The Fixer
New York magazine|May 10 - 23, 2021
DJ Khaled is not a rapper. But he does always seem to know a guy.
CRAIG JENKINS

WHAT MAKES A HIT record soar? Is it vibrant melodies and lyrics syncing up with anthemic production? Is it the world-beating verve of a hungry new artist with a unique perspective? Is it the comforting voice of a household name or the familiarity of a beloved melody reinterpreted? Is it all just chemistry, the careful mixing, and matching of star power? These questions seem crucial to understanding the career path of DJ Khaled, the Palestinian American South Florida radio personality turned mogul, advertiser, and influencer who, 15 years ago this summer, dove into the business of star-studded rap compilations with Listennn … the Album and never looked back.

Rappers make much more music than what we hear when a proper project drops, and Khaled carries on the tradition of the executive producer who leverages relationships to put out music that might not otherwise be released. The enterprising compilation curator excels at coaxing artists into liberating gems from the vault or composing new music around a theme. Now, with a fertile ecology of leaks (and streaming services poaching the curator class), there isn’t as much of a drive to concoct commercial releases to house stars’ loosies. Musicians can always just drop a compilation of their own.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM NEW YORK MAGAZINEView All

The Return Of Night Life

Out All Night With Remy Duran

10+ mins read
New York magazine
June 7 - 20, 2021

The Return Of Everything – The Return of FOMO

The pandemic forced us to simplify our lives and look inward. Now it’s time to have fun again. That should be easy, right?

10+ mins read
New York magazine
June 7 - 20, 2021

You Get Back Up

A posthumous album from DMX that feels like it was meant to be the start of something.

5 mins read
New York magazine
June 7 - 20, 2021

Tomorrow: David Wallace-Wells

The Invisible Dead As the U.S. vaccinates, the pandemic enters its colonial phase.

5 mins read
New York magazine
June 7 - 20, 2021

RANK ME

Fifteen candidates for mayor, each selling a different vision of the city. Choose your top five.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
June 7 - 20, 2021

Movements: The GOP can win without waging war on democracy

The Big Rig Why are Texas Republicans subverting democracy in a state they already dominate?

6 mins read
New York magazine
June 7 - 20, 2021

Michelle Zauner's Incredible Spring

The Japanese Breakfast frontwoman became a best-selling author with a memoir centered on the loss of her mother. Now it’s time for her dance album.

5 mins read
New York magazine
June 7 - 20, 2021

The Tiger Mom and The Hornet's Nest

For two decades, Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld were Yale Law power brokers. A new generation wants to see them exiled.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
June 7 - 20, 2021

The Shared Pleasures of Plutocratville

Little Island is a billionaire’s gift to the public; the supertall 111 West 57th is what the ruling class builds for itself. I [whispers] love them both.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
June 7 - 20, 2021

The Real Zola

Five years after she lit up Twitter with her tale of a strip-club road trip gone awry, A’Ziah King’s story has become a big buzzy movie. Now she’s ready to make it her own again.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
June 7 - 20, 2021