meta-scriptBehind The Board: DJ Khaled Reflects On His Early Days, Working With Music's Biggest Artists & More |
Behind The Board: DJ Khaled Reflects On His Early Days, Working With Music's Biggest Artists & More

DJ Khaled


Behind The Board: DJ Khaled Reflects On His Early Days, Working With Music's Biggest Artists & More

The GRAMMY-nominated multi-threat DJ/producer/artist recalls spinning vinyl and making beats in his garage, the best advice he’s ever received, working with so many of music’s biggest names and more...

GRAMMYs/Jan 21, 2020 - 01:46 am

Perennial hit-maker DJ Khaled does it all, and he does it well. From his early days DJ'ing in the garage on vinyl and making beats on his first MPC to an influential A&R, music executive, producer, DJ, and artist (with an impressive 11 albums to his name), the music that has been in him from the very beginning has reached more ears worldwide than you could count. 

But it all started for Khaled from a passion for music, one he recalled fondly. "Just being in that garage with my turntables, my reconds, my beat machine and posters all around of my favorite artists for inspiration," he said. "I remember those days, and those days took me to inside the studio. Now I work with all the biggest artists."

DJ Khaled also shared the best advice he's ever received. "God is great. That's the key," he said. "That's the biggest advice I've gotten, and it's real. It keeps me grounded, focused and also... give thanks and have gratitude and love."

The GRAMMY-nominated mult-threat also talks about his artistic vision and how he treats every song as "the one," expecially on his latest album, Father of Asahd, an experience he calls "special" and an album he said he's "very, very proud of."

Watch the latest installment of Behind The Board above to learn more about DJ Khaled's journey to prolific hit-maker, and stay tuned for more episodes coming soon... 

Behind The Board: Shani Gandhi On Moving To Nashville, Sarah Jarosz & Studio Collaboration


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? The 2024 GRAMMY nominations are here!

He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

10 Essential Facts To Know About GRAMMY-Winning Rapper J. Cole

DJ Khaled Shares His Keys To Success With Young Professionals
DJ Khaled

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for We The Best Foundation


DJ Khaled Shares His Keys To Success With Young Professionals

Ahead of his next album, 'Til Next Time,' GRAMMY U caught up with DJ Khaled to talk about hip-hop’s 50th anniversary and how young music-makers can follow in his footsteps.

GRAMMYs/Aug 30, 2023 - 07:39 pm

Hip-hop hit-maker DJ Khaled is doing what he does best: making music and inspiring others. Khaled has been in the game since the ‘90s, graduating from spinning vinyl in his garage to the GRAMMY stage. Today, the GRAMMY-winning producer and artist has a multitude of roles.

"I’m a father, I’m a producer, I’m a DJ, I'm a music executive, I'm an executive, I’m a young entrepreneur," Khaled told GRAMMY U National Representative Carlie Anderson

Khaled showed he is also a role model, taking time to speak with GRAMMY U following at an Aug. 16 event at Miami’s Soho Beach House. There, Khaled was in conversation with Carl Lamarre, Billboard’s Deputy Director of R&B and Hip-Hop.

The conversation wasn’t exactly planned, but Khaled made sure to make the most of the opportunity to speak to the younger audience of GRAMMY U, even telling those around him to quiet down so that he could give his full attention to Anderson.  

Khaled reflected on the creation of his 2006 debut project Listennn…the Album, as well as the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. Like many artists and fans, Khaled believes hip-hop is more than just a genre of music: it’s a lifestyle. 

"Hip-hop is not only everything to me, it is a force of greatness," Khaled tells Anderson. "Hip-hop changed my life, saved my life. I love hop-hop. I have to thank hip-hop for the blessings and inspiration, for the way hip-hop raised me."

Khaled recalled how he found hip-hop on his own and began to immerse himself in the world behind the music. Now, as a leading contributor to the culture, Khaled regularly reflects on how the culture made him who he is.

When it comes to being an inspiration to others, Khaled takes his position very seriously. His advice to young and emerging music-makers was simple: "Just be you.

"The world is yours," Khaled continued. "Being you is the most beautiful thing in the world."

After receiving five nominations at the 2023 GRAMMY Awards and performing at the show alongside Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, John Legend and Rick Ross, and, Khaled shows no signs of stopping. Earlier in August, he announced his 14th studio album, Til Next Time. The new project will be his first under the new partnership with Def Jam (in February, the rapper left Sony Music to join Universal Music Group). With this deal, Khaled was also named Global Creative Consultant for UMG.

The announcement of his album also came with a four-minute trailer, featuring his wife and two children. With comical moments from Khaled throughout, the video still steadies itself with the trademark motivational sentiments the producer is known for. 

"Success ain't easy," Khaled said in the trailer. "You gotta want it so bad that you're willing to put everything on the line, even if you gotta risk your own life." 

