Diplo (DJ)

Diplo (DJ)
Birth name Thomas Wesley Pentz
Also known as Diplo
Born Tupelo, Mississippi, United States, November 10, 1978 (Age 33)
Origin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres Electronic, hip-hop, electro house, baile funk, dubstep
Occupations DJ, producer, songwriter
Years active 2003–present
Labels Big Dada, Mad Decent
Associated acts Hollertronix, Major Lazer, MIA, Tiësto, Blaqstarr
Website maddecent.com

Thomas Wesley Pentz (born November 10, 1978 (1978-11-10) (age 33),[1] better known by his stage name Diplo, is a Philadelphia-based American DJ, producer, and songwriter. Together with DJ Low Budget, he runs Hollertronix, a club and music collective. He also founded and manages record company Mad Decent, as well as the not for profit organization Heaps Decent. Among other jobs, Pentz has worked as a school teacher in Philadelphia.

During his rise to notability, Diplo worked with British musician M.I.A., an artist who is credited with helping expose him in his early career. Later, Pentz and fellow M.I.A. producer Switch created a Jamaican dancehall project titled Major Lazer. Since then, Diplo has worked on production and mixtape projects with many other notable pop artists.[2][3][4][5][6] Pentz's alias, short for Diplodocus, derives from his childhood fascination with dinosaurs.[7]



DJ and Hollertronix

Born in Tupelo, Mississippi and raised in various regions across Southern United States, Diplo developed an interest in much of the local culture.[8] He began attending the University of Central Florida in 1997, and then moved to Philadelphia to continue his studies at Temple University, where he first gained notoriety as a DJ.[9] After frequently running into fellow DJ Low Budget, the two began throwing parties under the Hollertronix moniker in 2003 as a way of maintaining control of what they were able to play during DJ gigs in Philadelphia.[3] The success of these parties allowed the two to release mixtapes, both separate and together, gathering acclaim across the country.[10] One such mixtape, Never Scared, was named one of the New York Times' top ten albums of 2003,[11] and the Hollertronix name became synonymous with parties featuring guests like Bun B, Spank Rock, M.I.A., among others.[12] Hollertronix's sound has been described as "disparate genres to be smashed together for maximum attention-grabbing impact" an aesthetic which takes from the "organic, cohesive, whole" aesthetic of acts such as Bun B, Lil Jon, Drama, M.I.A., Björk, Busta Rhymes, and others.[5][13]

Diplo accentuated the club aesthetic of his Hollertronix music for a more reflective sound on his solo debut, Florida, which was released on the Big Dada Records imprint Ninja Tune.[14] The album Florida was pressed twice, first with a CD and the second with a CD and DVD. The DVD was created by System D-128, another artist who has collaborated with Diplo on some audio and video projects. Before Florida’s DVD accompaniment, another DVD surfaced called Diplo: "Banned in Libya" which was released by Money Studies, the first label to release a solo project by Diplo under his original DJ name Diplodocus. It was a 45 rpm record called "Thingamajawn" for which there is also a music video System D-128 directed. Similar to the Florida DVD, "Banned in Libya" is an experimental audio and video mix of some of Diplo's original music blended with a number of other unidentified sources.

His particular affinity for one genre of music called Baile Funk (or Favela Funk) would spawn a series of mixtapes (Favela on Blast, Favela Strikes Back), which served to bring the Brazilian dance music of the ghettos to the United States.[10]

Although Diplo spent time as a school teacher, and a Subway employee,[9] it was not long before his Hollertronix parties would provide him the success necessary to move to the next logical step and build a studio where music would become his full-time focus. With this goal in mind, Diplo built "The Mausoleum," a video studio, recording studio, record label office, gallery, and event space in Philadelphia.[15] Since its inception, The Mausoleum has become the home to recordings by artists like Christina Aguilera, Shakira, M.I.A., Santigold, Spank Rock, Plastic Little, Blaqstarr, Paper Route Gangstaz, and hosted concerts by Glass Candy, Skream, Boys Noize, and more.[15]


