Khaled was born on November 26, 1975 in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Palestinian parents who had immigrated to the United States. He has described himself as a devout Muslim. His parents were musicians and played Arabic music. Khaled started developing an interest in rap and soul music at a young age and his parents supported his interest. He took up work in a local recording store which helped to lay foundations for his music career.
During his early career, Khaled built alliances with many young artists and helped champion them before they were major stars including Birdman, Lil Wayne, and Mavado. One of his first jobs was at the New Orleans record store Odyssey where he met both Birdman and Lil Wayne in 1993. After leaving Odyssey, he began DJing in reggae soundclashes, mixing dancehall and hip-hop. His first radio gig was on a pirate station. Soon after that, he started co-hosting with 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell on Campbell’s WEDR radio show The Luke Show in 1998. In 2003, he started hosting a weeknight radio show on WEDR. During his career, Khaled has used many monikers including Arab Attack (discontinued soon after September 11 attacks), Big Dog Pitbull, Terror Squadian (used during his time with the hip-hop group Terror Squad), Beat Novacane (a moniker under which he produces beats), The Don Dada, Mr. Miami etc. Khaled has stated that he used the moniker Arab Attack for music as in saying “attack with music”, but it was soon discontinued by him after September 11 attacks since he felt that using it would seem disrespectful and offending towards those who suffered due to the attacks.
On June 6, 2006, his debut album Listennn… the Album was released by Koch Records; it premiered on the US Billboard 200 chart at number 12. We the Best (2007) is his second album with singles “I’m So Hood” with T-Pain, Trick Daddy, Plies, and Rick Ross and “We Takin’ Over” with Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Birdman, and Lil Wayne. “We Takin’ Over” peaked at number 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 11 on the US Hot Rap Tracks chart and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America on November 20, 2007. Khaled made a guest appearance on Birdman’s 2007 album 5 * Stunna on the single “100 Million”; which also features Rick Ross, Dre, Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne. That year, Khaled won two Ozone Awards: one for Best Video (“We Takin’ Over”) and another for Best Radio DJ.
In 2008, Khaled’s third album We Global came out with singles “Out Here Grindin” with Akon, Rick Ross, Lil’ Boosie, Trick Daddy, Ace Hood, and Plies, followed by “Go Hard” featuring Kanye West and T-Pain. RIAA certified the single “I’m So Hood” Platinum on June 4, 2008. That year, Khaled won DJ of the Year awards from the BET Hip Hop Awards and Ozone Awards. He was appointed the president of Def Jam South in 2009.
His fourth studio album Victory was released on March 2, 2010. The album featured guest appearances from Drake, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Nelly, and more. The single “All I Do Is Win” featuring Ludacris, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg, and T-Pain was certified as a double-platinum single. Other singles include: “Put Your Hands Up” featuring Ross, Young Jeezy, Plies, and Schife, and “Fed Up” featuring Usher, Drake, Ross, and Jeezy. The album had low sales and debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200.
DJ Khaled announced the title of the album, We the Best Forever, on Twitter. On August 19, Khaled signed to Cash Money Records along to Universal Motown, the album will be released under the label, also under E1 Entertainment, Terror Squad, Def Jam South, and Khaled’s own label We the Best Music Group, with confirmed guests as Fat Joe, Chris Brown, Keyshia Cole, Cee Lo Green, Cool & Dre, Rick Ross, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Nas, Birdman, Lil Wayne, T.I., Akon, Drake, and Nicki Minaj. The first single titled “Welcome to My Hood”, featuring Rick Ross, Plies, Lil Wayne and T-Pain was released in January 13 of 2011, which was produced by The Renegades, and co-produced by DJ Khaled himself and The Nasty Beatmakers. The song is the first released under Cash Money Records and Universal Motown, a music video was filmed in Miami, Florida and directed by Gil Green, featuring cameos by Flo Rida, Bow Wow, Busta Rhymes, and other artists. The next single, “I’m On One”, featuring Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne, was released on May 20, 2011. DJ Khaled performed the song at BET Awards 2011 which aired on June 26, 2011.
On December 10, 2011, DJ Khaled announced the title of his next album, Kiss the Ring, via a video, with the release date as “coming soon”, presumed 2012. Guests on the album are T-Pain, French Montana, Future, Wiz Khalifa, Nas, Plies, Ace Hood, Kanye West, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Jadakiss, Kirko Bangz, Mack Maine, Tyga, T.I., J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., Mavado, Wale and many more. Khaled mentioned that he had a verse from someone very special which was later revealed as Scarface. The first single released was “Take It to the Head” featuring Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. The second single released was “I Wish You Would” featuring Kanye West & Rick Ross. Kiss the Ring was released on August 21, 2012. The third official single was “Bitches and Bottles” featuring T.I, Lil Wayne, and Future.
