DJ Khaled’s Divine Inspiration | GQ

An album cut that is sure to be a hit like “Bills Paid” is a perfect example of how he elevates a song. The song is an instant hit by its boisterous mix of vibrant, upbeat Southern tunes and verses and verses by Latto and City Girls. Khaled told me the song started when Mark Pitts, president of RCA Records and former manager of Notorious BIG, was staying at Khaled’s house while popular dancehall star Skillibeng was recording his part for the album. Pitts played Khaled a piece of a Latto track and “It caught my ear and it stayed into my ear,” Khaled said. “Two weeks later, I called him, like, ‘Yo, what’s up with that business? I have an idea. “Khaled had a vision for the track and asked Lotto permission to add his own products to it as well as recruit another big name. The original beat knocks out the classic song “Lights, Camera, Action” by rapper Mr. Cheeks, but Khaled raised the bar. He added a sample of the Eddie Kendricks song, “Keep on Truckin,” which Mr. Cheeks originally used and “brought some 808s, and took that bastard to the next level. Then, I called the City Girls and told them I wanted them to share verse, eight and eight.” The result was a new female empowerment song. [the video],” Khaled said. “Records like that [only] once in a while. “

The aforementioned Skillibeng, 25 years old from St. Thomas, Jamaica, joins four dancehall legends — Buju Banton, Capleton, Bounty Killer and Sizzla — in “These Streets Know My Name,” a group of A-list artists that are even more impressive than the rap line Khaled gathered. Making room for dancehall and reggae symbols is a longstanding tradition on Khaled’s albums, and it’s also worth reiterating that before he started playing I God didKhaled switched music for the photo session with “Praise Ye Jah” by Sizzla and “Magic City” by Buju.

He feels a deep connection to Jamaica. “My childhood friends were all Jamaican, Haitian, Puerto Rican or Arab,” he recalls. “I grew up with a lot of ball and a lot of pitch, yahmean? As a DJ and a producer, I’ve been coming to Jamaica since I was 15, 16 years old. Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, Sizzla and Capleton, all of these greats signed me earlier in my career. I used to do dubs for them and we became brothers. I’ve been DJing in slums all over Jamaica, all over Kingston. I used to use soundclash. I used to do it all. I still do. It’s just very important; Working with those brothers is really close to my heart.”

As we crossed the blue water on the bridge connecting Miami to Miami Beach, he remembered something and pulled out his phone to open FaceTime. Moments later, Fat Joe arrives to pick him up and Khaled gives him birthdate affirmations. In the middle of an interview (which itself is heavily scheduled for an album release), he takes the time to show his love for one of his best friends. Fat Joe asked Khaled if he would mind creating a video message for him to post on his Instagram and he didn’t waste a second, recording the message as soon as he hung up. That’s what makes Khaled Khaled… Khaled. At his busiest, this hip-hop Izhiman makes time for the people he loves. That’s why Jay-Z has appeared on six albums. That’s why Future and Drake and Wayne keep coming back. That is why the symbols of Jamaica appeared. Because Khaled wasn’t trying to sell them coffee.

“God always told me to keep going,” Khaled said. “When times are tough, I work harder. When times get great, I make it even harder. I don’t waste my emotions and energy going backwards. I use my energy to find a solution to keep going. If something doesn’t work out the way it’s supposed to, the trials and tribulations – instead of burying my head in it, I want to find a way to go back and keep working on solutions. “

We arrive at his waterfront mansion, and Khaled, stoned, tired and hungry, disappears through the entrance. I walked out the front gate and didn’t realize it, making eye contact with my Lyft driver effortlessly. Surely God did that too.

Photo taken by Siggy Owho Osimini
Styled by Terrell Jones
Brushed by Gianluca Mandelli DJ Khaled’s Divine Inspiration | GQ

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