After hearing one of his songs in 2004, M.I.A. approached Diplo when he was DJ'ing one night at the Fabric Club in London. Regarding their first meeting, M.I.A. said "It had that same homelessness about it. It didn't have a particular genre, which is what people always say to me: Your song doesn't fit anywhere. So I went on a mad mission to find other people like that, because then we could make a home."[16][17] Coincidentally, Diplo was playing her songs "Galang" and "Fire Fire" as she entered the club, which he got from a worker at i-D magazine.[17][18] Diplo added, "She came through and she wanted to meet me 'cause she'd heard my single and the funk mix from one of her A&Rs and she just thought I was right up her alley. Besides me being a white dude from Florida and her being a Sri Lankan girl in England, everything else was the same: [We were both] film graduates, [listened to] all the same music when we were kids, were going in the same direction right now in music, it was amazing... I always wanted to make a beat with her, but all my beats were really shitty at the time."[18][19] The two eventually collaborated on a mixtape, Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol. 1., where Arular track acapellas were mashed with other artists' songs and was mentioned as ‘Albums of the Year’ from the New York Times and Pitchfork Media.[18][20] At this time it is rumored the two became romantically involved and continued to work together after the release and he toured as a DJ on her 2005 Arular Tour.

Critics have been divided on his early work, with some expressing acclaim for the mixtape, while others expressing relief that M.I.A.'s aesthetic and her debut album did not have a lot of input from the DJ.[5] In 2007, Arulpragasam confronted the public media, specifically music blog Pitchforkmedia about some journalists' motives behind misinformation regarding Diplo and her work. Pitchforkmedia author Paul Thomson responded by stating Diplo "seemed to think he had a bit to do with both of her records."[21] Diplo has worked on two tracks on each M.I.A. album. In 2009, he admitted that aside from loaning a baile funk beat to the song "Bucky Done Gun" he lied to people that he produced M.I.A.'s first album "to get them to know who I was."[22] He described the songs he did not work on from M.I.A.'s third album M.I.A. as being "a turd" in 2010.[23] He stated that he worked at a studio in Santa Monica rather than at M.I.A.'s home studio on the album, because "her boyfriend really hates me".[24] Later he mentioned his distaste for the album stemmed from not "feeling the vibe with some of the new producers."[25] In 2011, Diplo attacked M.I.A. again in an interview with WWD magazine, admonishing her marriage to Benjamin Bronfman, accusing her of "glamoriz[ing] terrorism," and claiming that “when it comes to die-hard, facts-on-the-ground politics, she’s at zero. She’s nothing." Flavorwire wondered why better ways to address Diplo's "cynical" publicity mongering were not employed by elements of the music press. Diplo ended the interview admitting the accidental nature of impregnating his girlfriend, who gave birth to his son Locket, and how he "very rarely" saw the two, adding that he didn't want to "have to be responsible for two other people" as he can’t even be responsible "for myself".[26][27]

Diplo would continue to work with M.I.A. and, through her, meet London DJ Switch; together they created the Grammy nominated track ‘Paper Planes’, peaking at No.4 on the Billboard US Hot 100.[28] Diplo would go on to release a slew of similarly styled mixtapes with Downtown Records’ Santigold and Polydor Records’ La Roux, as well as mixtapes with Paper Route Gangstaz, Das Racist, and Gucci Mane.

Producer and Mad Decent

From this, Diplo went from an unknown DJ to taking off as a producer, landing him collaborations with artists like Shakira, Robyn, Kid Cudi, Bruno Mars and Snoop Dogg, as well as work with Maluca, Kid Sister, Die Antwoord, Alex Clare, Rolo Tomassi, Amanda Blank and Dark Meat. After taking a trip to Brazil to investigate the Favela music scene,[3] and fascinated with the energy the scene had to offer, Diplo decided to import a dance-funk group Bonde do Role from Brazil for release on his Mad Decent record label (also housed within ‘The Mausoleum’).[29] This group would serve to define Baile Funk in the United States, spawning a host of others to join the movement. Diplo also spent some time documenting the music, and the favelas of Brazil[30] with a film he produced and directed called Favela on Blast.[31]