It’s no surprise that Khaled has some big features planned for the album. The debut single, "Supposed to Be Loved," already spotlights frequent collaborator Lil Baby, as well as Future and Lil Uzi Vert, who is working with the musician for the first time. 

As a true master of collaborations, Khaled told GRAMMY U about how his partners are often also his inspirations. Dr. Dre, Puff Daddy, and Fat Joe sit high in his mind, as well as Jay-Z, who Khaled credits to having "shown us that anything and everything is possible" in this industry.

Khaled also gave love to his supporters for sticking by him in all his different endeavors. 

"My fans are my inspiration," Khaled says. "They keep me going and keep me doing what I love to do, making music and representing hip-hop." 

With Til Next Time and his other efforts,  Khaled strives to continue pushing hip-hop forward. This genre’s milestone is the first of many in his mind: "Not only hip-hop 50, it’s hip hop forever." 

11 Hip-Hop Subgenres To Know: From Jersey Club To G-Funk And Drill

Behind The Board: How Gina Chavez's Process Allows Her To "Sink Into Creativity"
Gina Chavez

Photo: Courtesy of Gina Chavez


Behind The Board: How Gina Chavez's Process Allows Her To "Sink Into Creativity"

For independent Latin folk artist Gina Chavez, greatness is defined by fully expressing yourself creatively — and as she reveals, that mentality has been the key to her success.

GRAMMYs/Jun 14, 2023 - 07:02 pm

The peak of Latin folk singer Gina Chavez's creativity traces back to the beginning of her career — before there was any pressure from big-time executives.

"The 'ignorance is bliss' kind of vibe allowed me to do what I felt called to do," Chavez reveals in this episode of Behind the Board. "At this point in my career, I'm trying to get back to that space. I realize what a blessing that was to be in a moment where I was just like, 'Let's do this. Who cares?'" 

These days, Chavez's creative process begins with the rhythm or a "vibe," which she explains could be a chord progression or beat. Through this method, she created her 2020 effort, La Que Manda, which checked off a few of Chavez's goals: release a full-length project in Spanish, and qualify for the GRAMMYs and Latin GRAMMYs — all while building a community with her music.

Chavez received a Best Pop/Rock Album nomination at the 2020 Latin GRAMMYs, where she reconnected with peers she's met throughout her career — with whom she remains in touch with today. "We're constantly reaching out about new music," she says. "It's a beautiful community, which to me is what the Recording Academy is all about."

Over the years, Chavez has realized that having the courage to put music out in the world is the most beautiful part, regardless of the success. "If you're a creator and put yourself out there, that's great. That's the kind of greatness we need," she proclaims. "You never know who you're going to connect with. We all need someone to shine, so we can know that we, too, are bright."

Press play on the video above to learn more about Gina Chavez's relationship with music, and check back to for more new episodes of Behind the Board.

9 Times Queer Artists Made History At The GRAMMYs: From Elton John's Collab With BSB To Kim & Sam's "Unholy" Union

Behind The Board: How Avicii Inspired CHYL To Leave Finance For A Full-Time Career In Music
CHYL in her studio.

Photo: Courtesy of CHYL


Behind The Board: How Avicii Inspired CHYL To Leave Finance For A Full-Time Career In Music

After realizing her career in finance wasn't fulfilling, CHYL decided to take up music production casually — until Avicii's unexpected passing taught her one important lesson: life is too short not to pursue your passion.

GRAMMYs/May 19, 2023 - 06:30 pm

When Chinese-Canadian music producer CHYL heard EDM for the first time after coming to North America, "a fire ignited" in her body.

Despite realizing her passion, CHYL opted for a career on Wall Street after graduating from Columbia University. "I hated it so much," she says with a hearty laugh. "In my second year of finance, I figured I really should start picking up some hobbies outside of finance."

From there, CHYL began taking DJ lessons casually and grew a deep appreciation for production. Though it wasn't until her idol, Avicii, passed away that she realized it was time to pursue music full-time. 

"He was who I listened to a lot back in the day," she explains in this episode of Behind The Board. "Life is short. You have to pursue what you love to do. If you don't, who knows what's going to happen? You have to go for your passion."

After five years of making music, CHYL has perfected her process. First, she finds a vocal slice for the foundation of her music. Then, she works on finding emotion and energy. And most importantly, she doesn't overthink any of it.

"Sometimes it's the most simple and catchy thing that goes viral. It's a constant battle that makes something similar and catchy or something that shows off all your production skills in one song. It's a balance," she adds. 

Above all, she always strives to make songs that stick. "A great song is memorable," she says. "Some of the songs that go viral on TikTok may or may not be great songs, but they're very memorable and catchy."

Press play on the video above to learn more about CHYL's musical journey, and check back to for more new episodes of Behind The Board.

GRAMMY Rewind: Daft Punk Shares "Love" For Macklemore After 'Random Access Memories' Wins Album Of The Year In 2014