"So this year I realized, if I don't do the stuff I feel like, if I make rules about what I can't do, someone is going to take my rules and fuck it and do it better than me. Someone like will.i.am will do a record that sounds like something I did and sell a million copies. What are we fighting for?" -- Diplo, July 2010
A year on from throwing down his creative manifesto during a Pitchfork interview, it's fair to say Diplo is living his fighting talk. In short, the bangin' beat prince is DJing internationally, taking Major Lazer worldwide while recording a new album (which should drop soon); remixing Kelly Rowland, Robyn, and Sleigh Bells; collaborating with Skrillex; championing Moonbahton; and, of course, being the creative genesis behind two of the biggest radio songs of the year -- Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now" and Beyoncé's "Run the World (Girls)." Whew.
It's equally as exhausting as it is satisfying keeping up, and the days
when he was known as "the guy behind M.I.A.'s 'Paper Planes''' seem
distant. Behind this all, his Mad Decent crew -- the label he spearheads --
has manifested his postmodern ethnomusicology into compilations
documenting dubstep, Moombahton, and reggae, and individually released
artists including Depressed Buttons, Dillon Francis, Rusko, Bosco
Delrey, and LA DJ Derek Allen.
Even in today's digitally digested and remixed age, it's a sprawling,
eclectic, and wide-reaching catalog with the potential for plenty of
quality material to be overlooked. The Mad Decent Volume 1 seems
somewhat of a digital line in the sand -- a reflection on a frantic year,
a glimpse into what might come, and a synergy with the Mad Decent
annual block parties, all of which unfortunately are taking place at
least a thousand miles from South Florida (the first one is in New York on Saturday, featuring Gang Gang Dance, Zeds Dead, and Claude VonStroke).
The tracks range from those that have become omnipresent banging
club tunes, such as Netsky's remix of Rusko's "Everyday," to tracks
exclusive to the compilation from familiar artists. Diplo's own
contribution, "Horsey," sounds like he is reclaiming the highly durable "Pon de Floor" beat from mainstream radio and filtering it through the
reggaeton/Dutch house filter of Moombahton, lacing it with cheesy,
synth-laden vocals just, seemingly, because he can and the rules don't