In January 2013, DJ Khaled announced that he had already started working on his seventh album and that it was titled Suffering from Success. After going to a doctor due to a bald spot on his beard the doctor told him he was “suffering from success” which inspired the album title.
The first single from the album is titled “No New Friends” and features Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross, along with production coming from Boi-1da and Noah “40” Shebib. On April 14, 2013 DJ Khaled released a promotional video for Suffering for Success and the first single “No New Friends”. The single was then premiered the following day and released to iTunes of April 19, 2013. “No New Friends” has since debuted at #55 on the Billboard Hot 100. On June 10, 2013, it was announced that Suffering from Success would be released on September 24, 2013. On July 25, 2013, Khaled publicly “proposed” to fellow Cash Money artist Nicki Minaj via MTV. He supported his offer with a 10-karat diamond ring from Rafaello & Co., valued at about $500,000. On July 29, 2013, in an interview with Funk Flex, Minaj denied Khaled’s proposal, saying: “Khaled is my brother and Khaled was not serious with that damn proposal, ya’ll. Please let it go. He was kidding.” The same day, Flex premiered Khaled’s new single, titled “I Wanna Be with You” which featured Minaj, as well as frequent collaborators Future and Rick Ross. This lead some to believe that his proposal was a “publicity stunt” to promote his new single.
On April 28, 2014, DJ Khaled announced in an interview with MTV that Jay Z will be featured on his new single. The interview was noted due to Khaled “cursing, gesturing, and tossing the microphone to the floor in an effort to convey the importance and impact of the music he has coming this summer.” A few hours after that, he released the single called “They Don’t Love You No More”, also featuring frequent collaborators Rick Ross, Meek Mill and French Montana. The song will be on his eight studio album titled I Changed A Lot, which is set for a 2015 release. Then the following day, “They Don’t Love You No More” was serviced to mainstream urban radio in the United States. On July 1, 2014, Khaled announced that he has partnered with Danish audio company Bang & Olufsen to launch his own brand of headphones, titled “We the Best Sound”. The brand is advertised in the video “They Don’t Love You No More.” On August 8, 2014, Khaled released the official artwork for the second single from I Changed A Lot entitled “Hold You Down” which features Chris Brown, August Alsina, Future and Jeremih, and is produced by Bkorn, Lee On the Beats and LDB. The single was released on August 11, 2014, along with a music video, directed by Gil Green. On November 3, 2014, Khaled released the remix to “Hold You Down” featuring Usher, Rick Ross, Fabolous, and Ace Hood.
On May 11, 2015, DJ Khaled revealed that he had parted ways with Cash Money Records, amicably. “I’m not signed to Cash Money at all. I’ve been off for a minute,” Khaled revealed. “It’s not that I’m here to promote that I’ve been off. That’s family. But, nah, it’s just We The Best. Nothing negative, everything’s beautiful.” On the same day, DJ Khaled released the third single off the upcoming album I Changed a Lot titled “How Many Times”, featuring Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Big Sean produced Bkorn, Lee on the Beats and OZ. DJ Khaled revealed that his long delayed album, I Changed A Lot, released on October 23, 2015 and also revealed the album’s artwork.
On February 5, 2016, DJ Khaled premiered the debut his new We The Best Radio show on Beats 1 with the premiere of Future’s fourth studio album EVOL. On February 14, 2016, DJ Khaled announced that he would debut French Montana’s new mixtape on We The Best Radio. The Wave Gods titled mixtape premiered on February 19, 2016. On February 29, 2016, Khaled signed a management-only deal with Jay Z’s company, Roc Nation and announced his ninth studio album, Major Key, was going to be released in 2016, specifically on July 29, and has a lion on the cover. On June 3, 2016, Khaled released the first single off Major Key, “For Free” which is produced by the OVO team of Nineteen85 and Jordan Ullman. He also announced his album will feature Jay Z, Future, Kanye West, Big Sean, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross. He later released a track called “I Got the Keys” with Jay Z and Future, that premiered after the 2016 BET Awards.
On December 24, 2016, Khaled announced on Twitter that he’s working on his tenth studio album. In January 2017, he was seen in the studio on his Snapchat with potential collaborators, such as Chance the Rapper, Justin Bieber, Migos and Mariah Carey.
On February 9, 2017, DJ Khaled announced his tenth studio album titled Grateful and said that it was going to be released in 2017. On February 12, 2017, DJ Khaled released the lead single to Grateful titled “Shining” featuring Beyoncé and Jay Z on TIDAL and iTunes.