Slowly, his career gained momentum. There was no social media yet, "But the word of mouth in the streets talked about it," he told NYC radio host Ebrohim "Ebro" Darden in 2015.
"That's how I came up. Going city to city. On pirate radio, giving a beats CD, whatever! That's how I came up."
In 2003, 99 Jamz gave Khaled his own show, where he stayed for another 10 years, according to the New Times. Gradually, Khaled got the idea that he wanted to produce his own music. In 2006, he started We the Best.
His first nationally recognized album, "We Takin' Over," came out in 2007 and featured half a dozen guest appearances, including Lil Wayne, Birdman and Akon. "Making the most ambitious collaborations in the history of music is what I do. It's all I do," writes Khaled, "The Keys."
"The King of Snapchat"
Though Khaled didn't work his way up in an era where he could leverage social media, his fame has skyrocketed in the last couple of years because of it.
"I tell people all the time that Snapchat changed my life," says Khaled in his book.
Khaled joined the platform at the end of 2015 while spending some time at home recovering from being on the road, according to a 2016 interview with Ebro. Khaled shared his daily routines, inviting fans into the more personal aspects of his life.
While posting videos of himself doing everything from watering his plants to giving pop-psychology ruminations on success, Khaled was becoming a bona fide Snapchat star. It took him from a well-known name in the hip hop world to a staple influencer for the millennial set.
"I was home for literally like a month. … So one day, my phone broke," Khaled told Ebro. He went to the mall to get it fixed. Suddenly, he was surrounded. "It's like the whole mall is in the Apple store now 'cause I snapped, 'fixing my phone.' There's like 10,000 people!
"I only seen this with the Beatles! You know what I am saying?" says Khaled.
Shortly thereafter, he was in Las Vegas for work and was again startled by a crowd gathered at his hotel. "There's like 10,000 people downstairs by the elevator," says Khaled, remembering the event to Ebro.