2016 No. 1s: DJ Khaled and L.A. Reid Look Back on His Milestone Year

Antonio “L.A.” Reid & DJ Khaled
Joe Pugliese

Antonio “L.A.” Reid [chairman/CEO, Epic Records] and DJ Khaled photographed on Nov. 18  at The Spare Room in Los Angeles.

Major Key -- The Billboard 200 (1 week)

“This No. 1 feeling is great,” says DJ Khaled of his first chart-topping album, Major Key, whose superstar slate boasts Jay Z, Drake, Future and Nicki Minaj, among others. The Snapchat savant also checked off other milestones in 2016: a Grammy nomination, signing a new deal for his We the Best Music imprint with his former Def Jam boss and current Epic chairman/CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid (“I came back home,” says Khaled), breaking new artist Kent Jones (“Don’t Mind”), opening for Beyoncé on her Formation World Tour and publishing the motivational tome The Keys. The biggest thrill, though? Welcoming his first child, a boy, Asahd Tuck -- which he documented on Snapchat, natch.

Team work makes a dream work. And Major Key is about team work. I can be the orchestrator, the coach, the producer. But I can’t do it without the team. The artists, my We the Best family, L.A. and the Epic team, the fans: All the keys were connecting. It was a flawless rollout, but everything was organic.

REID (chairman/CEO, Epic Records?): 
No one is more in touch with youth culture right now. Khaled’s cult of personality and positivity hit the mainstream in a very big way this year. Music, social media, books, commercials, endorsements, TV, movies ... everyone wants to be in business with Khaled.

Knowing the whole time that I had a son coming was a major inspiration this year. He brought me all these blessings. And creatively, I’m just in a different place right now. It’s a special glow.

I feel the same way about him today as I did when we first met many years ago. You always know when you’re in the room with one of the greats, and Khaled is that guy. Yes, he’s a brilliant producer and artist, but for all his success, he’s still humble and grateful and treats everyone with respect. But make no mistake, he’s a fierce competitor and only wants to win. I truly believe his best is yet to come.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 17 issue of Billboard.

Billboard Year in Music 2016


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