Although Favela Funk remained an interest (the Favela on Blast documentary just saw release in 2009), his Mad Decent imprint would serve as a blank palette for Diplo to showcase the myriad different sounds he’d come across while touring around the world.[9] Diplo quickly developed a reputation for his extensive touring. In the April, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine Diplo was touted as one of ’40 Reasons to be Excited About Music’.[32] This kind of jet setting pushed his label far beyond the Favela Funk genre with which it initially began. Since founding it in 2005[33] Diplo’s Mad Decent label has released music by Santogold, Lil’ Jon, Gucci Mane, Peter Bjorn and John, Bosco Delrey, Rusko, Buraka Som Sistema, Savage Skulls, Oliver Twizt, Jamie Fanatic, Douster, Boy 8-Bit, and Popo.[34][35] Beyond the scope of their own releases, there is Mad Decent Worldwide Radio, a mixtape/podcast series showcasing artists who have seen release on Mad Decent, but also many more who may have caught the attention of the label.[36] Additionally, Diplo and Mad Decent have put together an annual block party, showcasing talent from the label. While the first three years of the festival only occurred in the label hometown of Philadelphia, 2010 saw the party spread to include Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.[37]

In 2011, Diplo worked with mainstream pop singers, such as Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts on her debut solo single "Beat of My Drum", and superstar Beyoncé on "Run the World (Girls)" and the album track "End of Time" for her fourth studio album 4.

Major Lazer

Although highly sought after to create productions for other artists, Diplo’s focus soon turned to another collaborative project with Switch, this time in the form of a full-length record under the guise Major Lazer. After landing a deal with Downtown Records before even recording a note of music, Diplo & Switch set out for Jamaica to record a project that, like most of Diplo’s projects before it, would highlight the little-known subgenres, this time of Jamaica’s dancehall scene.[28] The two received support by many already established Jamaican artists such as Vybz Kartel, Elephant Man and Ms. Thing, and the resulting record Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do also featured vocals from Santigold, Amanda Blank, Nina Sky, Ricky Blaze and more.[38] When discussing the Major Lazer project, Diplo described the dancehall sound as being the end of the line of mashing things up in a melting pot. It’s like the end of the world, all the little influences—house, soca, oldies, R&B, jazz—it all ends up in Jamaica.[39] The track "Pon De Floor" from Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do was sampled for Beyonce's single "Rule the World (Girls)".[40]

Major Lazer's first album was followed up with an EP, Lazers Never Die, which was released in 2010. An as yet untitled album is also due to be released by Major Lazer in 2011.

Major Lazer played at Notting Hill Carnival, London CF, in 2010 and have confirmed they will be there again in the summer of 2011.

Additional Projects

Beyond Major Lazer and Mad Decent, Diplo has continued to show support for 'all the little influences', the lesser-known music scenes around the globe. Most recently his focus shifted to the ‘Bounce’ scene in New Orleans, Louisiana for a television piece commissioned by Current.tv.[41] In 2007 Diplo also founded a not-for-profit organization for the underprivileged in Australia, called Heaps Decent.[42] As Diplo has throughout his career as producer and DJ, the organization’s focus is to integrate indigenous and underprivileged artists’ music into a wider spectrum of recognition through original productions created via schools, juvenile justice centers, and studios.



EPs and Singles

  • "Newsflash" (2003) (as Diplodocus)
  • "Epistemology Suite" (2003) (as Diplodocus)
  • "Thingamajawn" (2003) (as Diplodocus)
  • "Diplo Rhythm" (2004)
  • "Reload It" 2005 (as Diplo)
  • "Blow Your Head" 2008 (as Diplo)
  • "C'Mon (Catch 'Em By Surprise)" (vs. Tiesto featuring Busta Rhymes) 2010 (as Diplo) UK No.13
  • "Make You Pop (Vs Don Diablo)" 2010 (as Diplo)
  • "Amplifier (with Skrillex)" 2011 (as Diplo)
  • "Pick Your Poison (with Datsik and Kay)" 2011 (as Diplo)
  • "El Tigeraso" with Maluca 2011 (as Diplo)
  • "El Tigeraso" with Maluca 2011 (as Diplo)


  • AEIOU (2003)
  • AEIOU Pt. 2: Making Music Your Own (2004) (with Tripledouble)
  • Piracy Funds Terrorism (with M.I.A.) (2004)
  • Favela on Blast (2004)
  • Favela Strikes Back (2005)
  • FabricLive.24 (2005)
  • Mad Decent Radio, Vol. 1 (2006)
  • I Like Turtles (2007)
  • Top Ranking: A Diplo Dub (with Santogold) (2008)
  • Benzi & Diplo Present: Paper Route Gangstaz: Fear And Loathing In Hunts Vegas (2008)
  • 2009 Rewind (Mixmag Jan 2010 Cover CD) (2009)
  • Diplo Presents: Free Gucci (Best of The Cold War Mixtapes) (2010)
  • Major Lazer & La Roux present: Lazerproof (2010)
  • Blow Your Head – Diplo Presents: Dubstep (2010)
  • Benzi & Diplo Present: Mansions on the Moon: Paradise Falls (2010)
  • Riddimentary: Diplo Selects Greensleeves (2011)








