Diplo Shares The Thirteen Albums That Inspired Him
Anyone who's been on Facebook in the last week has probably noticed the latest viral trend going around. It involves listing the ten albums that made a lasting impression on you as a teenager, serving as an exercise in nostalgia for music lovers. Diplo got in on the fun over the weekend, going the extra mile by sharing thirteen albums that helped form the artist we know today.
Considering Diplo's penchant for connecting seemingly disparate styles and genres, it comes as no surprise to find an eclectic collection of records in his list. Touching on everything from rock to hip hop and electronic, the list serves as a blueprint to the Major Lazer frontman's musical foundation.
The producer, whose real name is Wesley Pentz, is well known for his love of hip hop and he offers up a few favorites in that category. Beastie Boys' boundary pushing album Ill Communication is highlighted, as well as Bone Thug-N-Harmony's chart topper E. 1999 Eternal, both of which are staples of 90's hip hop.
Trip hop gets some heavy representation as well, with Portishead's Dummy and Massive Attack's Protection both appearing. Both records were released in 1994 and helped to define the emerging Bristol sound, and it's easy to see how trip hop would form the basis for Diplo's marriage of electronic music and hip hop rhythms later on.
Diplo also lists DJ Shadow's legendary Entroducing, which was famously created almost entirely with samples from other records. Diplo sums this sentiment up nicely, stating "I wanted to be a producer once I heard this album and realized u can do anything with just some old records."
Diplo's love of all things Caribbean can be traced back to his fondness for dub, with Lee Perry's Return Of The Super Ape serving as an early influence. Listening
to the album, it's not hard to see how the delay dripped reggae grooves
would go on to inspire Major Lazer's brand of electrified dancehall.
The list dabbles in rock as well with titles like Weezer's Blue Album and Radiohead's experimental outing Kid A, while New Order's 1987 compilation album Substance gets a nod as well, specifically their classic song "Bizarre Love Triangle." While rock isn't a genre that would usually be associated with Diplo, his ability to keep up with and borrow from all things musical is a strength that's kept his career going over the years.
Across the thirteen albums listed, Pentz covers a wide array of sounds and styles, while touching on a number of the best records released in the mid nineties. With Diplo it all boils down to a matter of taste, and his selections shine a light on how he's managed to traverse electronic music, dancehall, hip hop and pop with such ease. Whether you're hoping to map the producer's influences or just looking for some good tunes, Diplo's list is required reading (and listening).
You can check out Diplo's full post below.
Connor Jones is a writer and music fan based in Portland, Oregon.