DJ Khaled puts his success in the music industry down to skills he learned working in radio.
The record producer and DJ has assisted in the production of numerous hip-hop albums, and has also worked with the likes of Akon, Fat Joe, Birdman, JAY-Z, and Chris Brown, among others.
Khaled recently came in at ninth place on Forbes' list of the World's Highest-Paid Hip-Hop Artists, and he has now credited his success with his decision to put in the hard yards hosting gigs and working at radio stations when he was younger.
“DJing at parties, I knew I had to keep the crowd moving and control the mood – some parties I’d make it feel like New Year’s Eve, others I’d make people wanna have an ice grill," he told Variety. "And being a DJ on the radio, everyone would request the hits so I’d (analyse) why people loved those songs. I learned where to put certain breaks and build-ups to build emotions, how big the chorus and the hooks need to be."
From his time in radio back in the '90s, Khaled tapped into how listeners connected with certain songs and lyrics. And even now he takes a hands-on approach to his tunes, choosing to clear samples of other artists' music himself.
“Usually you have people at the labels who get paid a lot of money to do that, but I think it makes me appreciate it – like, ‘Yo, if I’m gonna do all this s**t, I’d better make sure this record is a hit!’” the 41-year-old shared. Over the years, Khaled has worked with some of the biggest and brightest names in the music business, with his tenth studio album Grateful featuring performers such as Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys, Justin Bieber, Calvin Harris and Travis Scott. Though he may have some famous friends, the music admits that he still gets nervous in front of two people in particular.
“There’s only two artists I get starstruck from, and that’s Rihanna and Beyonce,” he shared.