of his albums, all included features from some of the biggest names in Hip Hop, including everyone from Cool & Dre to Drake, Ludacris and Chris Brown.
They Don’t Love You No More (2013 – 2015)
Khaled released “No New Friends” featuring Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross as the first single off of the Suffering From Success album in 2013. A couple of months later, his infamous proposal to Nicki Minaj was deemed a publicity stunt for the second single “I Wanna Be With You” featuring the Queen’s queen herself.
I Changed a Lot (2015) was the 8th album, yet despite the sales not doing as well as hoped for, it saw the popular “Hold You Down” single featuring Chris Brown, August Alsina, Future and Jeremih. The album cover consisted of Khaled standing in front of the famous “Finga Licking’” restaurants he had been opening across the country.
2015 also proved huge for Khaled with the launch of We The Best merchandise store, becoming a video game character, receiving the key to the city (Miami) and of course, his Snapchat debut…
Major Key (2016)
This year has been even bigger for Khaled; the recent release of his 9th studio album Major Keybecame his first number 1 album, selling the equivalent of 100,000 units in it’s first week.
Earlier in the year, Khaled also struck a deal with Apple for his own radio show We The Best Radio to join Apple Music, as well as signing a deal with Jay Z and Roc Nation.
And the year isn’t even over!