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DJ Khaled's acoustic guitar strumming goes viral for the wrong reasons – but is there more to the hip-hop megastar's playing than meets the eye?

DJ Khaled
(Image credit: Jon of the Dead (1978)/Twitter / Guild)

DJ Khaled is the record producer behind multiple platinum-selling albums, but he's also a walking meme. From going viral earlier this year for standing up and looking confused to performing to a less-than-enthused crowd at June's YouTubers vs. TikTokers event, the internet is constantly given cause to talk about the hip-hop megastar. 

And if you want more reasons why he's so quite so meme-able, here's another one.

In a new video that has found its way onto social media, DJ Khaled is seen playing a Guild A20 Marley acoustic guitarlaunched earlier this month in tribute to late reggae legend Bob Marley – gifted to him presumably by either Guild or the Marley family.

After his personal chef Melissa Zuniga reads a brief note about the origins of the six-string, the hip-hop mastermind proceeds to hammer some harsh-sounding open-chord strums which, at face value, indicate a man who's rarely touched a guitar in his life.

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But if you look beyond its glaring atonality, you'll notice that the passage is actually delivered with rhythmic precision, signaling Khaled is more adept with a guitar than it first seems. 

In between his aggressive downward strums – which you could argue is a considered musical choice rather than an inability to control dynamics – Khaled uses his fretting hand to mute the strings: a technique only executable by those who've had at least some guitar-playing experience.

We're not suggesting DJ Khaled is a secret shredder, but there is more to his playing than meets the eye – after all, would the entire internet be talking about the clip if he simply used the guitar to competently strum a few open chords?

Following the surfacing of the video online, internet users were quick to offer humorous captions. One wrote: “Me after asking the Guitar Center employee to take the most expensive guitar they have in the store off the wall because I’m interested in purchasing it (I am not).”

And, of course, someone has already tabbed the performance. Kudos.

Sam Roche

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.