J’S FOR EVERY KEY – DJ KHALED
The taxonomy of DJ Khaled's Air Jordan collection
Platinum award-winning producer and music industry executive DJ Khaled gives us the story behind his best Jordans, including the AJ 4 ‘Motorsports’, in some of his most iconic Instagram moments.
Tell us about the lion and what’s going on in the picture here.
DJ Khaled: “This was at my photo shoot from my last album, Major Key, one of my best projects. It actually inspired my new project I’m working on now called Grateful. I’m wearing a red leather jacket.
I name my Jordans. I know you have the 1’s and 3’s – I name my Jordans my own names. So I call those the ‘Red Sea’. The lion represents me as a man, at the same time as a humble lion, but at the same time as a king – but at the same time, don’t get it twisted.
When you see me outside of my house I feel like I’m in the jungle, so that’s why I wanted to put the lion walking with me, to let everybody know we kings. We’re all kings and queens and we gotta stay focused. So the reason why I said the ‘Red Sea’ … it might be too deep. It’s just the lion, the ‘Red Sea’, it’s the whole vibe.”
Is that a Miami vibe as well?
“Well, I like all different kinds of colors, man. I like … sometimes I wear pink, sometimes I wear red, blue, sometimes I wear green. It’s just a vibe. I just love doing things that stand out, but at the same time I like bright colors too, it brings a glow.”
Nice. And that’s a real lion?
“Yeah, it’s a real lion.”
Alright – next one. The AJ 4’s.
“Man, the minute I got those Jordans, they were some of my favorites. Any time I get a pair of new Jordans, I always take a picture and I put the pinky ring … and that’s like, “Kiss the ring.”
I’m thinking, like, six rings like Jordan, you know what I’m saying? You’re the best. And if you doubted us, we give you the ring to remind you. You know what I’m saying?”
And they’re ‘Motorsports’ as well. I know you’ve got a few different colorways. Tell us about these.
“This colorway is so perfect. The white, black, and where the blues are at. Nothing like having a pair of fresh kicks and putting those on with just a fresh white tee.
If your kicks are brand new and fresh, you could wear dirty clothes – your kicks bring everything out. With them Jordans, you good.”
What’s going on here?
“That’s a serious pic. Me and Jay Z were in the studio finishing the final touches of the record I got out now called Shining. Shining is a record with me, Jay Z and Beyoncé. That’s like me playing basketball with Michael Jordan. You know what I’m saying? In the rap game Jay Z is the Jordan of rap.
And, you see, the J’s I got on … Those right now are probably my favorite ones to wear. What do you call those?”
The ‘Top Threes’, right?
“I call those ‘Give Thanks for the Collaboration.’ I’m like, ‘man, they put all the flavors into one’, so you gotta give thanks to the collaboration. I love those J’s. I actually have about five pairs of them.
I put those on because I knew I was going to Jigga’s house. I knew that day was a special day. You know, anytime I know I’m going to be around greatness I always gotta pull out greatness. That’s like putting them all in one shoe. You know what I’m saying?”
“I remember taking this picture. This was in Las Vegas and those are some IV’s – you notice how I’m saying every Jordan is my favorite Jordan?”
“It’s ’cause they are. So those Jordans were originally my favorite J’s before the 3’s and the 1’s. But they started changing it. I don’t know why.
You see my jumpsuit with that though right? It’s custom made. Made that just for that. Terrell’s my stylist. We send him to Italy. We send him to the factory sometimes. If I gotta take two Jordan tees and a jumpsuit, just to get it to fit me. ’Cause sometimes I’m skinny, sometimes I’m not, so it’s whatever that day is.
But that particular outfit was just a shot [my photographer] Ivan took, he caught me in a moment. I was about to perform in Vegas and I was just going through my emails, it’s like my presidential moment. You know, where they catch you in the hallway.”
This is kind of business but a bit casual. Did you get dressed from the shoes up?
“So, I always make my clothes from the shoes up. Like this morning, I woke up, I knew I was coming to the big boys in the game [at Brand Jordan headquarters] so I said, let me put these on.”
The [AJ] 3’s.
“Yeah so that’s a dope pic. That was me in Philly at the ‘Made in America’ concert before I was hitting the stage. It was backstage, I was feeling good, I was feeling real godly. I was wearing all white. I got the Holy Key T-shirt in the back. And those J’s, the white and gold.”
“So amazing. I wanted to wear all white. If you notice the gold on my shoes and then the key – it’s just a vibe. Everyone was complimenting my look that day, you know?
“This right here is iconic, you know?”
This is big.
“This broke the internet. Me, in my house, on my way to the press conference to announce the title of my album, Grateful. I remember calling Reggie [Saunders], I was like, “Yo Reggie, imma wear a pink suit at the Beverly Hills Hotel for my press conference. Do you have any pink J’s?”
That morning, I was surprised with some pink ‘Don C’s’. I didn’t know that they only making these for kids. It makes the shoe 10 times more exclusive even though they’re already exclusive. They’re pink ‘Don C’s’. I haven’t seen them. I haven’t even seen Don C with them.
I got a chance to wear them and it was a big day for me, and I’m grateful for y’all sending me that pair.”
Aw, so sick. Custom suit?
“Yeah, it’s custom. Silk suit. The press conference was at the Beverly Hills Hotel. And I wanted to feel like Scarface when I walked in. You know what I’m saying? Flower on my suit. You know what I mean?”
I wanted to ask you about Asahd and the kicks he’s rocking at the moment.
“So my son, he rocks Jordans. When I look at my son it’s like I’m looking at myself, but looking at myself like, I don’t know how to explain to nobody, I love that – a joy that’s unbelievable.
I’m looking at this picture right now, I miss him so much. He actually FaceTimed us while I was in a meeting. That was me and him in our creative room in our house where we have our meetings. That’s the room where we chill out and we just vibe.”
And he’s executive producer.
“He’s the executive producer of my album. And he’s my biggest blessing ever.”
I’ve seen him in the 3’s. How big is his collection so far?
“He got a nice little collection. He got some OG’s. You know they’re so old that one of them is a different color from being so old. You know what I’m saying?”
“So he’s just amazing.”