Diplo, aka Thomas Wesley Pentz, started out as a school teacher in Philadelphia, now he's got girls around the world expressing themselves all over social media. Diplo is a man that does not like to rest. He jetsets the globe performing excellence on all the continents save for Antarctica. He make cameos in Hollywood blockbusters. He has his solo career going strong with his latest compilation album on the way (Random White Dude Be Everywhere July 29th). He has Major Lazer with two albums done and another coming up. Finally, let us not forget that Skrillex collaboration Jack U that is already kicking things up a notch. He has come so far, and evolved so much, but his beginnings were so strong, still hold up.
I experienced an all vinyl Diplo set when he opened for RJD2 in New Orleans back in 2005. I thought it was weird a DJ was mixing The Cure into a set, but then I paid closer attention to what he was doing, a lifelong fan was born right then and there. In celebration of all things Diplo, I'm going to give you my top Diplo favorites going all the way back to his Hooked on Hollertronix beginnings to the present revolution he has got going on.
1. "Hollertronix... Never Scared" Diplo & Lowbudget
First up is the mixtape from 2003 that Diplo & Lowbudget put together to sum up the sound of their Hooked on Hollertronix parties in Philadelphia. It sounds definitive Diplo, a mix of electro, baltimore club, crunk from the dirty south, 80's and hip hop. Also, this mixtape is all vinyl...
2. "Betty Davis Eyes (Diplo Remix)" Kim Carnes
The guy’s got an ear for amazing tunes. The guy’s got the production talent to rework pretty much whatever he wants for his own purposes. The guy’s got a unique sense of humor.
3. "Lovesong (Diplo Remix)" The Cure
This is the song that he dropped that got my attention way back when, at first I was rather hostile saying what does he think he is doing? I paused, I listened further, and I realized, oh… He knows exactly what he is doing. I want more… Been wanting more ever since.
4. "Express Yourself feat. Nicky Da B" Diplo, Mad Decent
The song that started the movement that swept instagram, inspiring drunk girls everywhere to express themselves from club walls to cop cars to national monuments. It’s truly a revolution...
5."Original Don feat The Partysquad" Major Lazer, Mad Decent
Oh man, did this song sweep the nation. It’s just so much party and so much strength. Anytime I hear it, I get ready to go buckwild. This song won me over to the power and potential that Major Lazer had. Yes I know Major Lazer isn't just Diplo, but you can't talk about Diplo and not talk about all those Major Lazer hits!
Question: How many people can rock a suit in a hamster ball?
6. "Revolution (Feat. Faustix & Imanos and Kai)" Diplo, Mad Decent
Is this a self referential song Diplo made about express yourself? One might argue yes if you look at the song’s artwork. In any event, Diplo brings out yet another amazing performance for a beautiful vocalist. He’s just got a way of bringing out the best in singers.
7."Paper Planes" M.I.A.
Now this tune, this tune right here is the one that arguably put both Diplo and M.I.A. on the map. Not only is it amazing in of itself, but it was the anthem of that Best Picture Slumdog Millionaire…
8."Look At Where We Are (Major Lazer Extended Remix)" Hot Chip, Mad Decent
I could not stop listening to this remix for about a month straight when it first came out. When your favorite worlds collide, it creates this amazing little in between planet where you take a look around, and by god it’s one hell of a world.
What a break up song. Such romantic tragedy, and Usher croons so sweetly. You know Diplo loves deeply, and by god, he clearly left a part of his heartbreak in this one right here.
10. "Cool It Down feat. Amber Coffman" Riff Raff, Mad Decent
One of the newer Diplo collaborations, it embodies everything about the man. His eye for talent, his ability to produce, and that beautiful touch of romance he imprints on everything he gets his hands on.
11. "Summer's Gonna Hurt You" Diplo, Mad Decent
I just couldn't help myself, I thought I was done writing the article and this song is too good to be left off...
12. "Into the Sun" Diplo
My favorite song off of his Florida album. It's psychedelic and far out, takes you on a journey, but the sexiest journey you'll ever go on.
13."Get Free Ft. Amber of Dirty Projectors" Major Lazer, Mad Decent
I am ending it with my all time favorite Diplo related song ever. This song is just so beautiful, soothing, and authentic.
I'll end with a personal anecdote. At the New Orleans show I went to, Diplo was just a regular musician like everyone else, selling his own merch at the end of the show. I was super amped up and really excited by his performance, my friends and I walked up to him. Since we had no idea who he was we asked which of his CDs we should buy. Mr. Pentz said, "Well, that's the old shit, this here is the new shit, that right there is the hot shit." We bought all three and the rest is history.
Pre-Order Random White Dude Be Everywhere, releases July 29!