On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sat down with DJ Khaled to discuss his upcoming album GOD DID, Khaled reuniting JAY-Z and Nas, his new single “STAYING ALIVE,” and much more.
Born Khaled Mohamed Khaled in New Orleans, DJ Khaled began his career in the music industry as a circuit DJ. He was also hosting shows on Miami-based radio station WEDR and serving as the official disc jockey for the Terror Squad — comprised of Big Pun, Fat Joe, and Remy Ma — during the early 2000s. Khaled’s passion for hip hop and R&B music began at an early age with him deejaying years prior to landing his first radio gig. Despite taking on a number of monikers like Arab Attack and Terror Squadian, he debuted his first studio album, Listennn… the Album, under DJ Khaled in 2006. The 17-song project featured a star-studded roster that included artists like Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Pitbull, and several others.
Over the years, Khaled continued to solidify himself as a household name in hip hop through several albums like 2007’s We The Best, 2008’s We Global, and 2010’s Victory — the last of which helmed his breakout record “All I Do Is Win” featuring T-Pain, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross, and Ludacris. It was DJ Khaled’s first record to achieve multi-platinum status within a year of its release, paving the way for several more songs. His 2011 album We The Best Forever spawned hit records like “Welcome To My Hood” and the Drake, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross-assisted cut “I’m On One.” Beyond that, some of the Miami-based DJ’s most popular records to date include 2012’s “I Wish You Would” featuring Kanye West and Rick Ross; “No New Friends” featuring Drake, Rick Ross, and Lil Wayne; “I Wanna Be With You” featuring Future, Nicki Minaj, and Rick Ross; and “Hold You Down” featuring Chris Brown, August Alsina, Future, and Jeremih … to name a few.
Currently, DJ Khaled is preparing to release his thirteenth studio album, titled GOD DID, later this month. He gave fans a taste of the forthcoming project with “STAYING ALIVE” featuring frequent collaborators Drake and Lil Baby. The full-length release will serve as a follow-up to 2021’s KHALED KHALED, which notably contained features from Cardi B, Lil Durk, JAY-Z, Nas, and Big Sean, among others.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the DJ Khaled interview. Check them out below and watch the full episode here.
1. On his pre-release single “STAYING ALIVE” featuring Lil Baby and Drake
In the weeks leading up to the release of his new album, GOD DID, DJ Khaled released the album’s lead track. The song “STAYING ALIVE,” which includes features Drake and Lil Baby, explores the obstacles they had to overcome to live luxuriously. Speaking on the song, he says, “This is the type of record that resonates with everyone.”
“‘STAYING ALIVE’ is such an important record, not just for me… First of all, I want to big up Drake ‘cause Drake did. Lil Baby did,” Khaled shares. He continues, “It’s been crazy times. We’re out here trying to stay alive, let’s keep it real. We’re out here dodging all type of s**t. There’s [coronavirus]. There’s a new theory. Next day, there’s this theory. It’s always a theory.”
2. On collaborating with JAY-Z on his upcoming album
Khaled and JAY-Z worked together for the first time on the 2016 hit track “I Got The Keys,” which also featured Future. Later, the two reunited with Nas on 2021’s “Sorry Not Sorry.” After teasing JAY-Z’s appearance on his upcoming album GOD DID back in June, Khaled confirmed the news earlier this month through an Instagram post.
“He broke down the doors for us to do the s**t we doing. I’m a next-level fan … where this man came from, Marcy Projects, to where he’s at right now as a father, as an entrepreneur, as a mogul. [He’s] somebody you can call [about] anything and he’ll hear you out,” Khaled emphasizes when speaking on JAY-Z’s greatness. “All I gotta say about Hov on my album: Hov did.”
Khaled later confirmed that there are other artists featured on the JAY-Z record, stating, “Yes, it is. This album is called GOD DID so when I say this GOD DID, this is not just Khaled. This is GOD DID.”
3. On how he came up with the title for his thirteenth studio album, GOD DID
On July 6, DJ Khaled announced the name of his latest album via Instagram with the caption: “They didn’t believe in us…do you? #GODDID.” Staying true to his religious faith, the Miami native shares that the album name came about after God spoke to him during a period of disappointment.
“I was on the phone and somebody was telling me something. While they were telling me, I just kept looking at it. You know how you look at the phone like, ‘What is this person saying?’ Then I was like, ‘Let me call you back.’ I hung up and I put it down, I had my head down for a minute,” he explains to N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN. “I was real disappointed. I was like, ‘Damn, they don’t believe in us.’ Then imediately, I was like, ‘God did!’ That’s what God said, ‘Khaled, keep your head up. Don’t stop.’”
4. On connecting with his dancehall roots every time he releases a project
DJ Khaled has never been shy about sharing his admiration for Jamaica and dancehall music. On his 2021 album KHALED KHALED, the DJ recruited renowned musicians Buju Banton, Capleton, and Bounty Killer on “WHERE YOU COME FROM.” As far as his upcoming album, DJ Khaled confirms there will be a dancehall record that features several musicians within the genre.
