Photo: Ivan Berrios
5 Takeaways From DJ Khaled's New Album 'God Did' — As Told By Khaled Himself
Upon the release of DJ Khaled's 13th album, 'GOD DID,' on Aug. 26, GRAMMY.com caught up with the producer/DJ to hear his biggest takeaways from the project.
DJ Khaled delivered yet another star-studded album on Aug. 26. The GRAMMY-winning producer and DJ's 13th LP, GOD DID, features 31 guest stars, including Jay-Z, Drake, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Kanye West, SZA, John Legend, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Lil Baby, Future, Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, Travis Scott and Roddy Ricch (to name only half!).
The overarching theme of GOD DID finds DJ Khaled continually praising a higher authority for believing in him when others didn't.
"It's really God did," he tells GRAMMY.com. "It's like, [if] you speak something into existence and you do God's work, you're going to get God-level results."
Even just hours after the album's release, Khaled says that he was receiving positive reviews from both fans and his collaborators. "Every artist I worked with on the album [is] hitting me up personally saying how inspired they are, how great of a producer I am, how I'm inspiring them. They're praising my work ethic. And I'm just like man, these are some of my idols telling me this!"
In an interview conducted on album release day, Khaled reveals some remarkable behind the scenes moments of how it all came together plus his top takeaways from GOD DID.
Its Tracklist Is Very Intentional
GOD DID was arranged so that the music and the actual song titles flow together and tell a story from beginning to end. Khaled hopes listeners will absorb the 18-track LP as a whole, and play it in order.
"Before the album dropped, I got on Instagram and I said to all the fans, 'Please, take the shuffle button off,' because this is an album that you have to listen to from top to bottom so you can feel the story," he explains. "But you can also feel the way the energy builds up, the way it takes you into different sounds and goes back up — just the way the track is flowing."
And with so many superstars featured, Khaled also insists it's a "no skips" album. "I wanted everyone to hear it without going around shuffling. It's an album you are supposed to press play from top to bottom."
GOD DID Is Jay-Z's Favorite DJ Khaled Album
Khaled's longtime friend and collaborator Jay-Z appears with a deep verse on the album's title track with John Legend, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Fridayy. "He immediately started freestyling lyrics off his head," Khaled recalls of his time in the studio with Jay. "I heard him just saying rhymes."
Once Jay-Z heard the entire album, he was even more inspired. "He's like, 'Yo, Khaled, this is your best work up to date. This is your biggest album.' And he was telling me how proud he is of me and I seen a smile on his face, how genuine he was — it was a moment. For my idol to tell me this is my best album, it's God did. You know what I'm saying?"
Juice WRLD Wrote A Khaled Tribute Song Before His Death
Though Khaled never met Juice WRLD before the young rapper's untimely passing in 2019, he was apparently an inspiration for the late star. As GOD DID was in the works, rapper Lil Bibby (who signed Juice WRLD to his Grade A Productions in 2017) sent Khaled a song that Juice WRLD once wrote about the producer — which became the basis of "Juice WRLD DID."
"[Bibby] decided to give it to me when I'm making GOD DID," he explains. "Come on! You see what I'm saying now? Like this God did, I can't make it up. I never knew [about the song when Juice WRLD was alive], never in my life. I'm telling a true story — this is all real. I felt like he recorded that right in my room in my studio. The man made a song called 'DJ Khaled Another One.' God bless him, man. God bless Juice WRLD."
His Dancehall Dreams Came True
Khaled has spent a lot of time DJing in Jamaica and began spinning there in his teens. He's made sure to honor his love of dancehall music and Jamaican culture on each album, but the GOD DID track "These Streets Know My Name" — which includes Jamaican artists Skillibeng, Buju Banton, Capleton, Bounty Killer and Sizzla — is his most ambitious effort in the genre to date, featuring generations of legends in the scene.
"I listen to reggae music only and dancehall and reggae music in my whole house every day, nonstop," he shares. "I was raised on it. I'm part of sound culture from a kid, from like 14 years old to where I'm at now. I was in all these dances DJing and cutting dubs, so it's a big part of my story and I'll never forget where I come from."
Eddie Murphy Gave His Blessing To "PARTY"
One of the most fun surprises on GOD DID comes with "PARTY," featuring Migos' Quavo and Takeoff. The song samples Eddie Murphy's "Party All The Time," which was a huge hit for the comedian-turned-singer in 1985.
"I love that song," Khaled says of "Party All The Time." "It's not an easy record to clear. Maybe that's why we haven't heard that sample like that, because I was surprised nobody's ever used it like that. He cleared it, so big up to Eddie Murphy. Thank you for clearing the record!"
