David A. Antler

The Keys

By DJ Khaled

Read: 2017-03-03
Rating: 4/10
ISBN: 978-0553208849

Q: DJ Khaled, how are you always so upbeat?

A: It’s the Keys!

DJ Khaled’s personality is his strongest asset. He’s upbeat, optimistic, funny, persistent, grateful, and open. His book is a collection of miniature essays on topics like “securing the bag” and “stay away from they”, which probably makes little sense to someone not already familiar with DJ Khaled. At times it can become tedious to understand exactly what he means, so I’d recommend skimming rather than struggling.

“The Keys” reads like a self-help book based on an autobiography. As a self-help book, this book doesn’t stand out, but echoes many of the same messages you’ve probably heard before. As an autobiography, I found the content sparse but fascinating. From his anecdotes we learn that he: didn’t finish high school, is afraid of flying (hence the tour bus), has lived in a car, and worked at a pirate radio station. He’s also the son of tailors, which explains “special cloth” and his high merch prices. Quality, of course!

I thought his essays ranged from dull to thought-provoking. I had to struggle against boredom here and there, but this book isn’t very long. Overall the book presents an amusing collection of insights, and a window into the thought processes behind a hugely successful personality. Reading it might make you a bit more upbeat, yourself.

Towards the end, Khaled (who we are asked to henceforth refer to as “Billi”) predicts that “The Keys” will be “the number one book.” Only time will tell!

my notes

People ask me how “they” become that way. I tell them—hate makes you “they.”

Being yourself means first learning who you are. Take time to identify and develop your natural talents and you will be successful. Also, take time to figure out what makes you happy. If you combine what comes naturally to you with what makes you happy, then you will be unstoppable.

But you have to be fearless. No one else is going to ride for you harder than you will.

complainers waste the day imagining new bad scenarios and spend no time accomplishing the vision.

Whenever I wake up and I just don’t feel right or I feel down, I do everything in my power to change it. I don’t want to be a “they” today. That’s how it starts. Why spend all that time and energy focusing so hard on roadblocks and then telling everybody around you how life is hard?

Embrace the blessings, but sometimes it will be more important to embrace the storms. Because storms keep you humble. In turn, humility is what makes life sweet. As I always say: It’s not an easy road, but give thanks to the road. You will never be happier than when you know a storm is over.

I will never understand people who work their whole lives to win, and then when they do, they try to act like they’re already over it. Don’t ever play yourself.

Knowing the pioneers of the game—whatever your game is—is unbelievably important. You’ve got to know who put in the work ahead of you for you to be able to do what you’re doing now. It’s one of the best ways to be more inspired about what you create. Listen to their stories, and it will help you write your own. If you’re a fan of the music and the people responsible for it, you’ll discover that you see your own music differently.

Good energy attracts good energy, so make sure your vibe is the best.

wins are happier when you share them. Not only that, wins are bigger when you share them—not smaller. People get this wrong all the time.

You have to keep cooking when you’re hot, and right now we’re hot.

I grew up around a lot of Rastas and when we greet each other we’ll be like, “Lion Order,” as a sign of respect. Lions are the kings of the jungle and it’s a jungle out there, so you’ve got to be king. You say it to give yourself courage and to invoke that courage in others, too.

My lion represents me, and I represent the lion. Lion embodies courage and power. It’s a constant reminder of what my job is when it comes to my family, but when my queen comes out and sees Lion, I want her to feel safe and know I’m coming home soon. Plus, he’s just somebody for me to talk to when I’m thinking about the pathway to more success. Lion talk is a major key, for real.

The way I see it, I’m a boss—a don—and you can’t maintain that level of respect if you’re going out and looking out of control. You’ll notice that I never get drunk or wild out—that ain’t me.

I’m grateful because my family raised me right. I never did drugs. I never tried Molly, pills, none of that. I truly believe it’s always easier to say no from the beginning than to try to say it later.

On that note, cocoa butter is also a major key when it comes to self-care. People always ask me why I smell so good, and the answer is Palmer’s cocoa butter. I don’t wear cologne.

So get a fresh cut twice a week and definitely before an executive decision. And when you’re ready and you graduate to the next level, get a pedicure and a manicure once a week, too.

Major key for real: Don’t drive your Jet Ski in the dark.

Everyone has a different idea of luxury when they first get a little money. One person might only wear brand-new sweat socks every single day. Another might eat Cheesecake Factory for every meal for like a month. Me, I got a lot of pillows. They remind me of when I didn’t have pillows, so I’m grateful for all of them.

Major key: Never deny the heat. What do I mean by heat? I mean that combination of special magic that makes a hit. It’s that rare energy that is unmistakable and undeniable. No matter where it comes from, if it comes, you’d better take it.

Put the vision first; that way you’re always excited about the wins and what’s coming next. They never said winning was easy, but this way you love the work while you’re hustling. This way you love the journey—the progress and the process—as much as the result. Major key.

the key is important for everyone. Always remember who was there for you when you were the underdog. But remember them again when you’re on top.

I want to take the time right here to celebrate what I already know will be the number one book because I’m going to speak it into existence, and I hope that you enjoy my blood, sweat, and tears in these pages. I pray that you’re inspired by my stories.

I never graduated high school.