DJ Khaled to Host VMAs Pre-show: "Expect Nothing But Greatness"
The pre-show will feature performances by Alessia Cara, Jidenna and Lukas Graham.
DJ Khaled is securing the bag with a major gig. The prolific DJ-producer and Snapchat extraordinaire will be bringing his major keys and then some to the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards as both a host for Sunday night's pre-show and a correspondent for the main event, alongside Charlamagne Tha God and Lizzo from MTV’s Wonderland.
"The VMAs is a show I've always wanted to be a part of, and I'm a big fan of it," Khaled tells Billboard over the phone. "For me to be involved in the pre-show as well as the main show, I'm excited. Put it this way: Expect nothing but greatness, and also expect the unexpected because when you got Khaled on the bill, ratings go extra high." The 8 p.m. ET/PT pre-show, powered by Pepsi, will feature performances by Alessia Cara, Jidenna and Lukas Graham. Pepsi also will launch a new program, The Sound Drop, on VMAs night, spotlighting the three performers on its YouTube channel throughout the year.
Though keeping his lips zipped about the specifics of the VMAs surprises he's plotting, the keyholder assures us he's up to something. "I'm going all out," he continues. "It's gonna be nothing but love, energy and fun." His preparation for the show, which lands at New York's iconic Madison Square Garden on Sunday, is simple. "The key to success is just being myself. When I talked to the VMAs and MTV family, [they said] that's what they wanted me to do: to bring the Khaled vibe. I'ma give you that cloth talk. I'ma give you them keys — the keys to more wins, more success and more blessings."
As for the award ceremony itself, Khaled is looking forward to a few things: potentially seeing his artist Kent Jones win the Moon Man in the Song of Summer category with his smash "Don't Mind" and seeing a particular bad gal rock the stage. "I can't wait to see Rihanna," he says of the 2016 Video Vanguard Award recipient, who is slated to perform alongside an A-list lineup that includes Future and Britney Spears. "I'm sure she's gonna tear that down."
The VMAs venue also makes him humbled to be a part of the awards show. "I came from a garage with turntables, drum machines and a lot of records, and just to come up in the music game and now be part of the VMAs, is amazing," he says of posting up at the legendary MSG. "It's gonna be something that I've been working hard to be on, so hard work is paying off."
When asked if fans possibly could expect a teaser for his latest music video for the star-studded love song "Do You Mind" featuring Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, August Alsina, Jeremih, Rick Ross and Future during the VMAs, he offers, "Man, you never know. I got two videos — 'Do You Mind' and 'Nas Album Done' — in the can. That's what so dope about the VMAs: You never know."
To generate hype for his big VMAs role, Khaled also jetted to the Bahamas for a celebratory promo. "I felt like I wanted to put people in a state of mind where not only are they waiting for the biggest show ever, but, at the same time, I'm coming off the No. 1 album in the country [with] Major Key, and it was a key to me to celebrate the win. So I was like, 'Yo VMAs, MTV, you gotta come see me in the Bahamas.' "
Catch Khaled's breezy spot below before the VMAs pre-show airs on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT — just before the live show at 9 p.m. on MTV.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.