Exclusive: The First-Ever Interview With Asahd Khaled
The 'Grateful' executive producer waxes baby poetic on his two smash hits, breastfeeding in public and more.
Last year was a huge one for DJ Khaled, whose relentless pursuit of hits, enviable networking skills and Snapchat expertise came to a blissful head, instantly turning him into an A-list entity. He toured with Beyoncé, flipped the social media industry on its ear and got JAY-Z to appear in a music video (an impressive feat as any). In August he received his crown jewel, a No. 1 album, courtesy of the star-studded Major Key and its brilliant marketing campaign. It’s also worth noting that the day Major Key topped the Billboard 200, the executive producer of Khaled’s follow-up, released less than a year later, wasn’t even born.
Enter the arrival of Asahd Khaled, DJ Khaled’s first-born and the executive producer of his Roc Nation sophomore album, Grateful. How does that work, you ask? Hey, people used to ponder the role of the elder Khaled himself. Truth is, it doesn’t matter. Consecutive top 5 debuts on the Hot 100 before the album drops? Just know it works.
Asahd was born in October, making him the youngest executive producer of a major label album in history, but don’t think he coasted his way to the top. In his first-ever interview, he waxes baby poetics about the most pertinent issues facing the House that Khaled Built today, including public breastfeeding, his impeccable style, earning a No. 1 before turning one and much more.
First off, what was Summer Jam like? That was like a coming out party, wasn’t it?
Summer Jam was great! Daddy brought me out on stage and all!
As the executive producer of Grateful, surely the album’s title had to be green-lit by you. Were there any titles suggested by your dad that you had to shoot down?
Well, at first I told daddy to name the album I Love Mommy and Daddy but he said, “No, I’m more grateful for you.” So, I said, “Ok daddy, Grateful.” But I Love Mommy and Daddy was way better to me! [giggles].
How did it feel to debut at No. 1 with “I’m the One,” especially considering that your face was the artwork?
Amazing! I got a #1 before I turned one! [giggles].
You’ve been spotted in some pretty spiffy outfits. Let’s talk about this one at the Roc Nation headquarters in New York.
I can’t take the credit, my mommy dresses me and it’s usually Gucci. She’s a stylish lady! Love you mommy!
How about the powder blue suit on the Grateful cover? You and your dad did that.
Actually my Uncle T did that. That’s daddy’s stylist, Terrell Jones. But to me, he’s Uncle T and he custom designs all my and daddy’s clothes. Love you Uncle T.
Alright, let’s crack down on the issues real quick. Public breastfeeding. Where are you falling on that?
Public breastfeeding? Well, if you’re hungry don’t you eat? [shakes head].
Ferberizing? Yay or nay? For babies and for rappers.
Ferberizing? Couldn’t tell you cause I don’t cry [chuckles]. #HappyBaby #HappyLife
How are you managing your parents’ sleep cycle? Are you letting them at least get in four hours at a time or are you just unruly with it?
Me unruly? Never! [laughs] I sleep when they sleep. I give them about five to six hours, and unlike my friend Drake, I take naps!
Your dad’s dancing. He really got down in the “Wild Thoughts” video. Has he been advised to never do that again or are you working with him on it?
[laughs] Daddy gave us a little cha cha. Love you daddy!
Speaking of “Wild Thoughts,” the combination of Rihanna, Bryson Tiller and Carlos Santana has gone over really well with fans. Be honest, whose idea was that? Yours or you dad’s?
Well… I knew it was a hit and daddy said he wanted Rihanna and Bryson. I’m more of the track/music finder and daddy is the one who gets the artist on the tracks. We work good together! #Hitmakers
JAY-Z’s appeared on your dad’s last two albums, and now he’s got his own album coming out. Have you heard any of his new music, and what are your thoughts if so?
Well when daddy says, “It’s top secret,” it’s too secret! So haven’t gotten a chance to hear JAY-Z’s new music. Daddy’s afraid I’ll hum the tunes in my gym class and then it may leak! That’s a no-no because I hum a lot! But can’t wait to hear it!
You’re only seven months old but you’ve got a songwriting credit on “Wild Thoughts.” JAY-Z’s daughter, Blue Ivy, currently holds the record for being the youngest to make the Billboard chart. You guys in some sort of competition?
Competition? Never! Can’t wait to work with Blue Ivy! You know, she’s Beyoncé’s daughter and I love Beyoncé. I can’t wait to meet the twins, we all need to have a play date/studio session so we can lay down some new baby sounds! #Vibes #YoungKingsandQueens
How is Mom handling your newfound celebrity? You’ve been seen hanging out with Travis Scott, Nas, Rih Rih and more. Does your fast life worry her?
Celebrity? Huh? Fast life? Me? Worry mommy? Never! Mommy is with me 24/7, how do you think I eat! [laughs]