Schadenfreude is the cornerstone of social media. Long before Twitter sparked social justice movements and Instagram launched burgeoning hip-hop careers, we were all laughing at “fail videos” online. Watching our fellow human beings fall short of success at their grand attempts seems to be one of the few things we can all agree on in these contentious times.
DJ Khaled is learning this lesson right now. While social media has been a tremendous boon to his uber-positive, say-yes-to-seemingly-every-opportunity brand/persona, right now, he’s experiencing the dark side of too much exposure to the always-online masses. The social media mob can turn bloodthirsty given the right circumstances and his recent blowup over the Billboard chart placement of his album Father Of Asahd is pretty much steak tartare.
Page Six recently reported that DJ Khaled is planning a lawsuit against Billboard after his latest, star-studded album landed at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, just behind Tyler The Creator’s Igor. Unfortunately, the report was taken by some as fact despite Page Six‘s tabloid nature. The timing of the report also coincided with the sudden viral resurgence of one Khaled’s recent Snapchat videos to form the picture of a bitter DJ Khaled spitefully lashing out against Igor‘s success at his expense.
The video finds him defending Father Of Asahd from “purists” who took issue with his use of an Outkast sample for the song “Just Us” with SZA, saying: “I make albums so people can play it. And you actually hear it… It’s playing everywhere; it’s called great music. It’s called albums that you actually hear the songs. Not no mysterious sh*t, and you never hear it.” When the video first appeared on Snapchat, it was pretty clearly a response to backpack rap fans who’ve long decried his music for relying on guest stars and radio appeal, rather than esoteric lyricism and dusty beats.
However, when the rant was reposted context-free to Twitter following the Billboard reveal, many decided that it was a shot at Tyler. Even Tyler himself fed the narrative, joking: “Who tf listens to tyler the creator?” and “His MSG show sold out but FR I never heard a Tyler song my life.” To all parties involved, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to crow about DJ Khaled breaking his motivational speaker kayfabe and revealing a secretly sour “true” personality who hated to lose to the competition.
Reading the actual report, though, it’s clear that Khaled’s beef is with Billboard, because he was apparently given inaccurate information regarding the publication’s counting practices. The New York Times followed up with the full story. As it turns out, DJ Khaled and Tyler had almost identical streaming numbers, so the No. 1 spot on that week’s chart came down to their actual sales — and whether or not Billboard chose to count their merchandise bundles in those sales.