For DJ Khaled, the height of accomplishment that he’s currently living in these days is rare air to breathe. Through the canvas of Snapchat, Khaled’s painted a masterpiece detailing an addicting scene of one’s motivational trip to outright success – something no current icon of culture has managed to do yet on the social platform. Thanks to his mastery of viral, self and audience awareness, the former caricature of hip-hop has now flipped the script on everyone. What once was par for the course to laugh at DJ Khaled and his antics, is now the opposite, as we now find ourselves laughing with him, punctuating daily moments with the catchphrases of “Another one,” “Bless up,” “Lion! (pronounced in a Patois-like lah-yan!),” and “They don’t want you to …”
Though Khaled’s surge into cool guy relevancy has been unexpected and sudden, the keys to success that he regularly identifies on Snapchat can be derived from the lessons learned from his immigrant Palestinian parents, specifically how they adjusted and succeeded in America. His story that’s now easily digestible in social media form has been a tale that’s been years in the making by way of his upbringing. For minorities coming from that same immigrant background, DJ Khaled’s underdog mentality cum guide to success told ten seconds at a time is something they easily gravitate towards. Where mainstream America is naively amused by the “They don’t want you to’s …”, unaware that ‘They’ is them, others relate to it on the level of the us versus them.
Yet the point of Khaled’s transcendence is hinged on the contagiousness of the inspiration and motivation that he’s slanging, something truly unique and equally as tremendous despite some not understanding the contexts of his adages. As one who has my own immigrant tale to tell, it’s been genuinely cool to witness such a phenomenon unfold. Because if you, too, are from such a background, and you find your own success in writing an American story as unique as yours, it would come as no surprise if you wanted to share such “keys” with others in hopes of their own success. By no means is DJ Khaled re-inventing the wheel here. However, his message’s popularity owes itself to its level of relativity.
And though we may have reached peak Khaled already, and can predict the inevitable backlash every viral entity receives as a result of over-saturation, it’s refreshing once we realize that the Khaled Snapchat show is not an act at all. Instead, what we’ve been treated to so far is a glimpse into a resilience and resolve that’s quintessentially, uniquely and unequivocally immigrant. But for those not ready to let go of DJ Khaled’s relevance yet, don’t worry. When it comes to feel-good underdog success stories that can easily motivate and uplift us, we’ll definitely find “another one.”