"PARTY" is one of the five music videos Khaled has unveiled since GOD DID's release, along with videos for "BIG TIME," "BEAUTIFUL," "IT AIN'T SAFE," "THE STREETS KNOW MY NAME," and "KEEP GOING." ("STAYING ALIVE" was released in early August.) Stay tuned to his YouTube channel to see if more are on the way.
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Photo: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images
8 Artists Who Were Inspired By Their Teachers: Rihanna, Adele, Jay-Z & More
In honor of Music In Our Schools Month this March, take a look at how teachers made a heartwarming impact on superstars like Katy Perry and John Legend.
Before Rihanna, Billy Joel and Jay-Z became some of the biggest names in music, they were students just like the rest of us. Without some particularly special teachers, they might not be the superstars they are today, and they all remember who first encouraged them.
Within the past few years, Rihanna made a special trip to a cricket match in England to reunite with her old P.E. teacher from Barbados, who she calls her "MVP"; Joel traveled back to his New York hometown to honor the teacher who said he should be a professional musician; and Jay-Z told David Letterman that his sixth grade English teacher made him fall in love with words.
In honor of Music In Our Schools Month — which raises awareness for supporting and cultivating worthwhile music programs in K-12 — GRAMMY.com highlights eight artists who have praised their teachers for making a lifelong impact.
After watching Joel tackle Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23, his high school music appreciation teacher Chuck Arnold suggested that he consider music as a career.
"He said to me, you should be a professional musician," Joel recalled of his Hicksville High School mentor during a 1996 event at C.W. Post College. "Now, for a teacher to say that, it's like condemning someone to a life of poverty, drug taking, alcoholism and failure.
"A teacher is telling me this," he added seriously. "It had a huge influence on me."
In 2022, Joel was on hand to congratulate Arnold during the dedication of the Charles "Chuck" Arnold Theatre at the school. "This is for the coolest teacher there ever was," he praised.
.@CBSSunday surprised Lizzo with her high school band director, who encouraged her to apply herself when she was learning to play the flute — and her reaction was priceless: “Wow, I did it, didn't I?” https://t.co/dwffNvYzpb pic.twitter.com/xp5kDK5pWB— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 6, 2019
In 2019, CBS Sunday arranged a surprise visit with the singer and Manny Gonzales, the former band director at her alma mater, Elsik High School in Houston. She told the network that Gonzales helped her get a scholarship to study classical flute at University of Houston.
"You told my ass!" Lizzo exclaimed as she squeezed him. "You were like, 'Get it together, girl, 'cause you are special. Apply yourself!' Those moments meant so much to me."
The Atlanta DJ/producer and king of crunk has done more than take parties to the next level — he has invested in the educational future of children in Africa by building two schools in Ghana with the non-profit organization Pencils of Promise. He credits a mentor at Frederick Douglass High School in Atlanta for sparking his brain when he was a teenager.
"It was my music teacher [who inspired me to dream bigger]," he said in a 2019 interview with Yahoo! "I wanted to play drums, and if I didn't play drums, I wouldn't make music, and drums are the foundation for what I do."
Roddy Estwick was Rihanna's P.E. teacher in Barbados and is now the assistant coach of the West Indies cricket team. The two had an emotional reunion at the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.
"He made a lasting impact on my life and he really offered great advice to me and many others when we were at school at Combermere," she told Barbados Today amid their reunion. "I just wanted to let everyone know what he meant to me in my development and what he did for us back at school in Barbados." Essence reported that Rihanna described him as, "My mentor, my champ, my MVP" on her Instagram stories.
The Ohio native credits his English teacher Mrs. Bodey at North High School in Springfield for setting him on the path that culminated in his music career.
"Until her class, I hadn't believed in my ability as a writer," Legend shared in a 2017 op-ed for Huffington Post. "She recognized my potential and showed me that I could write with creativity, with clarity, with passion."
He continued, "Mrs. Bodey, along with a few other teachers, helped me gain confidence in my skills and pushed me to challenge myself. They pushed me to graduate second in my class. They pushed me to deliver the speech at our graduation. They pushed me to earn a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, to hone my writing as an English Major and, ultimately, toward a successful career as a songwriter."
The singer was reunited with the most pivotal teacher in her life during her "An Audience with Adele" concert special in 2021. While the singer took questions from the crowd, actress Emma Thompson asked Adele if she had a supporter or protector in the past.
"I had a teacher at [south London high school] Chestnut Grove, who taught me English. That was Miss McDonald," Adele said. "She got me really into English literature. Like, I've always been obsessed with English and obviously now I write lyrics… She really made us care, and we knew that she cared about us."
Miss McDonald then surprised Adele on stage, and the singer was brought to tears — a touching highlight of the special. She even told her former teacher that she still has the books from her class!
While Perry has admitted that she wishes she had a better overall education, her former music school teacher gave her confidence to pursue singing seriously.
