DJ Khaled’s Snapchat account has become my obsession; a scratch to be itched, a dragon to be chased. It is a drug in every sense of the word, mind-numbing, world-glazing, and, every so often, revelatory. Oh, and addictive. It’s gotten to the point where—over the past few weeks—I feel like I’ve lived his life more than mine, sharing his keys to success with others like I’m Oprah and his words a Bible. It’s a window into a mirror. We are all DJ Khaled; DJ Khaled is within us all.
People know DJ Khaled for being a music producer, though not in the classic sense of the word. He brings people together, taking on a job no one wants and absolutely crushing it. That’s how songs like “Hold U Down” happen: Khaled shows up at different artists houses in the hopes of them contributing their voices and eventually—like Ursula of the deep sea—he gets it. But if you’re looking for anything resembling music production, it’s not here. In five weeks, there have been maybe two or three moments spent in the studio, less than 30 seconds, total.
Ninety-percent of DJ Khaled’s days are the same; just like his catchphrases, days must be repeated over and over until you get the point. So, every morning he pads down the hallway, camera pointed at his original Another Ones on his feet. “Good morning,” he says, “Bless up. Let’s see what we got for breakfast” as if it’s not always the same menu: egg whites, wheat toast, turkey sausage and water. (Sometimes it’s turkey bacon, instead.) He blesses his breakfast, then gets up to walk the stone path around his house, spraying the hose at his plants and screaming “LI-YON!!!” at the lion statue in his garden. He rubs Dove body products into his skin like he’s trying to get the skin off. Dry skin is just a road block on the path to success. They don’t want you to be smooth.
But then there are days like yesterday, where life goes so off-book it ends up in a different book completely. First, his private cook, Chef Dee, cooked up four different dishes for lunch: baked catfish, Italian sausage and peppers, fajitas, chicken francaise, and British eggplant. This was followed by Khaled Jet-Skiing over to Rick Ross’s house and having a four-dish lunch over there. (If you follow Ross on Snapchat, you can see that his guests were uninvited.) On the way home, Khaled got very lost and Snapchatted his way through the pitch black, a faint light floating on the dark seas. He never lost hope throughout the ordeal. Just another life lesson.
But today, everything is back to normal; he lives by sitcom rules. Another day, another plate of egg whites, turkey sausage, and water. There are no lessons to learn except those that are in front of him; he is a goldfish. By the morning, they are gone. Life only moves forward; major key.
As Khaled’s Snapchat has gotten more popular, becoming a cutesy thing to misunderstand-GIF by Buzzfeed writers, he’s gotten more literal, giving the people what they want: When he uses his in-house elevator, he notes that you want to move up in life. Like an elevator. But sometimes there are downs, you know? (Elevators contain multitudes.) When he takes out the trash, he says, “Sometimes you have to take out the trash. Major key.” It's a bit Keyser Soze-ish, the way he takes in his surroundings. He sees a waterfall and compares it to life. Is it profound, or just found art? What is this? Who are we?
He has—I mean, we have—also adopted this victim complex, nothing that “they” don’t want us to enjoy life, however mundane life may be. The police pulling him/us over for Jet-Skiing too close to dolphins or cruise liners? Road blocks; they don’t understand. They don’t want him/us to have lunch. They don’t want him/us to have lunch twice, or even breakfast. They don’t want him/us to have plants to water or elevators to ride. They don’t want him/us to open doors. They don’t want him/us to win.
It’s a comment on race and America, but it’s also about Khaled himself. He wants to win. That’s what life is about: winning. His wife doesn’t want him to be on Snapchat all the time; she’s an unwilling participant in this Truman Show and has made that well-known, pushing his phone away from her face. But then he brings her to his hot tub and cradles her, giving her even more keys to success as she lays on his shoulder in silence. On November 28, he said, “When the ladies look in my eyes, they fall in love.” Two weeks later, he told her, “The ladies calm down when they look in my eyes.” Soon he’ll wear her down and she’ll join his side against the proverbial “them,” and that’s when they can win together.
Right now, though, he’s the only one with the keys. I mean, we all are. Everyone but them.
Five keys to understanding DJ Khaled's Snapchat:
DJ Khaled's plants: He waters them…a lot. Honestly, he might be over-watering them; I don't know anything about horticulture, but it's even on days where it rains. He also names them. One is named Shirley; another is Jah Rastafari.
Lion: a stone lion statue that resides in his garden. Khaled screams "Lion!" every time he passes it—morning, afternoon or night.
Chef Dee: Khaled's private chef who makes the same things every morning, but switches it up for lunch.
DJ Khaled's Jet-Ski: Transportation for adventure on the high seas. He's run out of gas, been pulled over numerous times and gotten lost in the open waters, all because of that damned Jet-Ski.
Emoji: [key] is shorthand for a life lesson; [prayer hands] means "bless up." All of these can be used for anything he says.
Jeff Rosenthal will continue to succeed, even though they don't want him to succeed. Follow him on Twitter.