Converse has a thing for musical collaborations and mashups. Many of their shoes are based on famous albums and artwork, and they’ve become well-known in recent years for their expanding Rubber Tracks recording project, which in many cases makes creative pairings of artists and producers. So it should come as no surprise that they’re once again geared up for this year’s SXSW, releasing a new collaboration from Frank Ocean, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Diplo. The collaboration comes as part of Converse’s new Three Artists One Song series, and while this is technically four artists, one song, we’re guessing that Simonon and Jones are being counted as one for their time in The Clash. There’s even a few special guests on this one, courtesy of the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir. You can check out the new song, dubbed “Hero,” below. (more…)
“Earthquake” is the kind of track that stands out from the rest of EDM like the redheaded stepchild in a family portrait. It’s intoxicating, hypnotizing, and completely alien in comparison to everything you have likely heard – yet you cannot walk away from its almost surreal appeal. The track will debut for sale somewhere over the Summe, but for now you can click here and stream it in all its glory.
Diplo has been making a lot of headlines for his hilariously negative thoughts on the new Daft Punk album. Click here to read a collection of his best tweets.
It’s not secret EDM has become a mainstay in pop culture. From radio, to movies and television, the increased presence of electronica music cannot be denied. You could develop dozens of reasons behind why this is, but the simplest fact is that people truly love EDM. If that applies to you, Wavefront 2013 is going to blow your mind. From headliners like Diplo and Justice, to smaller acts like DJ 3LAU, attendees to Wavefront will experience 3 full days of in your face electro-subgenres that is good enough to compete with any major fest nationwide.
“We are really trying to be innovators and trendsetters and touch all different sounds of electronic music,” says Brandon Carone, principal/producer of Wavefront and 4 Headed Productions while speaking with Billboard. “Our goal is to become one of the only festivals that doesn’t just focus on one electronic dance music genre, but hits it on the head, touching all EDM sound elements.” (more…)
Yes, the song that swept YouTube in 2012 and reached over 1 billion views has finally been given the remix treatment (in the third month of 2013). To sweeten the pot, Diplo recruits 2 Chainz and Tyga to lay down a pair of verses on top of his redux, but it’s hard to tell if that will be enough to make people care about the song once more. You can stream the official “Gangnam Style” remix below. (more…)
We are all connected. Our generation’s need for information has bred a certain hyper awareness, an insatiable desire for instant information coupled with a distaste for gatekeepers. The mindset of today’s youth is something along the lines of, “Get out of my way, geezer. I’m doing 80 in the fast lane of the information superhighway.”
Do people still call it the information superhighway?
News of album announcements come by way of Google+ Hangouts. Twitter has replaced wire services as the means by which artists relay information to their fans and to the media. After all, who better to promote you than you? And Instagram functions in much the same way. The service has gone from hipster novelty to smart phone ubiquity. It has been adopted by celebrities, musicians, even Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei. But who should you be following on Instagram? Well fear not, dear reader! We know the best accounts to follow.
The Doggfather, born Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. is changing things up a bit with his 11th album, Reincarnated, to be released through Vice and Mad Decent some time later this year. The album title is fitting: Pitchfork is reporting that Reincarnated will consist entirely of reggae music, a first for the rapper. Broadus is even going under a different moniker for the occasion as he is recording, releasing, and performing his reggae material as Snoop Lion. Finally, stereotypical stoners everywhere will no longer be forced to choose between listening to their beloved reggae music or their beloved Snoop.
It’s unclear what inspired the rapper to wade into the world of reggae. The move is reminiscent of Nas and Damien Marley’s 2010 collaborative effort Distant Relatives. The first single to emerge from the album, “La La La,” sees Snoop acclimating himself admirably to the stylistic conventions of reggae, delivering his verses with a Jamaican inflection. One assumes that the rest of the record will be as bouncy and insistent as this first cut here, given the deft hand that producer Diplo (credited with his Major Lazer moniker here) almost certainly lent to the proceedings. While a tour has not yet been formally announced, the likelihood that you’ll be able to see Snoop Lion in action is high (snicker). The rapper cum reggae-ist will be performing with backing band The Jungle at Caribana 2012 in Toronto on Friday, August 3rd and it’s safe to assume that a full tour is in the works. A formal release date for the record has not yet been set.
Also, did you see the album art? That image is guaranteed to hang in the common areas of countless college dorms for years to come.
Check out “La La La” below.
Indeed, the Full Flex Express Tour is set to take the great white north by storm over the next few days. The six date run is going to hit every major market in Canada, starting in Toronto and wrapping up in Vancouver. The lineup, consisting of Skrillex, Diplo, Pretty Lights, Grimes, Tokimonsta, KOAN Sound, and Hundred Waters, is a stacked mix of the best and weirdest that the EDM scene has to offer. We even came across a computer generated simulation of what the tour will likely sound like.
