Diplo plays well with others
February 5, 2009 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Diplo (Wesly Pentz) has a short interview/bio on The Guardian, including a guide to his best collaborations, spanning from Never Scared as Hollertronix (Diplo + Low Budget), to M.I.A.'s mixtape "Piracy Funds Terrorism" (it's true!), up to his forthcoming work with Switch as Major Lazer. But Diplo doesn't just spend his time with recording artists. He's sharing his style-mixing skills with kids in Australia, while a friend of his does the same in India....

The full list:
1. Hollertronix - Never Scared (2003) (sample track)

2. Blaqstarr - Supastarr (2007) from the Superstarr EP

3. MIA vs Diplo - Piracy Funds Terrorism mixtape (2004)

4. MIA - Paper Planes (2007) - from the album Kala

5. Kano - Reload It (2005) - from the album Home Sweet Home

6. Buraka Som Sistema - Sound Of Kuduro feat. Znobia, M.I.A., Puto Prata, Saborosa (2008) - from the album Black Diamond

7. Bonde Do Role - Solta O Frango (2008) - from the album With Lasers

8. Diplo & Santogold - Top Ranking: A Diplo Dub (2008) (sample track)

9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Gold Lion remix (2006)

10. Diplo & Switch - Major Lazer (2009) - forthcoming album

Switch was hanging out with Andy Milonakis on Andy's birthday, covering this epic Fela Kuti & Africa 70 track. Apparently there were supposed to be effects, but "Diplo kutcher punk'd me! It's supposed to be manipulated to make it sound all alienweirdness, i obviously can't sing haha." - AMilonakis

Diplo released one album, Florida (title track video), but has spent most of his time since that as a globe-trotting producer. Along with his label Mad Decent, he started Heaps Decent, which was initially an Australian initiative to that "intends to seek out young indigenous and underprivileged artists and change Australian club music forever." Diplo and crew make the beats, and the kids sing. The first track was Smash a Kangaroo. The second was Koori Girls. Now Mad Decent chappie Paul Devro is working with Bappi Lahiri (IMDB) to extend extend Heaps Decent to India, which got noticed by local reporters.
posted by filthy light thief (16 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Great post! I love Diplo since I discovering his "Top Ranking" mixtape. Several weeks (months?) later I came across the most amazing remix of Don Armando's I'm An Indian Too, itself a cool cover. You can hear it here, when Diplo, Switch and MIA take over Radio 1 (see MIA is an Indian, get it?). The song comes on around the 27 minute mark.

Best of all I can play Diplo/Switch at parties and everyone loves it, even the most tune deaf Trixies, aka tune deaf Midwestern sorority girls. This is a more amazing feat than you realize, bridging the stereogum hipsters with NESCAC girls is a long-standing dream of mine. I consider Diplo the musical equivalent to Henry Kissinger, let's hope the Major Lazer release holds up.
posted by geoff. at 8:26 AM on February 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

this is Spam.
Diplo is over-rated
posted by mary8nne at 8:29 AM on February 5, 2009

well, you're spam. and you're over-rated.
posted by geoff. at 8:31 AM on February 5, 2009

There seems to be a Diplo backlash on the music critical internets lately. I don't care, Diplo rocks. Thanks for the post.
posted by ejoey at 8:33 AM on February 5, 2009

Diplo helped turn me into a curmedgeon. For that I thank him endlessly.
posted by mkb at 8:46 AM on February 5, 2009

Nice post. I've been a fan ever since I heard Pop on Chappelle's Show.
posted by carsonb at 9:13 AM on February 5, 2009

I invited Kissinger to one of my parties, and it was a disaster. The sorority girls didn't know who he was, and the hipsters just kept talking about war crimes. Then he dropped his glasses in the toilet.
posted by box at 9:15 AM on February 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'm not very good at keeping up with trends, blogs and critics, but I think this is a well-rounded post. TBH, the first article that started it all of seems like hype for his new rarities compilation, which I left out of the initial post.

For all the (apparent) anti/hype around the guy, his website/blog is surprisingly quiet in terms of comments. Here's a post about Major Laser, wherein kids who recognize Diplo really like what they heard. Total comments: 4. I was figuring that people know of him, but don't really follow his work. He really made it big with the M.I.A. "Piracy" mixtape, and now he's big with Paper Planes and Santo Gold, but no one seems to bother his website. I don't think posts are deleted, but I could be wrong.

If you haven't guessed, I'm something of fanboy. I saw him at a Ninja Tune showcase back in 2002 or something, before his album was out. I liked his stuff, and bought what was for sale. I really liked the album, back when he was compared to DJ Shadow (you know, instrumental hip-hop for listening pleasure, not for MCs to use as beats). I like his diversity of projects, and I think his whole Heaps Decent thing is pretty keen (even if I'm not really into the tracks produced so far). The Indian extension sounds interesting, as Bappi is looking to make an album with the kids.

Addendum: for more Diplo production in a different field, check the Fear & Loathing In Hunts Vegas mixtape. It's a weird mash-up of Underworld, Enya, Orbital, The Monkees, Weezer (and more) as the beats and loops behind Huntsville, Alabama-based rappers. Seems it was promised for a long time, but I missed all the build-up hype. Kinda fun, if you're into weird juxtapositions.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:44 AM on February 5, 2009

So yeah, I've just been getting into Diplo, I had no idea he's been doing....this. I've just been listening to his remix of Spank Rock's Put that Pussy On Me and tapping my foot innocently.

posted by hellojed at 10:03 AM on February 5, 2009

yay! I <3 diplo!
posted by lunit at 1:13 PM on February 5, 2009

Guys, there's a new album out. I think it costs $10.
posted by basicchannel at 2:47 PM on February 5, 2009

lovely post. Thanks for this!
posted by MrMerlot at 3:42 PM on February 5, 2009

basicchannel - his newest work is Decent Work for Decent Pay and it's a compilation - MSRP $16.98. On re-review of the tracklist, the vast majority of the tracks are collaborations of sorts, usually remixed or produced, plus a few unreleased gems that are possibly Diplo by himself. Though the Daft Punk remix is omitted from the retail copies, you might be able to get it on iTunes as part of Live Sessions EP, or on the Hollertronix #7 record.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:55 PM on February 5, 2009

bridging the stereogum hipsters with NESCAC girls is a long-standing dream of mine

I think that gap is thinner than it seems. You'd be surprised about how many pop hits the hipsters enjoy "ironically" or "sarcastically."
posted by filthy light thief at 5:03 PM on February 5, 2009

Terrific stuff, thanks for gathering all the youtube links, HD no less. He sounds a little full of himself in the interview, but what are you gonna do?
posted by Edgewise at 8:04 PM on February 5, 2009

damn i forgot how much good stuff he's done. nice post
posted by jcruelty at 7:46 PM on February 6, 2009

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