DJ Khaled has become one of the most respected and compellingly engaging rap stars in the world. His positive aura and music production prowess inspires other Hip-Hop stars and continually brings a more respectful name to the industry.
While some argue he’s mostly just a skilled social media influencer, it’s clear he’s had real talent all along. As with most rappers, though, he’s cloaked his identity under a made up DJ name.
Have you ever wondered what Khaled’s real name is? You’ll be surprised how he still honors his real birth surname, originally used twice.
One of the rare American rappers coming from Muslim heritage
Khaled was born in America, in the hub where true American music was born: New Orleans. His parents were Palestinian, and they immigrated to the U.S. before Khaled was born in 1975.
He once said in a Larry King interview that he’s still a devout Muslim. It’s made him one of the few Muslim rappers to find success in the mainstream music industry. There really isn’t any other, even if rap has certainly permeated in the Middle East as well as many other nations.
Of course, Khaled had the problem of keeping his family’s Muslim identity while keeping another foot in the world of creating an Americanized DJ name.
As he grew up in New Orleans and befriended future rap stars, he kept his birth name until experimenting with DJ pseudonyms.
The controversy over one DJ name
One thing for sure is Khaled has never been afraid to promote his Muslim heritage, including shouting out to his parents on his Twitter account. His original birth name was Khaled Mohamed Khaled, proving he never wanted to waver completely from what was on his birth certificate.
Did you know he also used a number of DJ names before officially becoming DJ Khaled?
There was one particular name he chose that brought controversy. Personal cognizance of this name caused Khaled to make a change. This was when he was known as DJ Attack, which he thought became too insensitive after the 9/11 attacks. Khaled no longer used it after 2001.
Not until 2006 did we see him use the name he’s known for now.
Fame in the rap community
You can argue the name DJ Khaled wasn’t known in every household until just the last few years. Despite this, he’s been very well-known in the rap community for 13 years.
Long before Khaled became known for becoming a little annoying on social media and an overly exuberant digital influencer, he was selling literal rap albums.
He hit the music charts running with his Listennn…the Album in 2006. His follow-up, We the Best, a year later was just as successful. Amid all this, social media was just in its infancy.
Khaled spreading his wings in social circles wouldn’t take flight until the mid 2010s, surprisingly.
Khaled’s ‘Keys to Success’ truly makes his name
Some people might look at DJ Khaled as a motivational speaker rather than a rap star. These people are the ones who probably hadn’t heard of Khaled until his famous Keys to Success video suddenly exploded in popularity back in 2015.
These “keys” were his impressions of how you can become successful in anything. Suddenly, he was like Tony Robbins and becoming more of a social media influencer star than a real music titan.
All of this overlooked his innovative contributions to rap as a performer and producer, including creating numerous high-profile Hip-Hop collaborations. Still, it hasn’t stopped many from considering him the ultimate philosopher on how to make money. He does this by helping people defeat any competitors or roadblocks to success.
In time, DJ Khaled may be better known for this, unless being a social media influencer becomes too much of an annoyance for the masses to take seriously.