DJ Khaled
Nobody Does It Better

khaled-1.jpgOn a chilly Spring day in April, the heavyset DJ steps off the elevator at KOCH Records’ Manhattan office, chatting a mile a minute on his Blackberry. It’s only 11 AM, but Mr. Miami is energetic and colorful. His mammoth Terror Squad medallion swings around his chest as he strolls around the office making sure his itinerary for the day is set. There’s good reasons for why Khaled is considered one of hip-hop’s hardest working entrepreneurs: multitasking as a producer, DJ on South Florida’s WEDR 99 Jamz and manager for the production duo, The Runners. Last year, the Big Dog Pitbull released his debut LP, Listennn…The Album, which sold over 200,000 and opened No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Independent Album chart. Now, almost a year later, the Beat Novocain will release his follow up, We The Best, on June 12. The LP features a star studded lineup of guests, including Lil’ Wayne, Birdman, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe and Akon on the new hit single, “We Takin’ Over.” Khaled talks to XXLMag.com about his sophomore effort, industry politics and Remy Ma’s departure from Terror Squad.

This is a quick turn around between albums. Did you want to capitalize off the momentum of the last one?
Yeah. I’m a fan of music. I think artists should drop as much music as possible. You have to stay in people’s faces and continue to make hit records [in order] to stay in this game. If you don’t work, you ain’t gonna win. I just want to show people this is what I do. We the best! The first album was big. I love it. It’s a classic. But the songs [on We the Best] are bigger. I got concepts. I just don’t got people rapping. I got hit chorus, hit ideas, hit concepts. Every record I went in thinkin’ it’s gonna be a single.

The KOCH budget can’t be big enough for all these artists. How are you putting this album together? Are people doing favors for you?
Real recognizes real. A lot of these artists respect my passion and the ideas I got. At the end of the day, everybody is gonna eat. The business is structured so if I win, they eat. If they win, I eat. Being relevant helps you eat. Then you got your publishing game. If the record sells or charts, you’re good. So some people do it on the love while others do it on the business. Either way, doesn’t matter to me because we’re gonna win together. People just fuck with me. We have relationships.

As a DJ releasing an album, what’s been the biggest challenge for you?
Breaking through. The hip-hop industry is a circle. They don’t want to let you in. I feel like I’ve broken into that circle by putting this album together. I’ve kicked the door down. I’m changing the game. I just shot a video for “We Takin’ Over” and it’s gonna be one of the most classic videos since [Biggie’s] “Hypnotize.” People are gonna be like, “Damn, it looks like a million dollar video.” Then you got KOCH, who is the underdog, but they got like four hits in a row. They gotta get respect now. I think they are the only ones putting out hits right now. They got DJ Unk, Jim Jones and Khaled — that’s a great lineup. All of these labels are just putting these artists out and making them fail. I’m here controlling my own career. If I don’t like something, we’re not doing it.

khaled-2.jpgAs a DJ on Miami’s 99 Jamz, have artists approached you like, “I’ll be on your album if you play my song on the radio?”

Not really, ‘cause real recognize real. Of course, you want to show people love, but my job as a DJ — and I hope DJs think like this — is to play great music. If it’s great, I’m gonna play it. But if I don’t think it’s great and other people think it is, then I’m gonna play it. I’m right 95 percent [of the time], but I can be wrong. I’m gonna support as much as I can. Everybody has their politics, but I’m gonna do what I can do to support and break every artist. The difference with me is, when I play the record, people respect it. My co-sign is big. I earned that throughout the years.

Is it tough to see Fat Joe make hits but not sell records?
You gotta give Joe his credit for being in the game so long and staying relevant. “Make It Rain” was a top five hit record. Every album he drops he has a huge hit. He can sell one record or three million—he’s got one of the hottest records for the year every time he drops an album. Joe’s just as hit maker. He’s so relevant. You see him on TV, in magazines, [he’s got] endorsement deals. He’s about to do movies and TV shows. He’s definitely somebody I look up to. You can’t take away his props because of sales. If we’re comparing spins on a record, Joe is top five. I can name a bunch of big artists that don’t have a hit record like Joe. They sell records, but they don’t have a bigger hit. Look at Billboard magazine, you’ll see Joe ever year when he drops an album, he owns that. So maybe these record companies aren’t finding the niche to market him in a certain way. But I don’t even think it’s that. I think it’s the way records are sold now. If he’s selling 300,000 or 400,000 now, that means he would have sold four million [back in the day].

How do you feel about Remy Ma leaving Terror Squad?
Remy Ma wanted to leave Terror Squad and Joe’s the type of person that if you don’t want to be down, nobody is gonna hold you back. God bless you. But to this day, I really don’t understand why she wanted to leave Terror Squad. I thought she was in great hands. Terror Squad is a family and we support Remy Martin. She did well with Terror Squad. Maybe she’s unhappy with her last album, but you can’t blame that on Terror Squad. I felt like she’s been cosigned from Big Pun to Fat Joe and other people courtesy of Fat Joe. In this music business, you have to respect the fact you wouldn’t know a Remy Martin if you didn’t know a Big Pun or Fat Joe. I’m not saying you might not know [her] later, but at that time, you know [her] through Big Pun and Fat Joe. Big Pun found her and brought her to the crew. Joe helped the situation. You have to always respect the fact that if somebody doesn’t want to be apart of that, you gotta let them go. She asked to leave and we wish her so much luck. She’s very talented. There’s no beef or anything like that.

