Billboard released its annual list of Power DJs today, naming superstar producer Diplo as the “Dance Artist of the Year.” Following a few massive releases over the past year with hits like Major Lazer’s “Lean On” and Jack Ü’s “Where Are Ü Now?” with Justin Bieber, it’s no surprise to see the producer take home the accolade.
As a result, Diplo became the subject of a comprehensive interview where he offered up insight into the monster he helped create, commenting on the trappings of DJ culture. Diplo, whose real name is Wesley Pentz, is known for a certain lack of tact when it comes to quotes, and in the interview he spilled some harsh words for the EDM scene.
"The DJ world is the corniest f--ing group of people. We're not celebrities, we're not famous for any good reason. We're just ... really lame. Besides people like Dillon Francis, who makes fun of the whole thing, or Calvin Harris, it's a sinking ship. It's a really lame culture. I'm sad that I'm part of it, but I play the game."
With how much growth we’ve seen in the industry over the last few years, it’s easy to see where Pentz is coming from. There are plenty of mainstream DJs who are in it for all the wrong reasons, and any fan of dance music can quickly name a artists undeserving of their status within the community. That being said, all one has to do is read a few comment sections on the major blogs to get the sense that a number of fans would lump Diplo in with that group.
Pentz’ role as one of the leaders of the culture he’s lambasting in the interview undermines the truth in his statement while painting him in a hypocritical light. Any meaningful commentary on issues facing the dance music community are devalued when weighed against his penchant to capitalize on the scene to his own benefit. While any movement should look towards its leaders for guidance, one can’t help but feel Diplo’s statement ignores the artists propelling the scene forward with quality music while downplaying the role he played in shaping the current state of the culture.