But the whole train thing? What inspired this ragtag collection of DJs and producers (and Grimes) to traverse the great white north via locomotive?
It wouldn’t be fair to say that the 33-year-old Florida native Diplo, real name Thomas Westley Pentz, has defined the cultural zeitgeist. Which is too bad, because what a fun zeitgeist it would be if he did. A butt-shaking, lame-shaming, all-inclusive zeitgeist. But it’s looking like Diplo’s contributions to the world of music might reach a qualitative and quantitative peak in 2012.
Diplo is our generation’s closest parallel to David Bowie. Both took disparate sounds and styles and made them their own. Both Bowie and Pentz exist with one foot planted in the commercial world and the other in a more experimental realm. Bowie had a bit of an advantage in his day though as it was far easier to be a total freak and still sell records. Both are also pretty skinny. And both are shameless self-promoters, performers that are completely in control of their image and branding. If this sounds like hero worship, it’s because it is.
Diplo has had a busy year so far and it doesn’t look like his schedule is going to be clearing up any time soon. He’s probably the hardest working man in show business at the moment. There’s Diplo the CEO/master chief of Mad Decent”an imprint with an active artist roster including the likes of Rusko, Riff Raff SODMG, and Zeds Dead, and the label responsible for introducing disparate dance genres like baile funk and moombahaton to North American audiences. Then there’s Diplo the producer. Pentz first hit big in 2007 with Paper Planes, the single that propelled Sri Lankan rapper (and former love interest) M.I.A. into the national spotlight. Diplo hit the ground running with that release and hasn’t slowed down since.
But the flurry of activity that Pentz has been involved in for the past few months has truly been dizzying. Pentz seems to move at the speed of broadband. Hints and glimpses into his life can be gleaned from Twitter feeds and soundbites from blog posts, but the average RSS feed can’t keep up. In the first half of 2012, Diplo has been attached to Usher (‘Climax’), the comeback record for No Doubt (working alongside Switch, his cohort in Major Lazer), Snoop Dogg, Azealia Banks, and Sleigh Bells, amongst others. In the midst of all this work, he still managed to plan a tour via train with Pretty Lights and Skrillex and release a new EP, Express Yourself, in June. And is that wasn’t enough, the world traveler”who is known to tweet pics of panoramas from the tops of Mayan temples and rachets riding dinosaurs under champagne waterfalls in Las Vegas”has a side gig as a spokesperson for Blackberry.
But has Diplo peaked? For an artist so thoroughly ingratiated with the underground its impressive how deeply he’s infiltrated the mainstream. While there is no limit anymore to how popular a producer can become at this point”Skrillex popularized a hairstyle and Calvin Harris parlayed modest clout in the UK into stateside (charting Top 40 hits with Rihanna and Ne-Yo)”no one else can boast equal amounts of love from the underground and from the corporate world. Except for Deadmau5, and he can be a bit cranky.
Maintaining credibility is one thing. But, more importantly, how can Thomas Wesley Pentz possibly keep up this pace? ? It’s a mystery. Maybe he has a twin brother who he sends to events in his place. Or maybe its because Diplo is one of the most down-to-earth figures in EDM, hip-hop, or pop. He’ll work with ANYBODY, doesn’t matter if you’re a legacy artist or a young bisexual teen from Harlem who can’t stop swearing. Not only that but Diplo’s sound, a synthesis of cultures and touchstones across hemispheres is uniquely his own and defiantly populist at the same time. The New York Times wasn’t far off when they called him a translator and an intermediary. But that implies more delivery then generation. Diplo is re-contextualizing and composing mini banger masterpieces. Who knew that a lanky, gawky, country bumpkin from Florida would become one of the most vital and engaging voices in music today?
It’s hard to talk about legacies in real time, especially in the digital age we live in. The flurry of activity that people find themselves in every day can leave you rattled and addled. But if Diplo manages to maintain the batting average in the last six months of 2012 that he was able to in the first six months, then he’ll establish a nice place in music industry for himself. Ironic how his percolating, stuttering beats might cement him a place in history. Until then, you can check out the slightly NSFW video for “Express Yourself” below. And put your back into it.
Following her successful set at Coachella last weekend, reports state that rapper Azealia Banks will now be represented by Lady Gaga‘s manager, Troy Carter. She has also recently signed a deal with Universal Music, paving a bright future for the young Harlem native.
Banks rose to success following the release of her song “212,” which has received over ten million views on YouTube. The rapper has also worked with the likes of DJ Diplo and producer Richard Russell, and was previously signed to indie label XL Recordings. Banks’ debut album Broke With Expensive Taste is set for release September of this year.