On Thursday evening in New York’s Meatpacking district, DJ Khaled sat slumped in a throne wearing a t-shirt that said, “We the best.” He was surrounded by merch featuring the slogans that have become the keys to his own success, not to mention an inflatable key emoji, which was propped up next to him like a pharaoh’s sceptre. An endless line of fans waited to take a Snapchat selfie with the social media star, some holding giant cutouts of his face. It was clear that the most coveted piece of merch at the popup was Khaled himself, who has been called a living, breathing meme.
The latest in the long list of celebrities profiting the recent merch craze, DJ Khaled is arguably the most obvious candidate for a pop-up shop — he’s made a career preaching phrases fit for a t-shirt. In the past year, the producer and hip hop star has become the undisputed king of Snapchat, pontificating meme-friendly taglines like, “We the best,” “Bless up,” “Another one,” and offering his positive life affirmations in the form of “keys to success.” As a result, he’s gained an estimated 2 million followers.
Khaled is starting to sound a bit like a broken record, but the cause for celebration on Thursday was the release of his new album titled — you guessed it — “Major Key.” This after dropping the single, “I Got the Keys,” which features Future and Jay Z, earlier this summer.
This seemed like an opportune moment to ask Khaled what the key to summer love is. He smiled and put his hand on his chin. “The key is every season is the season of love, not just summer,” he said. “Love is the answer. Love is the solution. We have to love all the time.” [Insert prayer hands emoji.]
The only person to who could possibly rival Khaled’s success on Snapchat is Kim Kardashian, who recently made headlines by using the platform to share a revealing phone call Kanye West had with Taylor Swift. “Yeah, I seen that,” Khaled replied in reference to Kim’s videos. This question was an affront to his aura of positivity, but he kept his cool. “You know, Kim is my good friend,” he said. But what did he personally think of #Snapgate? It was, after all, a big moment for the app that arguably pays his bills.
Khaled paused. “What can I say? Snapchat was on fire.” He grinned and leaned back in his throne.