DJ Khaled’s 2016 ascension to superstardom has been both awesome and fascinating to me. The undisputed champion of Snapchat, Dj khaled has become beloved by millions around the world, myself included. He has mastered how to be a celebrity in the social media age, truly giving us the fans an interactive and inclusive experience of all things Dj Khaled and more.
As a hip hop fan, I first got to know Dj Khaled through his affiliation with Fat Joe and the Terror Squad in the early to mid 2000s. He featured in music videos and interviews and I knew him to be a successful Miami based DJ and producer.
I was in Miami in 2008 when a friend of mine showed me a clip on Youtube of Khaled being asked to rate hip-hop albums. He had to separate classics albums from non classic albums. One of the albums he was asked to judge was the classic album Get rich or Die Trying by 50 Cent. Khaled was put in an awkward situation because of his affiliation with Fat Joe and the emerging star of the time Rick Ross. Ross and Joe were in the midst of a hip hop beef with 50 cent and the interviewer wanted to play off this issue. The presenter tried to pin down Khaled to admit that 50’s Get Rich or Die trying album was a true classic. Khaled was clearly uncomfortable and was trying to diplomatically evade. After one or two evasive comments, Khaled took off his sunglasses, looks at the camera and proclaimed with confidence “THESE ARE GUCCI!” He put the shades back on and the pressure from the presenter was ended. It was his way of telling the presenter to shut up and it worked. My friends and I rewound the clip over and over again because to us it was hilarious. But if I am honest, at the time we were laughing at Khaled more that with Khaled.
As Khaled became more successful and popular I became a fan of this music. But I still regarded him as a bit of a joke in terms of his celebrity persona. He would say his catchphrase “We The Best” and he always seem to be saying some semi DJ hype speak, semi promotional and or uplifting speech. Invariably it would be delivered in the same confident way he delivered that “These Are Gucci” line and therefore I would look at him as somewhat of a joker. Little did I know that he would refine this behaviour that I regarded as buffoonery and make it into some of the most popular social media gold we have seen from anyone on the planet.
Sometime between 2015 and 2016 DJ Khaled’s snapchat exploded. His posts were all over the internet and although some found him ridiculous, his following continued to soar. His posts still have a slight air of buffoonery but he has become completely endearing. He won me over with his uplifting and motivational talk. I started to see his journey from nothing to something and realised what he was doing was genius. His work ethic and professionalism is the true driving force behind his comic persona and I went from laughing at him to highly respecting him as a modern day success story.
Social media has become a supreme marketing tool for Khaled to stay relevant, promote his music and get incredible endorsement deals. He is the shining example of how social media can be an awesome tool for your business, brand and public persona. He has shown us some great social media keys to success in that his content does not come across as advertising. He just shares natural and authentic (or at least what comes across as natural and authentic) content that is entertaining.
Before the internet and social media age, we had such limited accesses to stars. In its day, this built up a mystique and formed a separation between the fan and star elevating them to a god like status. I think of the way Michael Jackson had men women and children weeping at his concerts. Huge crowds all over the world congregate just get a glimpse of the king of pop. I am not so sure that way works in this day and age the way it did back then because we consume content in a direct, instant and much more efficient fashion. Rather than build up a secretive mystique, Khaled has let us into his life through the portal of social media and made us realise that he is just like us. He makes us believe that we too can be great, we too can master our craft, spread positivity and become the best version of ourselves.
His new album Major Keys just came out and I saw him on Jimmy Kimmel showing off the cover. Notice the key emoji used instead of the actual word key. As someone who has a business that helps people get the most out of social media I like to take that as a subliminal message. The emoji key is telling us that social media is one of the most important areas you need to utilise to take your business to the next level. It is evolving, improving and growing. As we see the decline of traditional TV programming, advertising and board meeting approved content, the time is now to get on board and make the most of Social Media. #MajorKeyAlert