Updated: Dec 13, 2021
One of the most famous DJs in the world, Diplo is a Los Angeles-based American DJ, songwriter, and record producer. Producing multiple songs with well-known artists like Justin Beiber, Rihanna, Usher, and Madonna. He also collaborated with other DJs like Major Lazer and Skrillex on a few of his projects.
Diplo is a creative soul with passions that extend well beyond any single cultural or musical world; he is a true artist of the twenty-first century. Diplo is an artist with multiple achievements and awards on his belt. He is an inspiration to young and growing artists all across the world.
Diplo founded and managed the record label Mad Decent, as well as the non-profit charity Heaps Decent. Revolution, his 2013 EP, reached number 68 on the US Billboard 200. The title tune from the EP was later used in a Hyundai ad and is included on the WWE 2K16 soundtrack.
Diplo began his career outside of dance music, becoming a chart-topping DJ, sought-after producer, taste-making label owner, and mastermind behind Major Lazer.
Diplo or Thomas Wesley Pentz was born on November 10, 1978. The influence of home-grown rap had a significant part in shaping his producing style. He spent most of his childhood in Miami, where he developed an appreciation for the distinctive Miami bass.
In 1997, he enrolled at the University of Central Florida. He was a random college DJ throwing parties with people like Bun B and Spank Rock during his college days.
After regularly bumping across fellow DJ Low Budget, the two began organizing parties under the Hooked on Hollertronix alias in 2003. As a method to keep control over what they could play on DJ engagements in Philadelphia.
With the popularity of these parties, the two were able to create soundtracks, alone and together, receiving acclaim around the country. Soon after, Diplo found himself in a legendary connection with M.I.A., making her landmark "Piracy Funds Terrorism" mixtape as well as the immortal underdog hymn "Paper Planes."
Later, he and fellow M.I.A. producer Switch teamed together to form Major Lazer, a Jamaican dancehall project and animated series. Diplo has collaborated on production and mixtape projects with a diverse range of pop singers, including Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Chris Brown, Ellie Goulding, Shakira, Gwen Stefani, Madonna, No Doubt, Usher, Trippie Redd, CL, G-Dragon, Bad Bunny, Snoop Dogg, Joji, Die Antwoord, M, and Poppy.
Projects and Collabs
Diplo has made multiple collaborations with different artists throughout his career. Here are a few of those collabs that help make Diplo the artist he is today.
After hearing one of his tracks, M.I.A. contacted Diplo as he was DJing one night at London's Fabric Club in 2004. As she entered the club, Diplo was playing her tracks "Galang" and "Fire Fire," which he had obtained from an i-D magazine employee.
Eventually, the two cooperated on a mixtape called Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol. 1. Arular track acapellas were mixed with tracks by different artists.
The New York Times and Pitchfork Media named it one of the "Albums of the Year." Following the release, the two continued to collaborate. On her 2005 Arular Tour, he was the tour DJ.
Diplo's first full-length collaboration with Switch was under the moniker of Major Lazer. Diplo blends inspirations as diverse as Miami Bass and Baile Funk into his high-tech eclecticism.
Before recording, Diplo and Switch went off to Jamaica to record a project that, like most of Diplo's previous ventures, would showcase little-known subgenres, this time of Jamaica's dancehall culture.
Many prominent Jamaican musicians, including Vybz Kartel, Elephant Man, and Ms. Thing, supported the two. The ensuing record Guns Don't Kill People... Nina Sky, Santigold, Ricky Blaze, Amanda Blank, and others contributed vocals to Lazers Do.
Diplo defined the dancehall sound as "the end of the universe, all the small influences. Oldies, house, soca, jazz, R&B—it all ends up in Jamaica." The song "Pon De Floor" from the album Guns Don't Kill People... Beyoncé's hit "Run the World (Girls)" included a sample from Lazers Do.
From then on, he has created multiple albums with different collaborations under the Major Lazer project. With over 800 million listens to date, “Lean On,” is Spotify's Most Streamed Song of All Time, was made under this project.
Skrillex and Diplo make up the American duo Jack Ü. On September 15, 2013, Jack Ü had his first appearance at the Mad Decent Block Party in San Diego. A nationwide tour organized by Mad Decent to promote various artists registered to the brand.
Diplo launched the project by announcing the Mad Decent Block Party roster, which included Jack Ü on numerous tour locations. After many people guessed who Jack Ü was, Diplo ultimately revealed that "Jack Ü... implies Skrillex and Diplo together."
Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü, a co-release between their respective companies OWSLA and Mad Decent, was released on February 27, 2015. This was the only album the duo released under Jack Ü but gained a lot of popularity.
Diplo’s career never made sense. From being a college DJ into a world-renowned artist, Diplo has made multiple collaborations and projects that helped him succeed throughout his career.
Nominations and Awards
Diplo has received multiple awards and nominations for numerous tracks that he’s made throughout his career.
In 2009, he received his first Grammy nomination for Record of the Year for "Paper Planes," which he co-wrote with M.I.A. and Switch. In 2012, he was nominated for a second Grammy Award for Best Rap Song for "Look at Me Now," which he co-wrote with Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, and Busta Rhymes.
Diplo was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Producer of the Year, Non-Classic in 2013 and 2016. In 2016, he was nominated for two Grammys: Best Dance/Electronic Album for Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü and Best Dance Recording for "Where Are Ü Now."
Diplo is one of the most successful DJs globally. He has made one studio album, one live album, several singles, five compilations, seven EPs, four mixtapes, music videos, and other appearances and more to come.