Earlier this month DJ Khaled went to TikTok launches a “Dairy FreeStyle Challenge”. The campaign – for a coconut water / plant-based yoghurt brand called Harmless autumn– Encourages participants to rap over a beat set by the Grammy Award-winning musician and producer. A winner is chosen from entries submitted via the social media platform, and they receive free concert tickets.
For the highly accessible Khaled, it provides yet another way to connect with his massive fanbase. But it is also an opportunity for him to express his dedication to a dairy-free lifestyle with his 3 million + TikTok supporters. Many of them may not be aware that the artist takes such considerations into account.
DJ Khaled’s latest music production, Khaled Khaled, hit number one on Billboard 200 back in May. Still, he finds time to pursue lots of other passions in addition to his successful day job. Namely: to promote healthier food and drink. In an exclusive interview with Forbes he sheds light on his lifestyle beyond rhythm.
The following interview is edited for length and clarity.
Where were you posted during the pandemic?
All the time in Miami, for sure. It’s my home for over 27 years. That’s what I represent – 305 – Miami, all the way.
How did your daily day change through 2020?
I was determined in the studio. I released an album that became number one. I worked on it before the pandemic. So when the pandemic came, first and foremost security first and family first. But I could not believe – when they said we could not go anywhere – they should actually give a guy like me so much time to think; to be even bigger? You want to give a guy like me as much time to recharge? So I watched the pandemic as securing the next 100 years!
And have you made changes to your self-care plan?
Definitely. We all went in the same situation where we all sat around a lot. You need to see what you eat and how you eat. I was blessed to have a chef who could help me maintain the pandemic, eat well, eat healthy. I’m sure we’re all trying to eat healthy. The key is that once you learn what is healthy and what is not healthy, you learn to discipline yourself. So even if you make mistakes, you know it. Back in the day, I was like anything. But now that I have a cheat day, I feel guilty when I eat it. It is part of learning and growing.
So you made a solid plan for yourself?
I’m actually proud of myself because I maintained a certain weight that I refuse to go over. I have this number where I do not go over. Clearly, I do not just want to be on the number, I want to get better and better. But I never went past that [specific] number.
How was this partnership with Harmless Harvest formed?
It was natural because I was already eating their products. I’ve always been a fan without even knowing it – because my chef and My queen used to bring them home. And I did not know how healthy it all was until they broke it down for me. Knowledge is the key; once people understand how healthy it is – especially in my type of lifestyle – it actually works beautifully in the studio. It’s even on my rider when I exhibit. It has to wait there for me. I want to let everyone know that and share that knowledge. It’s self-care. And if you’re about Khaled … I’m about a lot of beautiful things. Even though I’m not the thinnest guy in the world, I make sure I’m healthy.
Which part of the Harmless Harvest portfolio resonates with you the most?
Man, I love the coconut water! How to get in touch with them. Because if you know my lifestyle, I love coconuts. Believe me, I’m not just saying that to say it: it’s incredible.
I’m very much on social media; shows my fans the process in the studio and spreads the light. And the coconut water was always there [on the background of posts]. And I would only ever represent things that I love.
Let’s talk about this TikTok duet – and is it your favorite social media platform at the moment?
The young world, they love it. I have always supported them through the music and I appreciate all the fans who support my music through TikTok. I think it’s beautiful when the fans recreate some of the songs and dance in a positive way.
So I got a chance to do a little freestyle and the fans have a chance to freestyle back and forth. I’m not the best rapper in the world, but I can rap! And I had a good time [putting this together].
TikTok seems to be a great showcase for so many talented people out there. Do you find it more positive and uplifting than some of the other platforms?
All I represent is the light and the love. Light and love are God and positivity. On any platform, we must always lay out love. Any other energy is just a waste of emotions. Even if you are going through something that day, the solution is better than dwelling on one [negative] situation. Love is the answer; love is the key. There should be no other way. Especially in times like this … We need to step up, because a happier world is a better place.
How do you block negativity?
As parents and adults and leaders, we need to teach. Never let any peer pressure put you into an energy that is not correct. Never let an energy affect you where it affects you so much that you harm yourself. It goes back to self-care, you have to love yourself so you can love others. Sometimes social media tears people down and that’s what we do not want. Several of us speak up to say ‘spread love’ is important.
So you do not read through the comment sections then?
No! And if I did, and someone said something wrong, it does not affect me in any way. There is always more love than hate – always remember that. Usually the hatred is so small unless you entertain it. And I do not have time to go into it. I have hard skin and I am blessed. We are winners here – a winner from birth.
You have the opportunity to work with millions of different brands. How do you ultimately land on those you end up collaborating with?
That must be something I want to talk about. I’m not afraid to promote greatness! And when it comes to eating healthy [Harmless Harvest] was one I associated amazingly with. And I’m just a big fan.
What is your go-to karaoke song?
All I do is win!