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Noisey

A Close Reading of DJ Khaled's Short Film 'No New Friends'

DJ Khaled has finally broken into the world of film, and it's nothing if not crazy and delusional.

by Dan Buyanovsky
Apr 16 2013, 6:35pm

A few weeks ago, Drake released "Started from the Bottom," a fire-starting and Internet-shattering single that featured the cold-hearted refrain, "No new niggas, nigga, we don't feel that/Fuck a fake friend, where your real friends at?" The song was a monstrous hit simply because the world missed Drizzy so damn much, but then Aubrey fucked around and wore a custom "No New Friends" t-shirt at a club, and suddenly his agoraphobic lyric became the new YOLO for the deluded weirdos of the world who were convinced that someone (or everyone) was out to get them. Count among these antisocial psychotics DJ Khaled, the hilariously over-the-top radio DJ/producer/personality/curator of Bestness, who recently unveiled the title of his seventh album, Suffering from Success. The album name was apparently inspired by an emotional visit to the doctor's office, during which Khaled's sympathetic female dermatologist told him, "Son, you're suffering from success." Deep.

Ever the opportunist, DJ Khaled fed off the popularity of the "No New Friends" movement to announce that his album's upcoming single was the kinda-sorta "Started from the Bottom" remix "No New Friends," featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Future, and Young Jimmy Brooks himself. He followed up the announcement with a video, or a "movie," as he calls it, which he released on Sunday as a teaser for the single and the album. After watching the video/"movie" for "No New Friends," I came up with a fantasy (which I'm convinced is really close to the truth) of how this masterwork came about…

On an otherwise nondescript overcast day in Miami, DJ Khaled is standing on his balcony and drinking a watermelon-flavored Four Loko, like he did in the video for his megahit "I'm On One"—since that moment was just dropped into the video so casually, I like to think this is something Khaled does pretty regularly. Suddenly, one of Khaled's live-in girlfriend/chefs walks out onto the balcony and silently passes him an MP3 player and puts headphones over his ears, and presses play on Drake's new single. By the time the sound of the "Zombie on the track!" tag enters his sensory system, Khaled's eyes are closed and his fists are clenched. Then he hears it, the line that sums up his experience as a whatever-he-is in this shady, shady music industry. The line that makes it all make sense—"Fuck a fake friend, where your real friends at?" Suddenly, he calls his closest friends—who also happen to be signed to his We The Best Music Group—Ace Hood and Mavado, and tells them how much he loves them and appreciates them, and explains that they've got something very important to do.

The following day Khaled meets up with renowned film auteur Dazed One Films, and tells him he's got an idea for a movie. Now, even though Khaled announces every new song/project/nightclub appearance he's a part of with the infamous "IT'S GONNA BE A MOVIEEE" tagline, he hasn't actually dabbled in the film industry. This is a big risk for Khaled, but lord knows he's nothing if not a risk-taker. So, after Khaled and Dazed One pore over a few (perhaps even several) ideas for a "movie," they decide on an autobiographical one, one that will justify Khaled's crippling paranoia and fear of new friends and give him the artistic freedom to make real choices and showcase his range as an actor. So, Khaled invites over the previously mentioned homies as well as Vado and photographer Johnny Nunez, and sets out to make the MOVIEEE, and to no one's surprise, they're done shooting before midnight, because Dazed One is not only a filmmaking visionary, he's also probably a high-schooler with a 7D, a handheld LED light, and a curfew. After a couple (perhaps several) hours of editing, the MOVIEE is ready to be seen by the world, but not before Khaled throws in the pièce de résistance: opening titles that ominously read…

"You Can't Trust Nobody,
Keep Your Circle Tight.
Remember, No New Friends.
They Gon Know,
Just Know"


With this, No New Friends (The Movie) kicks off.

SPOILER ALERT: Without giving too much away, the basic plot points of the tumultuous short are: Khaled has a conversation with IRL friend Ace Hood; has another similarly-themed conversation with his other IRL friend Mavado, during which he forcibly and awkwardly speaks in Jamaican patois; has two more identical conversations with less-important characters; then, finally, has a subtitled conversation with a sweaty Drake in a club.

Now to be clear, this isn't a "short film," let alone a "MOVIEEEE"—this is actually just video-recorded proof that DJ Khaled is a fucking crazy person whose unbelievable level of success makes less and less sense very time you see him do anything, especially something like this, which does literally nothing but showcase his fantastical delusions of self-importance. What actually is impressive about this video, though, is Khaled's self-assuredness, and the fact that neither Ace Hood nor Mavado, Regular Vado, or any other one of Khaled's ridiculous goons ever turn to him and politely whisper, "DJ Khaled, you're a fucking crazy person. What you're doing here, is crazy. Why you're doing it, is crazy. And the fact that you think anyone actually cares what your next single will be becuase of your presence on it, is beyond bat-shit crazy." Instead, everyone just go along with Khaled on his crazy person ride, not even realizing that they're just pawns in a crazy person's game.

Still, I watched this "movie," and you should too. It'll be nine and a half of the most mediocrely-spent/anxiety-inducing minutes of your day. So press that play button, and continue reading below for a breakdown of the "movie" and its most important subplots and themes, which might make it a bit easier to digest. It really is emotional stuff.

What the streets want to know, according to Ace Hood:
—What the first single off Khaled's new album will be
—What the second single off Khaled's new album will be

Things Ace Hood cannot take:
—Questions
—People following him

People DJ Khaled can trust:
—Nobody
—No one

Inanimate objects DJ Khaled cannot trust:
—The car
—Social media
—Networks
—Twitter
—All that shit

How long Ace Hood and DJ Khaled will be The Best:
—For life

Times DJ Khaled awkwardly says "bwoi," "bomboclat," "blood clot," and "wag wan" in a conversation with Mavado:
—One, each

Number of times DJ Khaled says "No New Friends":
—Ten, including one time in un-synced subtitles

Dan Buyanovsky is a noted DJ Khaled historian. He hates all forms of social networking.