  • ANDREW

    fuck dj khaled he sucks dick aint nobody gonna buy his shit FUCK TERROR SQUAD

  • ANDREW

    fuck dj khaled aint nobody gonna but his shit he is trash

  • Holla

    Is that you Cuban Linx?

  • N.O. 4 life

    Khaled first CD was solid…i might go scoop up that second if its as good as the first.

  • DJ King

    DJ Khaled’s songs are aight… But he sucks…….

  • these posts are racist

    DJ Khaled is on fire!

  • mj

    dj khaled is the biggest dick suckerr of all time

  • Rodjilius

    i still havent heard his cd listennn ive heard most the songs tho khaled is a nice dj tho

  • http://www.rapevolusom.com B.DoG

    Khaled is the best…

  • http://fotolog.com/titomad SHABAKANO 13

    KHALED DO YO’ SHIT BWOAY!!!…..AND KEEP REPRESENTIN’ DA 305….AND ALL THE HATERS KEEP SUCKIN’ A MUTHA FUCKIN’ DICK!!!!…..FROM CHILE TO DA WORLD……LOKOSOUNDZ!!!…..WE THE BEEEST!!!……..ARRIBA LATINOOOOOS!!!!

  • FuckUPayMe618

    I might just have to download this shit. The first album had a couple of cuts on it

  • Doomz Town Stand-up!!!

    peeeeenis li…lisssteennnnn wuz an iight album styll

  • http://xxl.com YounGuttabkaBlaqueCzar(longlivedaking)mw

    Dats my nigga..DJ K-H-A-L-E-D aka the billion dollar voice….

  • http://www.msn.com King Ben

    Takin’ over!

  • these posts are racist

    everyone needs to stop hating. DJ Khaled is a great DJ and knows how to make hits. DJ Khaled is the biggest thing in Hip Hop right now. Hands down. We the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Danny

    Im from Miami and if it wasnt for khaled there would be no real rap music to listen to on the radio in Miami!!

    I want to take this time to express the hate i have for a faggot ass nigga named “STEVE HARVEY”.

    That faggot fucked up 103.5 the beat!! He took rap off of it. Now its just that music that our grandparents fuck too!! SO FUCK STEVE HARVEY!!

    Khaled keep doin ya thing baby and keep holdin it down!!

    Ya dig??

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    WE THE BEST

  • HollyHood

    I don’t really buy mixtape albums, they usually don’t have a concept and the songs don’t seem 2 mesh good. Plus its always more bad songs then good and the good usually n up being singles

  • http://www.myspace.com/arkaplan - OZ – www.myspace.com/arkaplan

    FUCK HIM

  • john cochran

    Dj khaled in 2000s= Dj clue in the late 90s.

  • Locc to tha brain

    dj khaled is fuckin gay

  • Miami Monica

    Khaled! We doing it for Miami! We takin’ over! What it doesssssssss!? LOL…. ;-)

  • G-UNIT!!

    why is every body fat on terror Squad ..

  • http://xxlmag.com Last Laugh

    ^ I guess they making money and having lobster and steak. Anyway We Takin Over is a great record and I respect Khaled his grind and personality. We The Best June 12

  • datniggavic

    fuck dj khaled, its all bout dj drama…07 bitches!!!

  • TRZT

    I might go on L-wire and DL a few,
    see what dis foo talkin bout.

  • Dade County 305

    keep reppin the 305 Khaled but nigga u gotta shut the fuck up on the radio sometimes. if Fat Joe wanted to let Remy go on about her biz, why did he put a stop on her signing or having any thing with GUNIT?????

  • Randy F. Baby Mekka Millz a!

    ya dudes just hatin on the man son im from Jersey and im down in Fort Luaderdele rite now and the man is doin it big so i gotta give it to em no homo. plus look at the dudes lineup on the album from last year to this year man. if ya dont like his shit thats you if ya hatin on the man go suck a dick no homo its dipset young money all day fuck 50Cent gggggggggg-unot dam show some cortesy curtiiiiiiiiiiiiis

  • me

    i agree with that comment about Steve Harvey. He is responsible for hip-hop taken out of 103.5 the beat. steve harvey, kill yourself.

  • lock down_ceo

    WE THE BEST! BULL SHIT, My father slaped
    that nigga when we were livin back in the M.I.A

  • Hip Hop since 79′

    I like the Allah medallion.

  • Dade County 305

    + ass

  • Mr.Yayo

    We The Best is going to be a classic album. DJ Khaled is in music for the music and not the bullshit industry or money. He brings artist together to make a record that is timeless. We Takin Ova is one of the best songs in 07. June 12, We The Best cant wait!

