If I told you that the hottest person on social media right now is a rap producer telling fans that eating egg whites and drinking a gallon of water a day is the key to success, would you believe me?
What if I told you that the same person regularly has over 2 million people view each of his snapchats, with the first 500,000 people watching it within 5 minutes of him posting?
I recently sat down with DJ Khaled to hear about how he has become the first true Snapchat celebrity.
The King Of Snapchat
Originally from New Orleans, DJ Khaled has been in the Miami rap scene for over a decade, often collaborating with other popular artists like Meek Mill, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross. If you ask any Hip Hop or Rap fan about the music mogul, they’ll probably tell you he’s a legend in the industry and is behind some of their favorite anthems.
He’s the hottest thing on social media right now, yet has been a bonafide music celebrity since before anyone even knew what a Kardashian was.
But, if you ask most social media-crazed teenagers in America, DJ Khaled is just that famous guy on Snapchat who spends his days motivating fans and giving them the “keys to more success”. Most are too young to listen to his music, and would probably rather watch his Snapchats than catch up on his discography.
This is what makes DJ Khaled’s rise to Snapchat fame so interesting. He’s the hottest thing on social media right now, yet has been a bonafide music celebrity since before anyone even knew what a Kardashian was.
An Icon 25 Years In the Making
If you ask DJ Khaled about his newfound social media fame, he’ll tell you it’s the result of 25 years of hard work and hustle. And while he knows that many of his Snapchat followers are new fans, he doesn’t mind.
If you read a transcript of DJ Khaled’s Snapchats, you would swear you were getting advice from your doctor or father, not a famous hip hop mogul.
As DJ Khaled explained, “I’m definitely gaining new fans, and that’s the key of any success…gain more love. If they have never heard your music, they will now.”
But why does the music mogul’s Snapchat get more attention than that of celebrities like Justin Bieber or Kim Kardashian, both of which are undoubtedly more well known?
DJ Khaled’s Snapchat Sermons
As DJ Khaled told me, it’s because he gives his Snapchat viewers a chance to “get to know him more and connect with him on a more personal level”. In his words, Snapchat “was made for me to talk to the whole world at one time”.
In practice, it boils down to how DJ Khaled has chosen to use Snapchat.
While most celebrities use the platform to give fans a 10 second glimpse of their famous (and usually unobtainable) lifestyle, DJ Khaled instead uses the tool to dish out advice and proverbs, or as he calls it, the “keys to success”:
“No one ever told me I should eat egg whites or drink a gallon of water each day. I’m letting them know to be healthy – I feel good. Basically, when I was younger no one told me they don’t want you to win, and I want to tell other people that.
When I tell you that, take it seriously, because it’s the truth. You need to know that these people actually don’t want you to progress or prosper. Whether you want to be a doctor, the president, or musician, you need to know this.”
Essentially, the rap producer dishes out life lessons, and the fans listen. And the advice is actually pretty good. In fact, if you read a transcript of DJ Khaled’s Snapchats, you would swear you were getting advice from your doctor or father, not a famous hip hop mogul.
In a world where kids are now growing up listening to their favorite artists rap about less than kosher subjects like gangs and drugs, it’s refreshing to see someone telling his younger fans how to believe in yourself and take care of your body.
DJ Khaled On Technology
As someone that has always relied on technology to make his music, DJ Khaled is very aware of the power of technology.
“Look at what [Steve Jobs] made. The whole world is controlled by this thing,” the music producer tells me, as he holds up his iPhone 6s Plus. Like most of us, he lives on his iPhone, and even has started holding business meetings via FaceTime.
When asked about Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, DJ Khaled was quick to note that he is also someone he looks up to in the tech world. “I’m excited to see that [Spiegel] refused three billion dollars. You have to respect him…that’s forever money. He must know something we don’t know, and I respect him for that.”
The music mogul is also very aware that many in his industry are quickly embracing the tech industry, like Troy Carter. “It’s amazing because Troy Carter comes from music,” the DJ explains. “Everyone I look up to is bringing me into the tech world. You’d be surprised by all the music people in it, invested in it. I got the headphones, and am getting heavy into tech.”
DJ Khaled is also excited about where technology will be in 10 years. He noted that he is already blown away by Live Photos and Touch ID on his iPhone. “It’s getting super serious. In a minute, [your computer] may be built into here (taps his head).” [Apple] is feeding us more every year…just look at the last decade and see how tech has taken over.”
DJ Khaled is probably right. And, while 10 years ago we may have been wary of cross pollination between the entertainment and technology industry, it’s refreshing to see a hip hop star taking time out of his day to talk about the future of Apple or Snapchat.
Even today, any successful entrepreneur already has to be intimately familiar with technology, regardless of the industry they are working in. So while DJ Khaled has been an entrepreneur for years with successful restaurant and clothing ventures, he knows that to sustain his success, he needs to step into the technology world.
And, being the hottest celebrity on the hottest social media platform is a pretty good start.