On a Wednesday in early February, Khaled Khaled, a 40-year-old record producer from Miami, stepped into the garden of his temporary residence at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. As he does most mornings, he gave thanks for another day on earth. “Good morning,” he said to no one in particular. “Bless up.”
DJ Khaled, as he’s more commonly known, was once a minor figure in the music world, a creator of radio-friendly hip-hop hits and the host of a nightly show on one of Miami’s top FM stations. The rap on Khaled was that he could attract talented collaborators but wasn’t much of a musician himself. “Mostly, he just incessantly screams dumb catchphrases,” one Pitchfork reviewer complained. “And he doesn’t even do that particularly well.” This sort of thing weighed on Khaled. The critics, the haters, the people who’ve ignored his career—they didn’t want him to be in such a beautiful garden.
“I love my angels,” Khaled said, admiring the red, white, and purple cyclamens at the hotel. He saw God in those perennials. He also saw a metaphor for his own life’s journey. Khaled sees metaphors everywhere, actually, which is a major key—or as he prefers to type it out, “major ”—to his success on Snapchat, the social network where he has amassed some 6 million followers since last October. “Life is like flowers,” he observed, training his iPhone camera at the ground and holding down the record button. “You grow. You blossom. You become great.” He posted the 10-second video to Snapchat, then repaired to his bungalow to further philosophize on the power of positive thinking, hard work, and the divine. That went out to his Snapchat followers too, in a continuous series of clips.