Who is DJ Khaled? Everything to know about Daytona 500 honorary starter for 2024

A week ago, the sports world enjoyed one of its biggest spectacles, the Super Bowl. Fans are now ready for another one.

It’s time for the Daytona 500, the official season-opening race for the NASCAR Cup Series. “The Great American Race” is considered a premier event in racing, and being named the honorary starter is a major honor.

This year, it will be the famed music producer DJ Khaled who will be the one waving the green flag at the start of the 500-mile race at the Daytona International Speedway.

Looking to familiarize yourself with DJ Khaled? Here’s what you need to know.

MORE: Full Daytona schedule

Who is DJ Khaled?

DJ Khaled, whose name is Khaled Mohamed Khaled, is a DJ born in New Orleans on Nov. 26, 1975. He has become a major name in music going from a hype man on the radio in Miami to producing music alongside the biggest names in the industry.

Khaled was involved with star musicians before they broke out, including Lil Wayne and Birdman, before he took a job working on a pair of radio shows for a station in Miami in 1998. Early in his career, he tried several different nicknames, including Arab Attack, Terror Squadian, Big Dog Pitbull, and Mr. Miami. He changed the name Arab Attack after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I’m a positive person. ‘Arab Attack’ was mainly used for music, like we attack you with music, but when 9/11 happened, I said, you know what, I’m not gonna use that name no more,” Khaled said. “It wasn’t respectful to the people that went through some stuff.”

He had his own show starting in 2003. Three years later, he released his first album, “Listennn… the Album.” The album was met with immediate success, racing up to No. 12 on the Billboard 200.

His next album, “We the Best,” was met with similar success, and featured collaborations with prominent musicians, such as Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, and Akon. It had the hit single, “I’m So Hood,” which included T-Pain, Trick Daddy, Plies, and Ross. The success of his first two albums ultimately led him to start his own record label, We the Best Music Group, in 2008, which began just before the production of his third album, “We Global.”

Khaled’s fourth album, Victory, was a major success. Though it only hit No. 14 on the Billboard 200, it featured the major hit song, “All I Do Is Win,” which has since reached triple platinum. 

The success kept on coming for Khaled. He released “We the Best Forever” in 2011, “Kiss the Ring” in ’12, “Suffering from Success” in ’13, and “I Changed a Lot” in ’15 before releasing “Major Key,” his first No. 1 hit on Billboard 200. That ’16 release became his first album to go gold, and it was his first to earn him a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album.

“Grateful,” released in 2017, was an even bigger success. The album also went No. 1 and was his first to go platinum. It included No. 1 and 2 Billboard Hot 100 hits, “I’m the One” and “Wild Thoughts.” His ’19 album, “Father of Asahd” earned him his first Grammy when the song, “Higher,” won for Best Rap/Sung Performance.

He has since released albums, “Khaled Khaled” and “God Did,” both of which reached the top of the Billboard 200 and were certified platinum and gold, respectively. “God Did” earned five Grammy nominations for “Best Rap Album,” “Song of the Year,” “Best Rap Song,” “Best Rap Performance,” and “Best Melodic Rap Performance.” 

He is slated to release his latest album, “Til Next Time,” in 2024.

Along the way in his music career, Khaled has also become a social media sensation, particularly for his 2015-16 Snapchat videos. He is a best-selling author for his book, “The Keys,” and has appeared in several movies, including “Pitch Perfect 3,” “Spies in Disguise,” and “Bad Boys for Life.”

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