"You think they want me to have all these plaques?" the man who is one of the generation's most idolized hip-hop moguls asks, letting his camera glide over his wall of gold and platinum albums in yet another Snapchat video. "They don't. They don't want you to win."
Every generation has their star motivational speaker, their glowing symbol of hope. Wayne Dyer, Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins all provided inspiration and determination to countless souls, and yet none have ever matched the notoriety and influence that musician DJ Khaled currently has. Encouraging and supportive, Khaled has taken social media by storm.
Khaled currently has over two million followers on social media platform Snapchat, with more on others like Twitter and Instagram. The 40 year old daily shares his personal keys to success and gives brief mini speeches that raise self-esteem and inspire anyone watching. His trademark phrases and popularity even prompted a shout out from the White House in its first ever Snapchat story that contained the caption: "The key: get some rest before the big day."
One of DJ Khaled's biggest character traits is his perpetual gratefulness for everything he has, and that translates into his Snaps. "I think 'bless up' means being blessed or being grateful for everything you get," senior Zaafira Elham said, "it's also a way to say hi."
However, that doesn't mean Khaled sits back and is content with what he's got. Much like a personal trainer (although less in shape), the rap icon is all about 'another one,' pushing yourself to the next level. "Another one means 'more'," senior Kaleab Ribbiso said. "It means never accept mediocrity. It means to exceed your expectations. Above all, it means to never give up."
Khaled also helps his fans get to the next level by putting out a continuous stream of advice, which he calls 'keys to success.' "Major key alerts are advice that DJ Khaled gives that he thinks will help people be more successful in life," Elham said. When you see these signs, usually denoted by a key emoticon, you know that you're about to receive some invaluable advice or truth.
Among the easily discernible, however, DJ Khaled also mixes in some phrases with more ambiguous meanings. For example, 'they don't want you to [insert action here]'. And this includes everything from winning to exercising: "They don't want you to win. They don't want you to have the No. 1 record in the country. They don't want you get healthy. They don't want you to exercise. And they don't want you to have that view." While this phrase in itself has piqued people's interest across the world, its meaning is somewhat vague. In an interview with Bon Appétit Magazine, Khaled's personal Chef Dee Hodges said "In my opinion, 'they' are whoever is bringing negative energy to positive vibes." Senior Jimmy McMillan agreed. "In saying that, DJ Khaled is referring to his haters and people who don't work as hard as 'you' do or should. He's trying to motivate and move people, and reminds them that success is never without consequence or sacrifice," he said.
After all the inspiration and motivation, one thing is left: promotion. Khaled peppers his phrase "we the best!" onto everything – it's the name of his merchandise website, personal record label, and second record.
No matter what Khaled's saying or doing, his Snapchats are currently watched by millions internationally. Some, like McMillan, watch for pure entertainment. "I watch for the entertainment," he said, "but it's also interesting to see the things that people with absurd amounts of money and free time do that doesn't show up in tabloids or news."
Others, like Ribbiso, watch in order to get inspired or motivated for the day. "His stories give me motivation," Ribbiso said, "whenever I'm up at 2 AM doing homework and considering if school is even necessary to be successful in life, I can just watch a few of his stories and have a renewed passion."
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