What happens when you combine the forces of the hit-making, social media dynamo that is DJ Khaled with Lil Baby, one of the hottest rappers in the game right now? A legendary interview for Khaled’s special XXL magazine digital cover to celebrate his new album.
A day (May 1) after the release of his 12th studio album, Khaled Khaled, last Friday (April 30), the multiplatinum-selling, No. 1 album-charting catchphrase king sat down in his Miami mansion for an interview with Lil Baby, who spoke to Khaled from his ride via Zoom to ask him all about the making of his new 14-track LP.
When the famed DJ dropped the tracklist last week, just a few days before the album was released, fans were eager to see a song that featured both Jay-Z and Nas. “Sorry Not Sorry,” also featuring singer James Fauntleroy and Harmonies by The Hive (hi, Beyoncé), brings together two acclaimed rap greats who have a storied history with each other that includes major beef in the 2000s, and then squashing it several years later. Rare as it is to hear Hov and Nas collaborating, they did so on the 2006 track “Black Republican,” which appears on the Queens rapper’s Hip Hop Is Dead album, and the 2007 song “Success,” on Jay’s American Gangster LP.
“Well, first of all, it’s been a dream of mine to hear them brothers work together, nah I’m sayin’?” Khaled tells Lil Baby.” Even when they were going through their situation. They’re my two favorite MCs. Even when they moved forward in life, you know, away from that situation, it still was a dream of mine to put that record [‘Sorry Not Sorry’] together.”
A few years ago, DJ Khaled was at a dinner with some of the music industry’s most prolific artists when he had the vision to put Hov and God’s Son on a track together. “And, you know, Jay’s my brother, Nas is my brother and it took me about, it was one day I was a restaurant with me, Nas, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Puff Daddy, um, Pharrell and so many other people who was all eating dinner and I remember them just talking and I was sitting beside them and they were like brothers laughing,” Khaled reveals. “I’m like, yo, these are my, man, this is, I can’t believe this, you nah I’m sayin’? And these are my brothers. So, I said, you know what, I can make this happen because they know my heart is pure, they know my soul is clean and my heart is clean and they know my face is clean and they know the kind of person I am.”
Khaled didn’t bombard Jay and Nas with the request to get on one of his tracks right away. The timing had to be right. “So, but from that day, it took me about a few years, a few years later to build the courage to actually ask, you nah I’m sayin’?” Khaled shares. “Even though I felt it… This was the right time. This is a special album for me, you know, called Khaled Khaled, and, um, to put Jay-Z and Nas on a record together. Not even just that, to shoot the video, nah I’m sayin’? They don’t even shoot videos for themselves. So to shoot the video and this is my gift to the world and also a gift to me, but this was definitely for the culture on the highest level, you nah I mean?”
Overall, Khaled just wants to inspire with “Sorry Not Sorry.” “And I wanted to inspire the youth dem, you nah I mean, if you ever be beefing with somebody, man, if you could fix it, it’s always great, you nah I mean?” he says.
Elsewhere in the interview, Lil Baby asks DJ Khaled which artists he still wants to work with, though he’s already locked in with plenty of hip-hop all stars during his career. Baby himself appears on three songs on the Khaled Khaled album: “Every Chance I Get” with Lil Durk, “I Did It” alongside Post Malone, Megan Thee Stallion and DaBaby, and “Body in Motion” also featuring Roddy Ricch and Bryson Tiller. He also linked with Khaled for 2019’s Father of Asahd LP, on the tracks “You Stay” featuring Meek Mill, J Balvin and Jeremih, and “Weather the Storm” featuring Meek Mill.
“I’m blessed to work with you on two albums, you nah mean?” Khaled tells Baby. “I’m blessed to work with Jay-Z on several albums, and [Lil] Wayne and [Rick] Ross. Like Lil Wayne and Ross been on every single album of mine from the beginning of my career.”
Khaled discusses that his ultimate goal is to continue to work with artists of Lil Baby’s caliber as well as the other performers who have appeared on many of Khaled’s albums. However, there’s one rapper Khaled hasn’t had the chance to record with yet. “But I would love to work with André 3000,” he expresses.
Three Stacks just so happens to be one of Lil Baby’s dream collaborations as well. “I ain’t gon’ lie, that’s my answer,” the Four Pockets Full leader conveys. “That’s my answer. Maybe you put us on that bitch together. Maybe you put us on there together, me and André 3000.”
The We The Best Music Group founder tells Baby that there could be a deluxe in the future with a song that features the two. “The deluxe with André 3000 and Lil Baby and the deluxe will only have one record,” Khaled says with a laugh. “Not five, not 10, just one.”
“Aye, that’ll be crazy,” Baby replies.
Watch Lil Baby interview DJ Khaled about his Khaled Khaled album below and check out Khaled’s XXL magazine digital cover.
See Photos From DJ Khaled’s XXL Magazine Digital Cover Story