Greeting fans outside of his Miami Gardens restaurant Finga Lickin, hip-hop producer and social media personality DJ Khaled shouted his popular mantra to the cheering crowd:
"THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO WIN!"
To his fans, the subject of DJ Khaled's accusation, and other similar statements regarding "THEY"'s intentions, is likely an anonymous figure of authority. But according to a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court, "THEY" actually refers to DJ Khaled's one-time friend and musical partner Everett Yassin, also known by his rap name "The Human Everett Yassin", or simply "T.H.E.Y."
The Complaint tells a heartbreaking tale of friendship and jealousy and asserts that T.H.E.Y. and DJ Khaled, whose mothers traveled to the United States together from Palestine in the early 1970's, were childhood friends and that it was T.H.E.Y. who first introduced the future superstar to hip hop.
The Complaint asserts that the pair had a falling out after DJ Khaled released his 2007 album "We The Best", an album T.H.E.Y. described as an ode to his long-time fiancé, dancer Wendy Everhart, known by her stage name "W.E."
"After D.J. Khaled released his album about W.E., I snapped. I was heartbroken and I confronted him," said an emotional T.H.E.Y. in an exclusive interview with the Plantain. "I was mad and I told him that I hoped the album bombed. It was shortly after that that Khal started telling everyone that "T.H.E.Y. don't want you to win." But it isn't true, I don't care whether everyone wins or loses. I only wanted that one album to fail. I'm generally a pretty positive and encouraging person otherwise. I mean, I taught Khal "Bless up". That was my thing!"
As DJ Khaled's star took off, his public accusations about T.H.E.Y. and his portrayal of his former friend as the ultimate hater took its toll on T.H.E.Y.'s career and psyche. As the Complaint alleges:
"For years DJ Khaled has profited off of Everett Yassin's image, invoking his stage name countless times in his music and to his large social media audience. In doing so, DJ Khaled has ruined T.H.E.Y.'s once promising music career by defaming him through false claims that, among other things, he didn't want others to "win", "eat", "exercise", or "have that view"."
The complaint goes on to allege that the "ravaging of Mr. Yassin's career and reputation by DJ Khaled has forced him to undergo psychological counseling for severe emotional distress."
When asked what he was trying to accomplish with his lawsuit, Mr. Yassin said he was trying to revitalize his once promising music career (now limited to a sound cloud account) by restoring his reputation and hoped to find closure for his longstanding feud with his former best friend.
"I miss Khal," said T.H.E.Y. remorsefully. "It's crazy that it's gotten so far. But I need him and the world to know that T.H.E.Y. don't care if you win or lose because friendship isn't about winning or losing. T.H.E.Y. just wants to be friends again."
The Plantain reached out to D.J. Khaled via Snapchat for a comment, to which the Miami-based superstar responded cryptically:
"The 🔑: Forgiveness."
UPDATE : Shortly after publishing this article T.H.E.Y. withdrew his lawsuit. The two old friends reportedly reconciled during a long telephone conversation and plan to reunite in person later this week.