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The Loop

The Loop

Breaking down DJ Khaled's master class in hype at the Grammys 2018

January 29, 2018

Christopher Polk

Ah, the hype man. Not so much performer as cheerleader. Not so much dancer as choreographer. Not so much a vocation as a lifestyle choice. Or, as in most cases, the perfect collision of a lifestyle with a stage.

As any of DJ Khaled's Snapchat followers knows—and if you're not one, get on it—the man not only lives that hype life, he narrates it, pausing to tell the world his story every few minutes. That's how he works on stage, too, and last night at the Grammy's his performance with Rihanna and Bryson Tiller was as large and loud as his Richard Pryor-red suit.

For about three and a half minutes last night, DJ Khaled fed the stars he shared that stage with all the volume, optimism, ambition, and support he could withdraw from what appears to be an endless supply of the stuff. They let Khaled open the performance with an improvised soliloquy about pride, which probably passes through his head every few minutes. His love of opportunities is huge and infectious....and after Kendrick Lamar's arresting, highly political performance featuring Dave Chappell along with U2's Bono and the Edge, DJ Khaled gave the evening of entertainment some needed relief.

I want you to try to imagine the Grammy's last night without DJ Khaled: Kendrick Lamar's pummeling political performance — which was, yes, great — would have anchored the evening before it could lift off. Khaled, though, offered America some optimism, relief, and a flat-out good time against the backdrop of the necessary political commentary.

You might say it's a bad thing, that we need to be pummeled. But music isn't all politics. It's often about release from the heaviness of the world. So yes, Lamar deserved every bit of his moment, but so did Khaled, and—I'd argue, purely in terms of entertainment—perhaps even more. Maybe it wasn't the best part of the night, but it was certainly my favorite.

So in the true spirit of the almighty hype man, I've collected Khaled's complete annotated performance here, and you can follow along if you feel like getting hype in your cubicle or something:

DJ Khaled, opening soliloquy: I worked my whole life for this! All I ever wanted was to have a opportunity! I just wanted a opportunity! They said I would never perform at the Grammys! They played themselves! [Ed. Note: unclear who "they" are, but it sure isn't me. DJ Khaled rules.]

Another one! Let's go! Stand up, everybody! We the best! DJ Khaled!


I don't know if you could take — Let's get it! — it know you wanna

see me nakey, nakey, naked I wanna be your baby, baby, baby Spinning

and it's wet just like it came from Maytag White girl wasted on that brown liquor

Let's go! When I get like this I can't be around you I'm too lit to dim down a notch 'Cause I could name — Rihanna! — some —

what we gonna do?!?! -- thangs that I'm gon' do

Wild, wild, wild

Sing it! Wild, wild, wild thoughts

Let's go! Wild, wild, wild When I'm with you, all I get is wild thoughts

That's right! Wild, wild, wild When I'm with you, all I get is wild thoughts

Hands up! Put your hands up!

Let's go! No games up in here!

I hope you know I'm for the takin'

That's right. You know this cookie's for the baking (ugh) Kitty, kitty, baby give that thing some rest Like the '68 Jets

Diamonds ain't nothing when I'm rockin' with ya

Uh-huh. Diamonds ain't nothing when I'm shinin' with ya Just keep it white and black as if I'm ya sista I'm too hip to hop > > around town

out here — Sing it! — with ya

I know I get wild, wild, wild

Let's go! Wild, wild, wild thoughts

Wild, wild, wild

When I'm with you, all I get is wild thoughts

Wild, wild, wild

When I'm with you, all I get is wild thoughts

Put your hands up! Throw them hands up! Put your hands up! Now throw your hands up! This the GRAMMY'S! Let's go!

Jeff Kravitz

Bryson Tiller:

I heard that's for the taking

Come on, come on I heard it got these other fellas goin'

Don't stop! — crazy yeah I treat you like a lady, lady I like to ... you

'til you're burned out — Flashdance, come on! [Ed. Note: I think that's what he says, but it can't possibly be right... Can it?]

cremation make it cream — come on! — yeah, Wu-Tang

Throw that ass back, bouquet

That's right! Call me and I can get it juicy I can tell you're gone off the D'usse — D'USSE!

Careful mama watch what you say

What?! You talking to me like ya new bae

What?! Girl, talking to me like you tryna do — What?! — things

Now that pipe got her running like she U — Let's go! —sayin', baby

You made me drown in it, oh touche, baby I'm carrying that water,

Bobby Boucher, baby

Don’t — and — stop! — you know I'm-a — Tiller! — slaughter like I'm Jason

Hey! Bust it, why you got it on safety?

[Unintelligible] White girl wasted on brown liquor I probably shouldn't be around you

You! You!

'Cause you get wild, wild — yeah! — wild

Come on! Looking like there's nothing that you won't do

Hey, girl that's when I told you

What?! When I'm with you, all I get is wild thoughts

Wild, wild, wild

Wild, wild, wild — Everybody sing it! — thoughts

Wild, wild, wild When I'm with you, all I get is wild thoughts

Wild, wild, wild

When I'm with you, all I get is wild thoughts

Kevin Mazur

Put ya hands up! Throw ya hands up! Put your hands up! And throw the hands up! And keep your hands up! And put your > hands up!

Put em up, let's go! And put your hands up! And throw your hands up! And keep your hands up!

When I'm with you, all I get is wild thoughts

Oh, y'all think this a game?! Hey! Let's go! Make some noise! Rihanna! Bryson Tiller! DJ Khaled! Roc Nation! We the best! >WOO!

That's right! We -- [Network cuts sound]