ARTIST

Diplo

A superstar DJ, sought-after producer, taste-making label owner, and wizard behind Major Lazer, Diplo (aka Diplodocus, Wes Diplo, and Wes Gully) launched his career on the fringes of dance music. With his mash-up mixtapes, he found and created a sound where his musical tastes -- '80s pop, electronica, Dirty South hip-hop, and his major influence, Miami bass music -- intersect. His attention-grabbing projects Hollertronix, with partner DJ Low Budget, and the Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1 mixtape, with elusive British-Sri Lankan MC M.I.A., made a heavy impact on the alternative electro-pop scene, amassing him rave reviews from music critics and indie kids alike, including Spin magazine, which named him DJ of the Year in 2005. Later, his Mad Decent imprint presented the edge of pop, hip-hop, and dance music while his conceptual Major Lazer project mixed dancehall with rave culture and toured the globe as a live party sound system. Diplo was born Thomas Wesley Pentz in Tupelo, Mississippi. Although he lived in a few different cities in the South, he mainly grew up in South Florida. He spent his youth in his father's bait shop, fixated on manatees, alligators, and dinosaurs with hopes of becoming a paleontologist. However, he wound up pursuing an education in film studies, starting at a couple Florida colleges but then finishing up his undergraduate degree in Philadelphia at Temple University in 2003. Before his move to Philadelphia, Pentz had moved temporarily to Japan to escape daily life in America. From Japan, he sent a demo tape of his beat concoctions to Will Ashon, founder of U.K. independent hip-hop label Big Dada Records, and once signed to the label, he relocated to Philadelphia. To support himself, during and after graduating from Temple, Pentz took on a few different jobs in Philadelphia: social worker, after-school mentor, movie theater employee, and gig-by-gig DJ. He was barely able to pay the rent, and the frustration was stunting his musical development (although he does credit one of his musical epiphanies to the after-school students who exposed him to crunk and Baltimore club music). Thus, Diplo and like-minded DJ Low Budget pooled their resources to start up their own club nights in Philadelphia, which they branded Hollertronix. It simply began as a fun night of genre-warping dance music, but it blossomed into an underground subculture drawing out crowds from all over the East Coast. Under the Hollertronix moniker, Diplo and Budget released the highly praised Never Scared mixtape; it was listed as one of the New York Times' top albums of 2003. The following year, Big Dada released Diplo's solo debut album, Florida, a more downtempo piece focusing on melody and instrumentals that was a departure from the melee of mashed-up vocals and beats. His unrelenting work ethic produced a considerable number of acclaimed mix CDs and 12" records; however, none of them accumulated more interest and Internet chatter than the 2004 Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1 mixtape that introduced M.I.A. outside of U.K. borders. Developing a yearning to produce more worldly music, he also began to throw his energy behind the Brazilian youth- and street-based music known as funk carioca (also referred to as baile funk), a derivation of Miami bass music. So, it was no surprise that when he established his own label, Mad Decent Records, around 2005, his first signee was the funk carioca group Bondo do Role. In 2009, the label signed a distribution deal with Fontana and Downtown Records. Their first collaborative release was by Major Lazer, a fictional Jamaican bounty hunter that was the brainchild of Diplo and DJ Switch. Major Lazer's debut album, Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do, appeared in 2009, the same year as the Diplo remix collection Decent Work for Decent Pay: Selected Works, Vol. 1. In 2010, Mad Decent began their Blow Your Head compilation series with the unmixed collection Blow Your Head: Diplo Presents Dubstep. Mix CDs (the reggae-filled 2011 release Riddimentary), EPs (2012's Express Yourself and 2013's Revolution), a Major Lazer album (2013's Free the Universe), and production work for others (including Alex Care's "Too Close" and Usher's "Climax") took Diplo to 2014 and that year's aptly titled compilation Random White Dude Be Everywhere. Filled with recent tracks, the set found the producer favoring the trap music style, the style heard on Baauer's hit single "Harlem Shake," which itself was a Mad Decent release. In 2015, he co-produced multiple tracks on Madonna's release Rebel Heart, and worked with Skrillex on the album Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack U. Major Lazer's LP Peace Is the Mission also landed that year.

Thomas Wesley Pentz (born November 10, 1978), better known by his stage name Diplo, is an American DJ, record producer, and songwriter based in Los Angeles, California. He founded and manages record company Mad Decent, as well as co-founding the non-profit organization Heaps Decent. Among other jobs, he has worked as a school teacher in Philadelphia. He is also the co-creator and lead member of the electronic dancehall music project, Major Lazer. His 2013 EP Revolution debuted at number 68 on the US Billboard 200. The song was later featured in a commercial for Hyundai and is featured on the WWE 2K16 soundtrack.nDuring his rise to fame, Diplo worked with British musician M.I.A., an artist who is credited with giving him exposure in his early career. Later, he and fellow M.I.A. producer Switch created a Jamaican dancehall project and cartoon series titled Major Lazer. Since then, Diplo has worked on production and mixtape projects with many other notable pop artists, such as Die Antwoord, Britney Spears, Madonna, Shakira, Beyonc, No Doubt, Justin Bieber, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, CL and G-Dragon. His alias, short for Diplodocus, derives from his childhood fascination with dinosaurs. He is the co-producer of several tracks on Madonna's 2015 album Rebel Heart and he collaborated with Skrillex to create the duo Jack .nAs an artist, Diplo, combined with his other collaborations Major Lazer and Jack , had the most number of Shazams in 2015.

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Where Are Ü Now LIVE (with Justin Bieber)

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DIPLO LATEST MUSIC NEWS

  • 29 Aug
    NEW

    Skrillex Hints at 'Long' Jack U Festival Hiatus in Deleted Tweet

    Skrillex celebrated the final stop of his tour with Diplo by tweeting yesterday (Aug. 28) that it would be “a long, long time” before Jack U graced a festival lineup again. The tweet, since deleted, read...

  • 18 Aug
    NEW

    Hear Diplo's Remix of M.I.A.'s 'Bird Song'

    The dream team is back, and it is fuego.M.I.A. took to Twitter to cry foul when Interscope wouldn't clear Diplo's remix of the Blaqstarr-produced “Bird Song” for release, and her gambit appears to have...

  • 15 Aug
    NEW

    Diplo and Friends: Meet the Team Behind the Producer's Success

    The emergence of Thomas Wesley Pentz – who records under the name Diplo – as a pop juggernaut was one of 2015's biggest stories. His trio, Major Lazer, released "Lean On," which amiably smashed Spotify...

  • 12 Aug
    NEW

    Major Lazer Remixes: Listen to 7 Best Right Now

    Major Lazer is one interesting beast. When the group first emerged, people knew it was Diplo and Switch and some wonderful cartoon soldier with a laser for an arm. Then they enlisted daggering dance genius Skerrit...

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