DJ Snake

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DJ Snake
DJ Snake.jpg
DJ Snake
Background information
Birth name William Sami Etienne Grigahcine
Born (1986-06-13) June 13, 1986 (age 29)
Paris, France
  • DJ
  • producer
  • rapper
Years active 2009–present
Associated acts

William Sami Etienne Grigahcine, (better known by his stage name DJ Snake), is a French DJ, rapper and producer of Algerian descent who mixes rap and electronic dance music.[1][2][3][4][5]

DJ Snake is a Grammy-nominated producer and artist who debuted into the international scene with singles "Bird Machine" and "Turn Down for What" in 2013.[1][6][7] "Bird Machine" is a collaboration with fellow French act Alesia. The single was picked up by Mad Decent, a Los Angeles-based record label run by Diplo, and released in February 2013. In June 2013, DJ Snake was invited by Diplo to do a live mix on his radio show, "Diplo & Friends", which airs on BBC Radio 1.[8]

DJ Snake was announced to be working on a collaboration with Diplo, originally slated to debut in 2014; it eventually released in 2015 as the single "Lean On" in collaboration with and Diplo's Major Lazer.[9][10][11] On April 30, 2014, DJ Snake was labeled as an "Artist to Watch" by FoxWeekly.[12] He and Dillon Francis were announced as alternating supporting artists for the summer Mothership Tour 2014 with Skrillex.[13]

Early life[edit]

DJ Snake was born on June 13, 1986 and grew up in the banlieue district outside Paris, what he describes as a ghetto.[14] He cites French film La Haine as well as hip-hop artists KRS-One and Cypress Hill as early influences. In his youth, DJ Snake produced graffiti art, earning him the moniker "Snake" because he was able to consistently evade the police. Of his name, DJ Snake says “When I started DJing, because everyone called me ‘Snake’ in my city first, I was like ‘DJ Snake, OK let’s go for it.’ The name sucks, but it’s too late now.”[14] In his early career, DJ Snake performed at clubs including Les Bains Douches in Paris. In 2005, he met his manager Steve Goncalves, who encouraged DJ Snake to begin creating his own music.[14]


In 2011, DJ Snake produced for Lady Gaga’s album Born This Way. This earned him a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year in February 2012.[15] DJ Snake was co-producer for the song "Government Hooker", which was voted best song by Lady Gaga fans after the release of the album.[16] This song was supposed to be released as a single before Interscope Records decided to stop the marketing of the album after its release. He remixed Kanye West's "New Slaves", AlunaGeorge's "You Know You Like It", Duck Sauce’s "It's You" and Major Lazer's "Bubble Butt".[17][18][19][20] Junior Senior sampled Michael Jackson for their track "Move Your Feet". DJ Snake remixed the song in 2013.[21] In 2013, DJ Snake produced three songs with Paul "DJ White Shadow" Blair on Lady Gaga’s album ARTPOP including "Applause", "Sexxx Dreams", and "Do What U Want".[22][23][24]

DJ Snake and Dillon Francis were alternating supporting artists on the Mothership Tour 2014 with Skrillex.[13] He performed at the 2015 Coachella Music Festival with guest appearances by AlunaGeorge and , who did vocals on "Lean On" with Major Lazer. "Lean On" and DJ Snake's remix of AlunaGeorge's "You Know You Like It" were both top 10 Shazamed songs from Coachella 2015.[25][26]

In October 2015, DJ Snake and fellow electronic producer Tchami were injured in a car crash, causing them both to miss a scheduled stop at Toronto's Monster Mash festival.[27] In January 2016, Forbes named him one of their "30 Under 30 In Music" for the year.[28]

"Turn Down for What"[edit]

Main article: Turn Down for What

In December 2013, "Turn Down for What" was released on Columbia Records.[29] The song was featured in a commercial for the Sol Republic DECK, a wireless speaker, which aired in October 2013.[30] "Turn Down for What" entered the top ten of the Billboard Dance/Electronic chart during the last week of December.[31] In January 2014, the single entered the top 5 on the Dance/Electronic chart and debuted No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100.[32] The song was certified gold in February 2014 and platinum in March 2014.[33][34] The song reached the top ten of the Hot 100 in April 2014.[35]

The music video for the single was released in March 2014.[36] "Turn Down for What" was nominated for MTV Video Music Awards for Best Direction, Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, and the MTV Clubland Award.[37]

"Get Low"[edit]

Main article: Get Low

In February 2014, DJ Snake and Dillon Francis released "Get Low" on their official SoundCloud and YouTube pages.

