Khaled Ahmed is a Lyft driver, ambassador, and fervent community member, though he is better known throughout the country as Khaled M, recording political rap artist. Khaled spends a bunch of time touring, either to perform at shows or screen his documentary on hip hop as a form of witness. When he’s back in Chicago with a bit of downtime, he drives with Lyft.
“It was never my intention to be a political rapper”
Khaled grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, but moved to Chicago to pursue his hip hop career. He explained that being a political rap artist was actually never his intention—he grew up listening to Tupac and Nas and rapping about girls—but as a U.S. born Libyan-American, he felt compelled to write a song when the protests in Libya turned into Civil War. His biggest hit “Can’t Take Our Freedom,” got 50,000 plays on YouTube its first week. He credits the hip hop genre with allowing his voice to be heard on such a sensitive issue; “Hip hop is the ideal musical avenue to inform those who may normally not be in tune with an issue.” When asked if he feels proud about the work he’s doing, he replies simply, “It’s beautiful.”
“Lyft enabled me to make use of my downtime”
Living in Chicago but spending a lot of time on the road touring, Khaled was eager to find something flexible. About two years ago, he signed up to drive with Lyft. “Lyft enabled me to make use of any downtime I had while in town and provided a fun outlet to supplement my earnings.” When asked what a normal day looks like for him, Khaled answered, “I’m still trying to get to the place where I have these.”
“Driving allows me to feel the pulse of the city”
Money and flexibility may have initially put Khaled in the driver’s seat, but community has kept him there. He calls driving a “real-life version of ‘Humans of Chicago,” where you have these incredible conversations with people you would never normally meet. “My passengers and I have sung, laughed, cried, debated, and shared remarkable tales together.” Driving is also an excuse to explore parts of the city he wouldn’t normally visit. He loves exchanging recommendations on food and entertainment, so he can really get a feel for different neighborhoods.
“Life isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey”
Khaled doesn’t consider material goals or accomplishments when thinking about his future. He more so wants to take it all in, to continue to learn and grow and meet new people. “I hope that I am always perpetually in a state of self-growth, and that I am constantly improving the lives of those around me. I’m a true believer that life isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey.”