  • Smitty Motha Fcka

    xxlmag.com aint been posting my comments, but i’ll still type something for tha fuck of it, khalid let that little bit of money he made of tha first cd go to his head, he, fat joe, and lil’ wayne are why hip hop sucks lately.

  • Mo

    dj kaled is doin alot!!

  • baba

    yo ma man is a Muslim i Gotta respect yo straight up

  • brian

    we the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!North Gwinnett 2007

  • http://xxlmag.com Kane Corleone

    Pun brought Remy in,Joe didn’t do shit,he only wants to promote for himself,Remy killed it on Lean Back,he should have followed up with her release not waiting 3months then dropping her album so it can go wood,What happened with Cuban? Nigga was slimmer ,had slicker rhyme patterns than Joe and what happened to your boy pushed back like a barber fucking up yo hairline.Since Pun left(rip)so did the realness of TS

  • http://msn redrum

    his musics solid.but he annoys the sh*t ouuta me…

  • http://www.xxlmag.com piru555

    this dude is a fucking joke. “WE THE BEST” i have never herd soming so fucked up in my life. what your the best at sellin 3 alubms, you and your whole industry crew. Look dumb ass, and yes im talking to you callid. If you sell 3 albums that means that your not relevent anymore, and its dumb ass dj’s like your self who spin this shit. You can sit there in all honsety and tell me that “MAKIN IT RAIN ON SOME HOS” is relevent music. its fuckers like you and the rest of your ho ass organization that make hip hop to commerical. YOU FAGGOTS are straight industry. And your ridin the dick of koch records who cant market themselves out of a wet paper bag. the majors are gettin sick of you dumb ass rappers that why half of you (the ones who dont make any money) are forced to this shit hole of a record lable. Fat joe was always in BIG PUNS shawod, because hes not a star and hes never really had a a great alubm, and this is the dude you look up to. Well dick riders love dick riders.
    HALIFAX NOVA SCOTIA CANADA baby

  • Stax On Deck

    We Da Best! Khaled is doing it big! Shout-Outs to the 305!!!

  • Dade County 305

    piru555 calm you ass down nigga! it aint that serious. nigga u live in canada, u dont know shit about the 305 and the whole SOUTH! i mus say Toronto got some fine ass women!!!! oh yeah and they love American brothas. i think thats y ur upset chump. piru,,, nigga ur not a blood!!!!!!

  • Danny

    piru555 Says:

    April 30th, 2007 at 8:26 am
    this dude is a fucking joke. “WE THE BEST” i have never herd soming so fucked up in my life. what your the best at sellin 3 alubms, you and your whole industry crew. Look dumb ass, and yes im talking to you callid. If you sell 3 albums that means that your not relevent anymore, and its dumb ass dj’s like your self who spin this shit. You can sit there in all honsety and tell me that “MAKIN IT RAIN ON SOME HOS” is relevent music. its fuckers like you and the rest of your ho ass organization that make hip hop to commerical. YOU FAGGOTS are straight industry. And your ridin the dick of koch records who cant market themselves out of a wet paper bag. the majors are gettin sick of you dumb ass rappers that why half of you (the ones who dont make any money) are forced to this shit hole of a record lable. Fat joe was always in BIG PUNS shawod, because hes not a star and hes never really had a a great alubm, and this is the dude you look up to. Well dick riders love dick riders.
    HALIFAX NOVA SCOTIA CANADA baby

    ^^^^^^^^^^
    Canada?? Wut the fuck? lmao!!

    Learn how to spell b4 you write dumbass!! “Callid” lmao.

    Oh and if it wasn’t for “Callid” then Miami would have no music on the radio so shut the fuck up bitch ass canadian…

    I’ll take a piss in your precious Niagra Falls lol…

  • http://myspace.com/shelbyakareign Shelby

    ok… DJ Khaled has broght hip hop to a new level i dont care what the fuck ya’llz gots to say cuz aint no one listening! ever since the hit song “Holla At Me” other music cant compare

  • chedda boy

    big shout out to dj khaled. im from dade & i been rockin with khaled since he was the arab attack. he used to play on underground stations back in 96. he had miami on lock.i remember he had pun on his show once. classic moment right there.im getting the chills just thinking bout it. he was the first dj to mix hip hop with dancehall reggae. he played all the hits first in miami. i saw him at sting in jamaica years back and he was the best dj out there. big shout out to dj khaled. i love waht u doin homey. WE THE MOTHERFUCKIN BEST !! WHO? WEEEEEEEEEE!! 305

  • Wardypop

    DJ Khaled AkBAr bitchess!!!!!! 3-0-5 all day
    !

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    FREE PALESTINE

  • Makall

    What the fuck does he really do? I mean he gets rappers that are already platinum and puts them together. I like the shit but that ain’t really talent. He ain’t rappin’. But like I said the shit goes hard and I givin’ props on knowin’ a easy way to make bank. Fat Joe was finished before he even started. Sorry to say it, but that nigga just can’t rap.

  • free palestine

    salam khaled let them hate!we taking over baby!
    be safe!