  • Sia – "Clap Your Hands" (Diplo Remix)
  • Madonna – Hung Up (Diplo Remix)
  • I Blame Coco – Caesar feat. Robyn (Diplo Remix)
  • Maroon 5 – Misery (Diplo Put Me Out Of My Misery Mix)
  • La Roux – Bulletproof (Diplo and Bot Remix)
  • Deerhunter – Helicopter (Diplo and Lunice mix)
  • Sunday Girl – Four Floors (Diplo Remix)
  • Linkin Park – When They Come For Me (Diplo Remix) For DJ Hero 2
  • GD & TOP – Knock Out
  • Robyn – Dancehall Queen feat. Spoek Mathambo (Diplo and Stenchman Remix)
  • Proxy – 8000 (Diplo remix)



  • ATV Offroad Fury 4 – Tambo, Newsflash (featuring Sandra Melody)
  • SSX on Tour – Big Lost, Indian Thick Jawns (featuring P.E.A.C.E.)
  • Midnight Club Los Angeles – Wassup Feat Rye Rye (Crookers Remix)


Diplo presents these podcast serials:


  1. ^ Cordor, Cyril. "Diplo – Biography". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p603899. Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  2. ^ Diplo: Interview – Time Out London. Timeout.com (January 19, 2009). Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Diplo: The Stylus Interview – Article. Stylus Magazine. Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  4. ^ Interviews: Diplo. Pitchfork (April 3, 2005). Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Breihan, Tom (July 11, 2006). "The Friends of Diplo: A Report Card". The Village Voice. http://blogs.villagevoice.com/statusainthood/archives/2006/07/the_friends_of.php. Retrieved August 5, 2010. 
  6. ^ Dan DeLuca,"Musical Diplo-mat", The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan 19, 2006, Pg C01
  7. ^ "Diplo Biography". NME. UK. http://www.nme.com/artists/diplo#biography. Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  8. ^ Maya Arulpragasam bio, IMDB
  9. ^ a b c Mad Genius :: Music :: Features :: Paste. Pastemagazine.com (November 15, 2008). Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Music | Hollertronix on ice. Bostonphoenix.com. Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  11. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa. (December 28, 2003) MUSIC – THE HIGHS – MUSIC – THE HIGHS – The Albums and Songs of the Year – NYTimes.com. Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  12. ^ Boyles, Jen. (November 6, 2009) Low-Bee on Hollertronix, parties and future of DJing (interview) – Minneapolis / St. Paul Music – Gimme Noise. Blogs.citypages.com. Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  13. ^ Diplo « Format Magazine Urban Art Fashion. Formatmag.com (September 9, 2007). Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  14. ^ Big Dada Diplo – Florida. Ninjatune.net. Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  15. ^ a b phrequency. phrequency (November 12, 2008). Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  16. ^ "Biography for Maya Arulpragasam", IMDb. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  17. ^ a b M.I.A.: Pitchfork Interview. Web.archive.org (March 17, 2005). Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  18. ^ a b c Pytlik, Mark (April 4, 2005). "Interview: Diplo". Pitchfork Media. http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/feature/14685-interview-diplo. Retrieved July 22, 2008. 
  19. ^ M.I.A. Confronts the Haters. Pitchfork. Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  20. ^ Booty Call – Page 1 – Music – New York. Village Voice (December 14, 2004). Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  21. ^ Thomson, Paul (2007). "M.I.A. Confronts the Haters". Pitchforkmedia. http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/news/44529-mia-confronts-the-haters. Retrieved December 10, 2007. [dead link]
  22. ^ Tewksbury, Drew (July 2, 2009). "DIPLO + SWITCH = MAJOR LAZER". Flaunt. http://drewtewksbury.com/2009/07/02/diplo-switch-major-lazer/. Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  23. ^ M.I.A.'s New Album Is 'A Turd,' Diplo Tweets – Music, Celebrity, Artist News. MTV (July 8, 2010). Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  24. ^ Boles, Benjamin (May 31, 2010). "In Defense of M.I.A.". Now. http://www.nowtoronto.com/daily/story.cfm?content=175225. Retrieved June 1, 2010. 
  25. ^ Diplo Talks M.I.A.'s Ideal Sound, 'Lazers Never Die'. Billboard.com (September 14, 2009). Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  26. ^ Isn’t It Time for Diplo and the Music Press to Lay Off MIA Already?
  27. ^ Boys Night Out with Diplo
  28. ^ a b Diplo Talks Sample of the Millennium, the Return of Fun and Other Musical Secrets | Underwire. Wired.com. Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  29. ^ Made In South America « The FADER. Thefader.com (June 15, 2006). Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  30. ^ Diplo Talks M.I.A.'s Ideal Sound, 'Lazers Never Die'. Billboard.com (September 14, 2009). Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  31. ^ Favela on Blast (2008), IMDB
  32. ^ 40 Reasons to Be Excited About Music: New Issue of Rolling Stone | Rolling Stone Music. Rollingstone.com (April 14, 2010). Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  33. ^ Mad Decent – CDs and Vinyl at Discogs. Discogs.com. Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  34. ^ [1]
  35. ^ Diplo's Mad Decent Label Teams Up With Downtown Recordings. Pitchfork (March 31, 2009). Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  36. ^ Mad Decent Worldwide Radio. Maddecent.libsyn.com. Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  37. ^ Mad Decent!. Maddecentblockparty.com. Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  38. ^ Mos Def – The Ecstatic. Downtownmusic.com. Retrieved on October 23, 2010.
  39. ^ http://www.thefader.com/2009/07/06/feature-major-lazer-x-mad-decent-interview/#ixzz13BZmTWL8
  40. ^ "Beyonce Drops Official Version Of 'Run The World (Girls)'". MTV. April 21, 2011. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1662415/beyonce-run-the-world-girls-single.jhtml. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  41. ^ [2]
  42. ^ [3]