"I'm kind of bummed at this stage that I didn't have a great education because I could really use that these days," she said in a 2014 interview with Yahoo! "There was a teacher named Agatha Danoff who was my vocal teacher and music teacher at the Music Academy of the West. It was very fancy and I didn't come from any money… and she always used to give me a break on my lessons. I owe her a lot of credit and I appreciate that she looked out for me when I didn't have enough money to pay."
Picture a young Shawn Carter — now better known as Jay-Z — with his head stuck in a dictionary.
"I had a sixth grade teacher, her name was Ms. Lowden and I just loved the class so much," Jay-Z said during his appearance on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman in 2018.
He later realized how much Renee Rosenblum-Lowden, who taught him at Intermediate School 318 in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, had an influence on his passion for language. "Like, reading the dictionary and just my love of words," he explained. "I just connected with her."
"I knew he was extremely bright, but he was quiet," Rosenblum-Lowden told Brut in 2019, sharing that he scored at the 12th-grade level on a sixth-grade reading test.
"He's been very kind," she added. "Every famous person has a teacher who probably influenced them, and I wish they would all shout out the way Jay-Z did."
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Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for the Recording Academy
How Hip-Hop Took Over The 2023 GRAMMYs, From The Golden Anniversary To 'God Did'
It's the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, but the 2023 GRAMMYs celebrations didn't stop at the epic, MC-saturated blowout. Here are five ways the genre took over Music's Biggest Night.
The 2023 GRAMMYs' ambitious, world-beating tribute to hip-hop's 50th anniversary is getting a lot of ink — for a very good reason.
Featuring an ensemble ranging from progenitors like Grandmaster Flash and Run-DMC, to legends such as Too Short and Missy Elliott, and modern-day practitioners like Lil Baby, GloRilla and Lil Uzi Vert, the tribute segment was stunning not only on a logistical level, but on conceptual, emotional and historical planes.
But the Recording Academy's tribute to this landmark in time wasn't siphoned off to that 15-minute segment — not even close. In fact, the entirety of Music's Biggest Night radiated with the courageous, intrepid, forward-thinking spirit of hip-hop.
The tribute performance was just one of many nods to rap during GRAMMY week. Days before, Lil Wayne, Missy Elliott and Dr. Dre were honored by the Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective in a ceremony that contained performances by Snoop Dogg, 2 Chainz and Ciara. And the pre-GRAMMY gala featured a performance from Weezy, Latto and Lil Baby.
At Music’s Biggest Night, the hip-hop love roared fully to life. Here are five ways hip-hop took over the 2023 GRAMMYs, a foreshadowing of an entire year in celebration of the epochal artform — with the extended hip-hop tribute as a springboard.
GloRilla performing at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Photo: Getty Images for the Recording Academy
A Global Hip-Hop Rager For The Ages
Until Music's Biggest Night, to fit hip-hop's evolution and essence into 15 minutes would seem logistically untenable. But the Academy did the impossible.
The Questlove-curated set moved lightning-quick from '70s and '80s pioneers, to 2000s radio dominators like Nelly, all the way to the current era.
Like with the last Super Bowl's ensemble cast of rap greats, the result was emotionally walloping, historically edifying and visually spectacular.
Most importantly, the music was exceptional — a tip of the hat to a precious form of American expression. To anyone who still subscribes to some form of stigma — you don't know what you're missing.
The Rap Categories Contained Serious Jewels
Let's take a step back, though, and examine the 2023 GRAMMYs' hip-hop nominees and winners themselves.
Kendrick Lamar was well-represented in both the General and Rap fields, and commensurately for Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers and Lamar's non-album single "The Heart Pt. 5."
For the former, Lamar won Best Rap Album; for the latter, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. With the success of "The Heart Pt. 5," he is now the most-awarded artist in the latter category.
Together, these offerings comprise something of a creative and emotional watershed for Lamar. As for Pusha T, It's Almost Dry — nominated for Best Rap Album — contained some of his most crystal-sharp coke raps to date.
Plus, the sheer range of guests on DJ Khaled's GOD DID — nominated for Best Rap Album — could be the ultimate testament to his indomitable spirit, curatorial acumen and infectious sense of largesse.
This also applies to fellow nominees from Future, who won Best Melodic Rap Performance for "WAIT FOR U," to Jack Harlow, who was nominated liberally throughout the Rap field.
Given the level of craft throughout, hip-hop isn't just ripe to be celebrated for its past, but for its boundless future.
Dr. Dre Was Presented With A Global Impact Award
At the 2023 GRAMMYs, seven-time GRAMMY winner Dr. Dre was the recipient of the inaugural Dr. Dre Global Impact Award for his multitude of achievements through his innovative, multi-decade career.
