Sometimes you meet someone and know instantly that they are going to change your life. But usually, it takes a little bit longer than that.
Most of us heard him first boisterously commanding our hands skywards and insisting that they stay there. “We the BEST,” he bragged, and we nodded along without stopping to consider who exactly ‘we’ was. “I’m so HOOD,” he proclaimed, and who could really argue with that? From that point forward, he slid in and out of our collective pop culture peripheries, promoting an album by proposing to Nicki Minaj here and yelling on a Kanye track there. He had the presence of a friend of a friend who only sometimes makes the cut on the invite list but always shows up to the party.
Then, things changed. On October 1, 2015, he issued the tweet that started it all:
Follow me on snapchat djkhaled305 I just let a snap go 👑 https://t.co/vW6tq2yD2r— DJ KHALED (@djkhaled) October 2, 2015
And then, we fell in love.
DJ Khaled is the lifestyle guru we didn’t know we needed. As a self-styled life coach, he is at once shockingly funny and comfortingly predictable. In an age where our newsfeeds are rife with clickbait that promises “10 Ways to Get Fit in a Hurry” or that “These Incredible Tips Will Save You $$$,” DJ Khaled knows we want the quick fixes, the incredible one-step solutions. He chews up his wisdom and spits it back into our wide and clamoring maws like the hungry baby birds we are. He makes it so, so easy.
There is also an element of mystery to the advice DJ Khaled dispenses, that element of the unknown that is essential to any budding relationship. It is the threat of a faceless, seemingly omnipresent enemy who he refers to constantly as “They.” He warns us daily about what They do not want us to have or to do. They don’t want us to eat breakfast or lunch. They don’t want us to drink water. And They certainly do not want us to add DJ Khaled on Snapchat so that we can watch him water his plants, smoke cigars in his pool and cruise around Miami on his jet ski.
Smitten, we couldn’t stop talking about him to all of our friends. Eyes wide, cheeks rosy, we turned our phone screens to the uninitiated asking, “Did you see what Chef Dee made for breakfast today?” (Egg whites and turkey sausage, obviously). At convenience stores we reached for cans of soda, but then corrected ourselves and opted for bottles of water instead. DJ Khaled would love how hydrated I am, we thought brightly to ourselves, especially because that’s exactly what They don’t want us to be.
We have been with him through highs and lows. We waited, anxious, as he plowed through the black dark on his jet ski, and breathed a collective sigh of relief when he made it home safely. We watch him eat, we watch him party, we watch him slather himself in cocoa butter, because love without intimacy is empty.
It stands to reason that we could question his authenticity. After all, we’ve been hurt before by celebrities using false personas to covertly push their product – Rick Ross and Lana del Rey come most immediately to mind. DJ Khaled does occasionally flash his merchandise on-screen, and has developed a newfound affinity for Apple Ciroc. Yet there is a guilelessness to him that inspires not just trust, but devotion. The man loves to garden. He broadcasts snippets of his domestic disputes to the world without reason or explanation. He Snapchats us from the goddamn shower. How could his cloth talk be anything but real?
As in all serious relationships, things have begun to settle down. We know his routines, we know Chef Dee and we know what each emoji he uses means, for him and for us. “Bless up,” we murmur, as we view another eight-second clip of DJ Khaled earnestly espousing the virtues of a gluten-free diet. Then we watch another one. Another one. Another one.