It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the influence of dancehall stretches far beyond the shores of Jamaica. From the popularity of the artists to the genre’s influence on popular music, dancehall can definitely be said to be one of the most influential genres of music in the world, something which it definitely does not get enough credit for.
Not many people show their love of dancehall in the way that DJ Khaled does, with some of the genres biggest artists amongst his close friends, dancehall has been an integral part of DJ Khaled’s career. From his early beginnings to his latest album ‘Father of Asahd’, DJ Khaled has always represented for dancehall and we are going to break down all the ways he has represented the culture and the influence this has had on his career.
DJ Khaled’s origins as a selector began in Miami, where he was a radio DJ on the pirate radio station Mix 96.1. During his time on the station he would frequently mix reggae and dancehall. Due to Miami’s proximity to Jamaica and the large number of Jamaican immigrants living in Miami, DJ Khaled started to build a following in Jamaica.
As his following grew, DJ Khaled began to form close friendships with some of reggae and dancehall’s biggest artists. His friendships with Buju Banton, Sizzla and Bounty Killer were all being formed during this time.
DJ Khaled even befriended members of the Marley Family during this time, with the family inviting Khaled to DJ at their events and welcoming him into their homes.
DJ Khaled also competed at several soundclashes throughout his early career. These soundclashes led him to record some of the most exclusive dubplates in dancehall. Something which he was very keen to show off in his 2014 interview with Boomshots.
DJ Khaled’s dubplates often recorded over hip hop beats opposed to traditional dancehall riddims often gave him a distinct edge in the many of the soundclashes he took part in.
In the early 2000s, DJ Khaled became a regular at the Fully Loaded beach party series. His biggest soundclash victory came at Fully Loaded 2000 against Wyclef Jean. With his hip hop infused dubplates and over the top personality being the talk of the show. Even Wyclef Jean’s exclusive Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson dubplates couldn’t hold back the crowd’s support for DJ Khaled. He would later reflect on this moment in an interview with VIBE magazine saying “from that moment, I was officially broken on the streets”.
As mentioned earlier, during his time in Jamaica DJ Khaled befriended the Marley family, so it was only right that when Kymani Marley began filming the 2002 classic ‘Shottas’ that DJ Khaled was called up to make a cameo in the film. DJ Khaled starred as a unnamed henchman for Richie Effs (played by Wyclef Jean). Unfortunately this was a non speaking role for DJ Khaled.
He would later go on to feature the one and only Teddy Bruckshot (Louie Rankin) in the video for ‘Nas Album Done’ from 2016’s ‘Major Key’.
In September 2011, DJ Khaled signed Mavado to a deal with ‘We The Best Music Group’. The deal was offically announced during Mavado’s appearance on the Angie Martinez show on New York’s Hot 97. Mavado quickly released three singles on the label. Including ‘Emergency’ which featured Ace Hood, ‘Soulja Girl’ and Survivor featuring Akon.
Mavado’s first apperance on a DJ Khaled albums would come in 2012 with ‘Suicidal Thoughts’ featuring on ‘Kiss The Ring’.
Mavado has gone on to feature on every DJ Khaled album since, with popular tracks ‘Weed and Hennessy’, My League’, ‘Progress’ ,’Unchanging Love’ and the huge collaboration from ‘Father Of Asahd’ ‘Holy Mountain’ which also features Buju Banton, Sizzla and 070 Shake.
DJ Khaled’s friendship with Buju Banton has spanned over two decades. With the two becoming friends during Khaled’s time as a DJ. Buju even dropped some of Khaled’s most exclusive dubplates. DJ Khaled famously performed at Buju’s last concert before he went to prison the ‘Before The Dawn’ concert in Miami in January 2011.
It wasn’t long after the release of Buju that DJ Khaled headed to Jamaica for the first time in 12 years to welcome him home. During his visit Buju and DJ Khaled were seen heading to the studio with their resulting work featuring on ‘Father Of Asashd’.
During his visit, DJ Khaled also gave us a glimpse into the closeness of the two’s relationship. Sharing an emotional story about his son Asahd’s birth, when he got on the phone to Buju and the two prayed together as Asahd was born.
It was only right that DJ Khaled came back to Jamaica to celebrate Buju’s iconic ‘Long Walk To Freedom’ concert at the National Stadium.