FYI, DJ Khaled is no longer a secret.
A year after being turned down the opportunity to be probed by veteran journalist Elliott Wilson, the We The Best bossman was finally awarded a sit-down for the CRWN interview series. In the thick of his shining moment, the Snapchat motivational speaker/hit-making producer chopped it up with Wilson about his 10-year career, the stories behind his biggest posse cuts, and the “major keys” to his success. With brand new deals with Epic Records, Apple Music and Roc Nation in tow, DJ Khaled also seized the opportunity to praise his most notable business partner: his manager, Jay Z.
“In the time of our relationship, it kept growing and growing, and it’s just a real relationship, a real friendship,” he told Wilson of his situation with Mr. Carter. “And we always knew we were gonna do something together besides making records together; we just had to find out what it was. While I was climbing the mountaintop, I felt like management was a great idea because he could be a part of everything.”
Dropping a little-known fact, Khaled shared that his partnership with Hov had been 10 years in the making. He also confirmed the rumors that a Jay Z/Future collaboration will be included on his upcoming Major Keys album. Rounding out his “cloth talk,” Khaled also discussed being added to Beyonce’s Formation tour and his plans to tear down the stage.
Peep highlights from DJ Khaled’s interview with Elliott Wilson below:
On why he chose Jay Z as his manager:
While I was climbing the mountaintop, I felt like management was a great idea because he could be a part of everything. Meaning, I respect him as a mogul, I respect his moves. That’s the don, one of the dons in the game. So I said to myself, ‘This is the perfect partnership. We can grow together, we can win together.’ And when I say Jay Z, I mean he got his hand on my shoulder, telling me, ‘Let’s win more.’ He’s my manager. Ask him, call him up.”
On Jay Z offering him a deal 10 years ago:
“Let me tell you why it’s meant to be for DJ Khaled and Jay Z to connect. [Lenny S], like 10 years ago, brought Jay Z to me, and Jay Z offered me a label deal before Roc Nation was even announced. Nobody even knew what Roc Nation was yet. So I said, ‘Jigga, of course I wanna do it, you’re Jay Z. But I’m a businessman too, so I’m like, ‘Jay Z, who’s your radio team? Who’s this and that?’ I started asking questions, and he was like, ‘I ain’t start yet. I’m about to do my thing.’ He ain’t open it yet. But at that time, I felt like I needed to go now, and that’s why I did my Def Jam deal. I wanted to do it, but he just didn’t open up shop that year yet. He was giving me the early vision. I knew it was going to be big. This is to show you man, that’s a blessing, for Jay Z 10 years ago to tell me, ‘Yo I wanna be in business with you.’”
On his Apple Music deal vs. Jay Z’s Tidal:
“Jay Z’s happy for my wins. That’s what real bosses do. Real bosses are not happy for someone not to win. Once you get around good people, you’re gonna notice that somebody’s actually happy for you. I know it’s rare.”
On how he got the opportunity to open for Beyonce:
“I have to thank God, and I have to thank Beyonce. You think I would play myself? You think I’m gonna go in there and say I wanna be on a Beyonce tour? First of all, if I see Beyonce, I say hi, look that way, and run. Jay Z’s my friend, so when she pops up, I start talking to Jay about NBA or something. It’s love. That’s a special category that them blessing just gotta come to you. You don’t go asking to be on Beyonce’s tour. You just don’t, as much you wanna be on there. When you go see Beyonce and Jay Z, you see only Beyonce and Jay Z. You barely see a special guest. Every big artist is in the crowd! I’m still pinching myself. I don’t know the full story, and I didn’t wanna ask either. But when I got the phone call, I was just very excited. My schedule’s real busy; every day I’m doing something. Safe to say, that whole month and half got canceled.”
On his plans for his set at Beyonce’s Formation tour:
“I’m coming to tear that stadium down like no other. I see the keys, and that’s all the people. I’m coming to rip that place apart. I rip stuff down. I don’t never plan my sets. I come out there and I rip it down. I play the best music in the world. I’m 100 percent hip-hop, but of course I love dancehall, so I’ll thrown dancehall in there if I have to. It’s whatever, I’m vibing with the crowd. It’s feeling, I know what they want. It’s DJ Khaled, man. It’s We The Best, man. Don’t ever play yourself.”
On his upcoming record with Jay Z and Future:
“The rumor’s true. Yes, I was in the studio with Jay Z and Future, and yes I recorded a super huge anthem. And it’s big. [...] And I wanna clarify something. Somebody said, ‘DJ Khaled got Future and a Jay Z verse.’ They lied. DJ Khaled has Future and two Jay Z verses.”
On Jay Z’s absence from the “They Don’t Love You No More” video:
“Jay Z’s timeless. He’s one of the best artists in the world, you can’t deny his greatness. That’s what’s so great about Jay Z. It’s timeless, it’s iconic. His voice is forever. And that’s what I love about Jay Z. If you don’t get his album, you don’t hear too much of him. So when you do get a feature — which is very rarely — just know it’s a blessing. Because he don’t gotta do it. But he does it for the culture, he does it for the game. And he has his own ways of doing things. The other day somebody said, ‘Khaled, you got Jay Z on ‘They Don’t Love You No More,’ and he ripped it down, but you couldn’t get him in the video.’ I said, ‘ Bro, I’m not asking that man to do the video. I’m not doing that. I’m not stressing it. He barely shoots his own video. I’m grateful for the verse. And that’s why you ain’t got one.”
On the prospect of a new Jay Z album:
“It would have to be executive produced by Jay Z, Beyonce, DJ Khaled and Lenny S.”
DJ Khaled's Major Keys album has not been given an official release date just yet. Ears to the streets.
(Photo: Noel Vasquez/GC Images)