Dr. Dre was presented the award after a plethora of televised bona fides, and offered his thanks to the Recording Academy and Black Music Collective for the prestigious honor in light of the Recording Academy's celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
A tribute to Takeoff during the 2023 GRAMMYs. Photo: Getty Images for the Recording Academy
Quavo Performed A Moving Tribute To The Late Takeoff
There's a bittersweetness to celebrating hip-hop on a global scale in 2023, as so many of its best and brightest have died far too young in recent years.
Among these tragedies was the senseless death of Takeoff, one-third of the family-bound rap trio Migos, along with Offset and Quavo.
Read More: Remembering Takeoff: Why The Unassuming Rapper Was Foundational To Migos
As part of the In Memoriam segment, backed by worship ensemble Maverick City Music, Quavo honored his late nephew with a soul-searing version of "Without You."
"Tears rollin' down my eyes / Can't tell you how many times I cried," he rapped before an empty microphone stand, poignantly hung with Takeoff's chain. "Days ain't the same without you / I don't know if I'm the same without you."
John Legend, Fridayy, and DJ Khaled performing at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
DJ Khaled & Company Closed The Curtain With "GOD DID"
At the end of the ceremony, DJ Khaled brought out collaborators Jay-Z, John Legend, Lil Wayne, Fridayy, and Rick Ross for a rendition of GOD DID's title track, which was nominated for Song Of The Year, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance.
Seated horizontally in an opulent, Last Supper-esque tableau, the stars sang their hooks while bathed in purple light, closing out the 2023 GRAMMYs with laconic flair.
It was a fitting conclusion to Music's Biggest Night, one that placed hip-hop where it belongs: on the top shelf.
2023 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Complete Winners & Nominees List
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
DJ Khaled Brings "God Did" To Life Alongside Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, John Legend, & Fridayy | 2023 GRAMMYs
Music's Biggest Night wrapped up in star-studded fashion thanks to DJ Khaled, who joined his "GOD DID" collaborators Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, John Legend, Jay-Z and Fridayy for an epic show-closing performance.
DJ Khaled closed out the 2023 GRAMMYs with a star-studded squad including Jay-Z, John Legend, Lil Wayne, Fridayy, and Rick Ross on their collab "GOD DID."
Spilling into the street outside L.A.'s Crypto.com Arena, the assembled MCs and singers spit their verses and sang their hooks awash in purple light, with Legend seated behind a piano covered in flowers while the rest sat at an opulent, overflowing table in the style of the Last Supper.
"They didn't want us to win! So I made sure I was on the GRAMMYs stage with the biggest! This is for hip-hop!" Khaled shouted in between verses by Ross and Lil Wayne. And later, Jay-Z stole the spotlight as he testified, "These ain't songs, these is hymns 'cause I'm him/ It's the Psalm 151, this New Testament/ The book of Hov/ Jesus turned water to wine/ For Hove, it just took a stove."
The praiseworthy banger raked in three nominations at this year's awards show, including Song Of The Year, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. The album GOD DID was up for Best Rap Album.
The superproducer scored a sixth nomination in the Best Melodic Rap Performance category for "BEAUTIFUL," the Future and SZA-assisted album cut off GOD DID. He nabbed an additional nomination as a guest artist on Mary J. Blige's Good Morning Gorgeous (Deluxe), which is nominated for Album Of The Year.
Over the course of 2022, GOD DID earned Khaled his seventh career Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to lead single "Staying Alive" featuring Drake and Lil Baby. It also became his fourth chart-topping album on the Billboard 200.
Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs.
Photos Courtesy of the Artists
DJ Khaled To Perform “God Did” At 2023 GRAMMYs With Musical Collaborators Fridayy, Jay-Z, John Legend, Lil Wayne, And Rick Ross
The GRAMMY-nominated performer will perform at Music’s Biggest Night broadcast live from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles Sunday, Feb. 5.
GRAMMY-nominee DJ Khaled is set to appear on the 2023 GRAMMYs telecast with his musical collaborators Fridayy, Jay-Z, John Legend, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross to perform “God Did”, his track nominated for this year’s Song Of The Year.
DJ Khaled is nominated for six GRAMMY Awards this year, with five of those nominations for “God Did” including, Song Of The Year ("God Did"), Album Of The Year (God Did), Best Rap Song ("God Did"), Best Rap Album (God Did), Best Rap Performance (“God Did”), and Best Melodic Rap Performance ("Beautiful").
Music’s Biggest Night will be broadcast live from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles Sunday, Feb. 5 (8:00 - 11:30 PM, live ET/5:00 - 8:30 PM, live PT). It will air on the CBS Television Network, stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
Before, during and after the 2023 GRAMMYs, head to live.GRAMMY.com for exclusive, never-before-seen content, including red carpet interviews, behind-the-scenes content, the full livestream of the 2023 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, and much more.