External links

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  • diplo — m. anat. Tejido óseo esponjoso de los huesos craneales que se encuentra entre dos láminas de hueso compacto. Medical Dictionary. 2011 …   Diccionario médico

  • diplo — Element prim de compunere savantă cu semnificaţia dublu , doi . [var. dipl . / < fr., it. diplo , cf. gr. diploos]. Trimis de LauraGellner, 22.02.2005. Sursa: DN  DIPL(O) elem. dublu , de două ori . (< fr. dipl/o/ , cf …   Dicționar Român

  • diplo... — diplo...   [griechisch diplóos »zweifach«, »doppelt«], vor Vokalen meist dipl..., Wortbildungselement mit der Bedeutung »zwei«, »doppelt«, »Paar von Gebilden«, »Verdoppelung«, z. B. Diplokokken, diploid …   Universal-Lexikon

  • diplo- — elem. de comp. Exprime a noção de dois ou de duplo (ex.: diplogênese).   ‣ Etimologia: grego diplóos, ê, on, duplo …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • diplo- — [dip′lō, dip′lə] [< Gr diploos < di , DI 1 + IE * plo , fold: see DOUBLE] combining form two, double, twin [diplococcus]: also, before a vowel, prefix combining form dipl …   English World dictionary

  • Diplo — Wesley Pentz (* 10. November 1979 in Tupelo, Mississippi) ist ein US amerikanischer Musiker und DJ elektronischen Hip Hops und Baile Funks, der unter dem Künstlernamen Diplo sein erstes Album bei Big Dada Recordings im Jahr 2004 veröffentlicht… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Diplo — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Diplo peut désigner : le DJ américain, Diplo ; Le Monde diplomatique surnommé « Le Diplo » ; la ville du Pakistan, Diplo ;… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • diplo- — dipl(o) ♦ Élément, du gr. diploos « double ». dipl(o) élément, du gr. diploos, double . ⇒DIPL(O) , (DIPL , DIPLO )élément préf. Premier élément de compos. sav., du gr. signifiant « double ». V. à la nomenclature diplodocus, diploïde, diplopie. A …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • diplo- — ► prefijo Componente de palabra procedente del gr. diploos, que significa doble: ■ diplococo; diplodoco. TAMBIÉN dipl * * * diplo Elemento prefijo del gr. «diplóos», doble, usado en palabras científicas. * * * ► Prefijo procedente del gr. diplóos …   Enciclopedia Universal

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