Lobster, sand traps, and shit-talking — Boardroom goes inside hip-hop’s biggest rivalry at the country club.
It was all good just a week ago.
Steve Stoute had bragging rights over his entrepreneurial brother, DJ Khaled, defeating the pride of the 305 in a head-to-head matchup in Miami Beach.
“I beat his ass,” Stoute told Boardroom.
“The first match he cheated,” Khaled told Boardroom. “And I still congratulated him and kept it moving.”
In a showdown between the boss mogul and the Boss model, Stoute served Khaled in a game of golf that resulted in a bag big enough to clear a Santana sample and a slice of humble pie sweeter than Junior’s cheesecake. For much of March, February, and January, Stoute appeared on top.
Then, the energy shifted.
Over the weekend, the revolution was televised as Stoute and Khaled faced off for the second time in 2023.
“I damn near had to beg him to play again,” says Khaled. “It took three months because he knew I was gonna bust his ass!”
In Round 2, Khaled settled the score by defeating Stoute, taking the rivalry to a tie.
As expected, Khaled celebrated gracefully.
“When Michael Jordan wins his six rings, he celebrates,” Khaled says. “When Tiger Woods wins, he celebrates. My way of celebrating is giving my praise to God and my family. The blessing of this win is going straight to charity. Shoutout to We the Best Foundation.”
“I thought it was slightly unethical to be dancing on the green with money,” says Stoute. “But because it’s charity, I’ll give him a pass.”
Speaking to Steve Stoute and DJ Khaled just hours after the agonizing defeat and gargantuan gloating, Boardroom got all the intel on golf’s growing rivalry that’s gearing up for a big-money rubber match on April 30.
“The Game Just Started”
Far removed from bass-backed speakers, entourages, or engineers, a choir of gray kingbirds provided the soundtrack for a January round of golf in Miami Beach.
By the third tee box, a different type of chirping began.
Fighting over the score and comparing watches, The Blueprint began blaring from Khaled’s cart early in the action. After the turn, he should have put on Comeback Season.
“I beat him by seven holes,” Stoute said. “It was over by the 14th hole.”
From still in the meeting to still in the bushes, Stoute overcame adversity off the tees by beating Khaled on the fairway. By the back nine, the damage had been done and the bag had been won with all of the prize money going to the Robin Hood Foundation.
“I beat him for $200,000,” Stoute said.
The result of Round 1 was more than just money. “We realized we can’t even play golf together for fun because of the tension around this rivalry,” Stoute said.
“Steve is really a nice guy,” said Khaled. “But when he becomes competitive? I don’t know who this guy is.”
Throughout February and March, the tension between the two continued to mount, growing thicker than the humidity after a storm in South Beach.
As we all know, a rivalry only exists if both sides win.
“Bring out the Lobster!”
DJ Khaled is not what most of us would consider an underdog. Worth an estimated $75 million and boasting platinum plaques through work with Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and SZA, life is good for the Miami mogul.
However, all is fair in love, war, and golf. Where the latter battlefield was concerned, Khaled came into this weekend’s rematch with Steve Stoute with a score to settle and pride on the line.
From arrival, the energy was different.
“There’s something that you didn’t see on tape,” Khaled says. “When Steve Stoute pulled up, he was in a Mercedes S Class. He was sitting in the back seat and his knees were touching his neck. That’s how small it was. It’s insane.”
While Khaled was all smiles as Stoute hopped out of the Benz, a game face occupied his opponent.
“He jumps out of the car and he doesn’t say hi to me!” says Khaled. “I’m in a good mood, it’s all love, but he doesn’t say hi. He just throws a bag of money at me. I felt like, ‘Oh, it’s on now. This guy’s coming in here like that?’ But he’s not going to change me, I’m going to continue to show love.”
Approaching the rematch from opposite angles, Round 2 proved much closer than the introductory outing. Namely, the victor differed.
“He won by a hole,” Stoute said. “He won $100,000 and the money’s going to charity.”
Setting the stage the night before with a pre-match FaceTime, Khaled backed up his tough talk and came through in the clutch. A master class in putting prowess brought the bragging rights back to Khaled and a honey bun back to his We The Best Foundation.
It was a big win and a major mood-shifter.
“Not only did I beat him, you saw how mad he was,” Khaled says. “He didn’t even shake my hand after I won. That should tell you right there what’s going on.”
Despite entering Round 2 with an injury, it was all tears of joy afterward as Khaled celebrated by ordering a celebratory spread of seafood. The smiles and laughter reached fans far and wide as it appeared the tables had turned at Gekkō.
“My fans were congratulating me about the big victory against Steve Stoute,” says Khaled. “Sunday night I felt so good, we needed to celebrate. Bring out the lobsters, a little sushi, wagyu steak, a little snapper fish, Dover sole.”
However, some say that revenge is a dish best served cold. As Round 3 approaches, we’ll find out.
As Stoute put it, “He thinks he’s better than me. I know I’m better than him.”
Three the Hard Way
Ali vs. Frazier, Steph vs. LeBron, Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader.
The best rivalries in history are settled in the third faceoff with the victor afforded the spoils for the rest of time. For Steve Stoute vs. DJ Khaled, the stakes are no different.
“There’s a trilogy,” Stoute said. “It’s taking place in Miami.”
“He begged me to do The Trilogy,” says Khaled. “I said, ‘Steve, no problem. I will honor your request. I have no problem, I would want you to have a chance to lose again.'”
Settling on a neutral location, the two titans of hip-hop culture are both bent on becoming the best golfers they can be during April.
“He picked the date,” says Khaled. “I don’t know if that’s a chess move.”
For those circling their calendars at home, The Trilogy takes place in on Apr. 30th.
In the weeks leading up, hit records will be recorded and major partnerships will be aligned.
Still, in the back of their minds and at the forefront of social media will be the rubber match in South Florida.
“He’s a very good putter from long distance. To beat him, I’ve got to two-putt. I can never three-putt against him. Other than that? I think I’m good,” Stoute said.
“Steve Stoute can not beat me in anything,” says Khaled. “I don’t care if it’s golf, basketball, or business. What’s his line of work, marketing? He can’t beat me in anything. Nothing. ‘Cause We The Best in all categories. God did!”
The drama surrounding The Trilogy is palpable for all involved. It’s also upping the ante from all benefitting — both watchers and the two charities.
As of now, the exact size of the bag for the final match of The Trilogy has not been set, but the social media soap opera and high-profile fanfare in the comment section could set the stage for even more money going to charity than the first two rounds combined.
“I’m letting him decide the number amount,” Khaled says. “I told him I’m down for whatever because it’s going to be for a great cause.”
As spring sets in, Stoute remains focused on beating his brother, bringing home the bag for the Robin Hood Foundation, and moving forward with his friend. As it stands, the same edge that made him a mogul in hip-hop and beyond is already translating to that of the country club.
For Khaled, the rubber match means bringing back another bag for the We The Best Foundation and certifying himself as the best by beating his friend who happens to be an industry icon.
“Golf is full-time in my schedule now,” says Khaled. “So I’m just going to get better and better.”
It’s charity, it’s theatre, it’s friendly competition. In the weeks leading up to The Trilogy, it will all come down to who works harder.
“For me, it’s going to be a lot of focus and attention on things in the game I didn’t perform well on and could have performed better,” Stoute said as he looks ahead to the Apr. 30th showdown.
“The Trilogy is going to settle it.”
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