Both "Get Low" and "Turn Down for What" were featured on the Furious 7 motion picture soundtrack. Along with the exposure gained from commercials for Dodge and Taco Bell featuring the song, the inclusion of "Get Low" on the soundtrack helped the song re-enter the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic chart while DJ Snake re-entered the Billboard Artist 100.[38]

"You Know You Like It"[edit]

Main article: You Know You Like It

In December 2014, DJ Snake's remix of the AlunaGeorge song "You Know You Like It" was released on Island Records.[39] "You Know You Like It" reached number one on Billboard's Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart and Rhythmic Songs chart in June 2015.[40][41] It peaked at 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.[42] The same month, the Associated Press listed the remix as the 8th most streamed track on Spotify in the United States.[43] In November 2015, the song received RIAA double-platinum certification.[44]

For the remix, DJ Snake used a fusion of European dance music and hip hop beats. It took him about four hours to write. The collaboration was done via the Internet, with the vocals emailed to DJ Snake, who worked in Paris.[45]

"Lean On"[edit]

Main article: Lean On

In March 2015 "Lean On", DJ Snake's collaborative track with Major Lazer featuring , was released on Mad Decent.[46] It made it on Billboard's Rhythmic Songs,[47] Mainstream Top 40,[48] Latin Pop Songs,[49] Dance Club Songs,[50] Hot Dance/Electric Songs[51] and Adult Top 40[52] charts. It peaked at 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.[53] In June, Time Magazine named it one of the "Best Songs of 2015 So Far"[54] In September 2015, "Lean On" was named Spotify's global song of the summer. In November 2015, the song surpassed 526 million Sportify plays, making it the service's most streamed song ever.[55]

The video for "Lean On" was released in March 2015.[56] It was shot in India and directed by Tim Erem.[57] Amplify magazine named "Lean On" one of "The Best Videos of 2015".[58] In January 2016, the "Lean On" video reached 1 billion views on YouTube.[59][60]


As lead artist[edit]

List of singles as lead artist, with selected chart positions and certifications, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album


"Turn Down for What"
(with Lil Jon)
2013 19 13 35 18 11 31 23 23 4 1 Non-album single
"Get Low"
(with Dillon Francis)
2014 93 44 55 58 48 79 88 61 5 Money Sucks, Friends Rule
"You Know You Like It"
(with AlunaGeorge)
22 11 37 19 21 27 23 67 13 2 TBA
"Lean On"
(with Major Lazer featuring )
2015 2 1 3 2 4 4 1 2 4 1 Peace Is the Mission
(featuring Bipolar Sunshine)[83]
12 5 59 79 10
  • ARIA: Platinum[84]
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Year Title Artist(s)
2013 "Humain à L'eau" Stromae
"Stay the Night" Zedd featuring Hayley Williams
"New Slaves"[20] Kanye West
"You Know You Like It"[18] AlunaGeorge
"It’s You"[19] Duck Sauce
"Move Your Feet"[21] Junior Senior
"Bubble Butt"[85] Major Lazer featuring Bruno Mars, 2 Chainz, Tyga and Mystic
2014 "Dirty Vibe" Skrillex and Diplo featuring G-Dragon and CL
2015 "How Deep Is Your Love" Calvin Harris & Disciples

Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Category Result
2012 Born This Way (as producer) Album of the Year Nominated
2015 "Turn Down for What" (with Lil Jon) Best Music Video Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
2014 "Turn Down for What" (with Lil Jon) MTV Clubland Award Nominated
Best Direction Won
Best Visual Effects Nominated
Best Art Direction Nominated

Teen Choice Awards[edit]

Year Nominated artist and works Award Result
2014 "Turn Down for What" (with Lil Jon) Choice Music: R&B/Hip-Hop Song Nominated

Billboard Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2015 "Turn Down for What" (with Lil Jon) Top Dance/Electronic Song Won


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External links[edit]