DJ Khaled has been grinding for over two decades, but the last two years in particular have seen his star power rise, thanks to his Snapchat savvy and magnetic catchphrases.
After enchanting supporters with his "major keys," it's been a "new deal alert" every other week: He's managed by Jay Z (and has the last remaining original Roc-a-Fella chain), he released his first Billboard 200-topping album, Major Key, this year under We The Best/Epic Records, and he has his We The Best radio show on Beats 1.
The DJ/producer's latest partnership is becoming the face of CÎROC Mango, which officially hits local liquor bars (or can be ordered online) today (Oct. 17). Below, Khaled took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to discuss CÎROC Mango, his Hillary Clinton co-sign, and the major keys he's learned from L.A. Reid, Jay Z and Diddy.
You often shout out Apple Ciroc, but what made you roll with Ciroc Mango?
I'm the apple guy, but Puff let me taste the mango [flavor] before it came out. I'm always on the Apple, and when the Mango came out, I was like, "Another one." I love all types of fruit, man. Diddy just did an amazing job with CÎROC. I just did a commercial for the CÎROC Mango. It's special, because it's real motivational and inspirational at the same time. The ad is going to motivate everyone to not give up on your dreams, and your hustle. At the same time, I drink CÎROC to celebrate or take the edge off so the commercial really connects.
You're around a lot of cloth right now: you have a deal with Diddy for CÎROC, you're managed by Jay Z, and have a record deal with L.A. Reid at Epic. What would you say you've learned from each of them?
Be great. Those guys are moguls I've looked up to my whole career and been inspired by. Just for them to work with me and be partners with me, we were just friends before all this business stuff we're doing. That's what's so beautiful about it -- we respect each other. The keys I got from them is just to continue to be great. Don't stop, know what I'm saying? Keep going.
L.A. Reid gave me my first executive job years ago as president at Def Jam South, and he gave me my first label deal ever. To reunite with him for another label deal at Epic Records is like, that's God. It's written. We're just destined to work with each other, we win together. He's such a great music man. I learn a lot of keys from him.
You also have a book called The Keys coming out. What was the learning curve like for that, as opposed to music?
It's called The Keys, coming out Nov. 22. I feel like everybody's going to love the book, man. It's real powerful. It's basically the keys from my perspective of coming up in this game, from the bottom. Starting in my garage, to where I'm at now. Weathering storms, a lot of keys and a lot of cloth talk from Jigga, L.A. Reid, Ariana Huffington, [Rick] Ross, Busta [Rhymes]. You're going to hear people we look up to and people I grew up with. It's about the come-up, but at the same time, the keys through the come-up. I'm just speaking facts.
The book I wrote was just basically all real talk, as in real-life experiences. Giving the young world and young entrepreneurs and hustlers keys to maneuver through the jungle. Each key leads to the next key.
How did you get everyone on the same page for your book?
Relationships are a major key. When you have somebody speak about somebody, your relationship is obviously in a great place. For a book, they're comfortable to speak about a story that they experienced with me that the world probably doesn't know because it's just between me and that one person. This book is The Keys, so we're going to give you the keys.
You also just wrapped up the tour with Beyonce. What was your favorite moment from that tour?
My favorite moment from that tour was every moment, every night, every stage with Beyonce, the biggest artist in the world. It's like touring with Michael Jackson. It was an amazing, amazing experience. It changed my life, I'm very grateful. At the same time, I'm very inspired by the whole tour. It pushed me to go even harder musically, performance-wise, hustle-wise, spiritually, everything.
Did you watch the presidential debate last week? If so, what did you think about it?
I only care about who's going to show love, and I'm going for Hillary [Clinton]. I support Hillary for a lot of reasons because I feel like Obama is telling us to support Hillary, and I love Obama. I like Bill Clinton, and I also like Hillary Clinton. I feel like she's responsible for not just dealing with all the greatness going on in the world, but when you have to deal with something in the political world, I feel like she's going to deal with it with responsibility.
As far as the debate, the debate is like a sound clash. Who's got the cloth talk of that moment? A back-and-forth. But at the end of the day, [the election is about] who's going to be responsible to represent us as a country and as human beings.