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Steven Knopper

Diplo likes to bite the EDM hand that feeds him


"Yeah, the EDM winter is here, and the White Walkers are coming to eat you." - Diplo
This article originally appeared on Chicago Tribune

It wasn't long ago that rapper M.I.A. and producer Diplo made electrifying hip-hop together — influential singles like "Bucky Done Gun," "Paper Planes" and "Tell Me Why" came out of their collaboration. Then they split up, creatively and romantically, leaving an ugly aftermath of insults, apologies and denied apologies. And they hadn't worked together since — until one night in June, when M.I.A. dropped by Diplo's set with his popular dance band, Major Lazer, at the Parklife music festival in Manchester, England.

You know, we always talk, since 15 years ago. We're always in communication. Never really that dramatic of a situation," says Diplo, born Thomas Wesley Pentz, who has produced and worked with megastars such as Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Usher and Madonna. "We're pretty much both adults. We have the same attitude since we first started."

"Bird Song," the first M.I.A.-Diplo track since 2010, came together after another artist at the Parklife festival made off with a car earmarked for Major Lazer. "We just sat in the parking lot of the festival until about 2 in the morning," Diplo says. "We only had enough power for two hours. We did as much work as we could do until our computer died.

"It was very much M.I.A.-style — record in the parking lot, and I have to mix it for two weeks," continues the 37-year-old producer, by phone from Burbank, Calif. "And there's not enough vocals for the song, and the day before masters, she records four lines and sends it to me. It was done very much in her style: complete chaos."

Born in Tupelo, Miss., raised in South Florida, Diplo was once most famous for his groundbreaking work with M.I.A. — dance music that had the blunt political force of the Clash, sometimes with gunshots built into the chorus. But over the past 10 years, the producer has expanded to a diverse roster of high-profile projects, all built on his aesthetic of mixing Jamaican dance-hall reggae, Brazilian baile funk and other funky worldwide influences into booming party beats.


Read the full story by Steven Knopper at the Chicago Tribune

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