DJ Khaled is driving a golf cart down the double yellow line of a road in Beverly Hills, because traffic is snarled and he just wants to get back home to work on his album. People in luxury cars stare as we pass them -- though we’re traveling no more than 20 miles per hour, we must seem to be whizzing by. The unseasonably cool May air whips through Khaled’s beard as he coughs and grumbles about the chill. “How often do you fire this puppy up?” I yell. “Every day,” he replies. “Go to Starbucks, get me a pumpkin bread. It’s off the chain.” I glance at the brown paper sack in my lap, the pastry warming my knees through my jeans. The bag is secure. Whew.
Khaled Mohamed Khaled, 41, is a man who appreciates the small things. And -- as we return to his recently acquired $10 million mansion in a gated 90210 community -- I’m reminded that Khaled also appreciates the big things. The driveway is crowded with Rolls-Royce Wraiths, one black and one Arabian blue, plus the Escalade he signed for earlier that day (more on that later). There’s nothing middling about the producer’s life or career, the line between which he has been gleefully blurring since he became a Snapchat celebrity/sentient meme in late 2015.
“That’s me being myself,” says Khaled, referring to his outsize online persona. “These artists work with me because I make good music, but also because I have good energy, a good heart and I’m grateful -- the special things that God is blessing me with, now the world can see them.”