By now you have probably seen or read about the train wreck that was DJ Khaled’s set at Electric Daisy Carnival on Sunday (June 18) night. Through various fan videos and even those he posted, the set never seemed to get off the ground. He claimed to have technical difficulties through – blaming “they,” called out the wrong state and even got booed off the stage at the end.
DJ Khaled is one of the more unique characters in pop right now. In almost one year and a half, he has risen from a b-list hip-hop star whose albums seem to feature every rapper under the sun and puts out hit records every year or so, to a bonafide superstar with some of the best social media clout and a seemingly unstoppable winning streak.
This is only partially because of music. He records everything on Snapchat and now Instagram -- whether it is a failed Jet Ski excursion, the birth of his son or eating breakfast. Dishing out ”keys” and an endless dose of positivity, he is your de-facto mobile life coach on the go.
In all of this he released his album Major Key last year and almost immediately after, announced his next album, Grateful, which comes out this Friday, June 23. The LP will feature the likes of Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Chance The Rapper, Rihanna, Travis Scott, Migos, Lil Wayne, Drake and just about everyone else in rap, R&B or pop.
He has also started to pop up in movies, tv shows, commercials and every late night talk show – with his sayings like “another one” and “major key” (not listennnn unfortunately) becoming a fabric of pop culture today.
With someone with this much star power in and out of music, how could this happen and was it destined for failure from the get-go?
EDC just wasn’t the right gig for him. It is a festival so steeped in rave culture that bringing in those who are not familiar with what it entails or know how to embrace it can be disastrous. The festival is an electronic festival, but in the past had open-format DJs and some hip-hop acts perform like the Jurassic 5, so there is precedent for rap acts at EDC. Even Metro Boomin was also booked at EDC this year, where Drake was brought out as a special guest for three songs. It is a nod to hip-hop’s ascendance to the throne in pop and at major festivals.
However it never seemed like Khaled showed enough interest in the culture, was booked against other big acts in Marshmello, Flux Pavillion and Axwell /\ Ingrosso and could not get out of his own way. It is hard to imagine Khaled out there in a sea of pasties, furry boots and tutus.
Sound issues can plague anyone, but his act of standing on stage and shouting out various parts of a song, while SOMEONE else DJs doesn’t seem to translate when it is widely expected that you are the DJ. And when he is on a massive stage, where the focus is on the production, not him, his antics get washed out. He gets on the mic more than just about any other dance DJ. However, these are all things the Insomniac team should have known and wouldn’t have fit with the overall theme of the festival.
That being said, Khaled didn’t help himself. He could have tried to adapt to the atmosphere. Maybe bring out a special guest or two since his songs all feature numerous special guests. Knowing where you are is also a good thing. On the live stream and on his Instagram, he posted his blunder claiming they were in California and then played Tupac’s “California Love.”
Putting all of this together and apparently overstaying his welcome on the stage, he was soundly booed off stage in favor of Yellow Claw.
Let this be a lesson to all of those involved to think more carefully about whom you book. Really imagine what that person will be like on stage at your festival and then for the artist – don’t mail it in god damnit. It is good to try and have a diverse offering of music, but people go to EDC for dance music first and foremost with production a close second. The rest is third through last.
Even with all of these things going wrong Khaled dished on some “keys” to moving forward. “I forgive them thoe love is the key,” he wrote on Instagram.