Speaking on the song, he shares, “On GOD DID, I have something that is so monumental. The record is incredible, the video is done. Just who I got on it all together is kind of impossible. Like real talk, it’s really impossible. When you hear it and you come from that, they’ll be like, ‘I ain’t never seen that.’”
5. On getting Nas and JAY-Z to collaborate on “SORRY NOT SORRY”
On “SORRY NOT SORRY” off Khaled’s twelfth studio album KHALED KHALED, hip hop giants JAY-Z and Nas reunited for the first time in nearly a decade. The song marks the fourth record in their respective discographies on which they have collaborated. The first was “Black Republican,” which appeared on Nas’ 2006 album Hip Hop Is Dead, and the second was “Success” on JAY-Z’s American Gangster album the following year. When speaking about how he put together such a legendary collaboration, Khaled shared that he couldn’t believe it himself.
“That record was me being a fan of loving Hov and Nas. It’s knowing that me, as a brother, can show the world that we’re all brothers. Those are brothers.” Khaled adds, “I know the fans — ‘cause I’m a fan, too — they’re going to love that, man, Khaled got Nas and Hov together … even though we know they’re cool. Some people might forget that they’re cool because this world has so much distortion and negativity.”
“I couldn’t believe it. Just being honest with you. When I was putting my black suit on, I was bugging out like, ‘Yo, we’re bout to really shoot this s**t.’ It was Hov and Nas and I was like, ‘Man, we’re really shooting a visual.’ It just made me say obviously, ‘Thank you God,’ but also thank you for my relationship and these kings for trusting me.”
6. On wanting to put Florida rapper Rod Wave on his album
DJ Khaled was photographed with Florida rapper Rod Wave in March, and he posted a picture on Instagram with the comment, “Swipe to witness history being made. Biggest album in works. @wethebestmusic. ALBUM MODE.” Among the other artists he worked with that month, he posted photos with Lil Durk and Gunna, implying that they will also be on the album. Despite the fact that the two are in the studio together, Khaled seems to confirm that Rod Wave will not be on his album during the interview.
“I worked with Rod Wave … I mean I didn’t get a chance to work with him, we was in the studio hanging out. I want to work with him, I want him on my album,” Khaled says. “He’s a Florida boy. Matter of fact, he got an album coming out, make sure you get that. I’m a big fan of his. I want to work with him.”
7. On receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
In April, DJ Khaled received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, and the ceremony saw several celebrities and close friends celebrating his achievements. Many of the record producer’s contemporaries and collaborators — in addition to his wife and children — gathered outside indie record shop Amoeba Music to celebrate, including JAY-Z, Diddy, Fat Joe, N.O.R.E., and Teyana Taylor. Khaled takes a brief moment to thank God and explain how it felt to be honored with a Hollywood star.
“It felt incredible because my queen was there, my kids was there. I didn’t expect to get that. It wasn’t something that I was like … For them to honor me on the music side of things was a super blessing because that’s something my kids can see every time, anytime. It’s something my fans can see,” Khaled explains.
8. On being open to rekindling with former frequent collaborator T-Pain
T-Pain and DJ Khaled worked together on a number of the latter’s commercially successful records during the 2000s. Since their 2007 collab “I’m So Hood,” the two have united on multi-platinum songs like “All I Do Is Win” as well as “Go Hard” and “Welcome To My Hood,” to name a few. Although, the pair haven’t collaborated since then, which may stem from a brief beef T-Pain had with Future in 2013, as the musician shared in his interview with “Drink Champs.”
“I’m down. I’m down to work with him. I’m definitely down to work with him again, I love T-Pain. What we made together, nobody can ever duplicate that ever in life,” he says. Khaled adds, “He’s so talented. His melody game. He’s from Florida. He’s special and what we’ve done together is unbelievable so I forever got love for T-Pain. Forever.”
9. On missing out on a Dr. Dre collaboration due to catching COVID-19
When asked whether he’d ever work with Dr. Dre, DJ Khaled tells N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN that a collab was meant to happen, but he sadly caught COVID-19. In August, Khaled shared on Instagram that he and his family caught the virus, which might indicate when the two were originally planning to collaborate. However, the producer shares that they may work together following the release of GOD DID.
“I texted him and I said, ‘Yo, Dre, is this your number?’ ‘Cause I haven’t talked to him in a long time. I don’t think he hit back until like two weeks [later] and when he hit back, I caught the COVID. I didn’t notice it for like three weeks ‘cause I was f**ked up,” Khaled shares. “I didn’t want to hit him when I had the COVID because I didn’t have the Khaled energy. If I get a chance to work with him, I gotta make sure I can FaceTime him, go to my studio, and be like, ‘Check this out.’ It’s crazy because I have something, but it might be for the next album.”