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A superstar DJ, sought-after producer, taste-making label owner, and wizard behind Major Lazer, Diplo (aka Diplodocus, Wes Diplo, and Wes Gully) launched his career on the fringes of dance music. With his mash-up mixtapes, he found and created a sound where his musical tastes -- '80s pop, electronica, Dirty South hip-hop, and his major influence, Miami bass music -- intersect. His attention-grabbing projects Hollertronix, with partner DJ Low Budget, and the Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1 mixtape, with elusive British-Sri Lankan MC M.I.A., made a heavy impact on the alternative electro-pop scene, amassing him rave reviews from music critics and indie kids alike, including Spin magazine, which named him DJ of the Year in 2005. Later, his Mad Decent imprint presented the edge of pop, hip-hop, and dance music while his conceptual Major Lazer project mixed dancehall with rave culture and toured the globe as a live party sound system. Diplo was born Thomas Wesley Pentz in Tupelo, Mississippi. Although he lived in a few different cities in the South, he mainly grew up in South Florida. He spent his youth in his father's bait shop, fixated on manatees, alligators, and dinosaurs with hopes of becoming a paleontologist. However, he wound up pursuing an education in film studies, starting at a couple Florida colleges but then finishing up his undergraduate degree in Philadelphia at Temple University in 2003. Before his move to Philadelphia, Pentz had moved temporarily to Japan to escape daily life in America. From Japan, he sent a demo tape of his beat concoctions to Will Ashon, founder of U.K. independent hip-hop label Big Dada Records, and once signed to the label, he relocated to Philadelphia. To support himself, during and after graduating from Temple, Pentz took on a few different jobs in Philadelphia: social worker, after-school mentor, movie theater employee, and gig-by-gig DJ. He was barely able to pay the rent, and the frustration was stunting his musical development (although he does credit one of his musical epiphanies to the after-school students who exposed him to crunk and Baltimore club music). Thus, Diplo and like-minded DJ Low Budget pooled their resources to start up their own club nights in Philadelphia, which they branded Hollertronix. It simply began as a fun night of genre-warping dance music, but it blossomed into an underground subculture drawing out crowds from all over the East Coast. Under the Hollertronix moniker, Diplo and Budget released the highly praised Never Scared mixtape; it was listed as one of the New York Times' top albums of 2003. The following year, Big Dada released Diplo's solo debut album, Florida, a more downtempo piece focusing on melody and instrumentals that was a departure from the melee of mashed-up vocals and beats. His unrelenting work ethic produced a considerable number of acclaimed mix CDs and 12" records; however, none of them accumulated more interest and Internet chatter than the 2004 Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1 mixtape that introduced M.I.A. outside of U.K. borders. Developing a yearning to produce more worldly music, he also began to throw his energy behind the Brazilian youth- and street-based music known as funk carioca (also referred to as baile funk), a derivation of Miami bass music. So, it was no surprise that when he established his own label, Mad Decent Records, around 2005, his first signee was the funk carioca group Bondo do Role. In 2009, the label signed a distribution deal with Fontana and Downtown Records. Their first collaborative release was by Major Lazer, a fictional Jamaican bounty hunter that was the brainchild of Diplo and DJ Switch. Major Lazer's debut album, Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do, appeared in 2009, the same year as the Diplo remix collection Decent Work for Decent Pay: Selected Works, Vol. 1. In 2010, Mad Decent began their Blow Your Head compilation series with the unmixed collection Blow Your Head: Diplo Presents Dubstep. Mix CDs (the reggae-filled 2011 release Riddimentary), EPs (2012's Express Yourself and 2013's Revolution), a Major Lazer album (2013's Free the Universe), and production work for others (including Alex Care's "Too Close" and Usher's "Climax") took Diplo to 2014 and that year's aptly titled compilation Random White Dude Be Everywhere. Filled with recent tracks, the set found the producer favoring the trap music style, the style heard on Baauer's hit single "Harlem Shake," which itself was a Mad Decent release. In 2015, he co-produced multiple tracks on Madonna's release Rebel Heart, and worked with Skrillex on the album Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack U. Major Lazer's LP Peace Is the Mission also landed that year. ~ Cyril Cordor
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Top Songs by

  1.   Song
  2.   Revolution
  3.   Express Yourself by Nicky Da B
  4.   Freak featuring Deorro
  5.   6th Gear featuring Kstylis
  6.   Be Right There by Sleepy Tom
  7.   U Don't Like Me by Lil Jon
  8.   Get Off
  9.   Techno featuring LNY TNZ
  10.   Crown featuring Boaz Van De Beatz
  11.   Hey! by Laidback Luke
  12.   Boy Oh Boy
  13.   Pick Your Poison
  14.   Set If Off by Lazerdisk Party Sex
  15.   Biggie Bounce
  16.   Doctor Pepper
  17.   GO
  18.   Keep It Gully
  19.   Make You Pop
  20.   Florida
  21.   Summer's Gonna Hurt You
  22.   Set It Off
  23.   Epistemology Suite 3: You're Enron
  24.   Revolution featuring Faustix
  25.   No Problem by Flinch & Kay
  26.   Diplo Rhythm
  27.   Put That Pussy On Me
  28.   Butters Theme
  29.   Big Lost
  30.   Frosty Bounce by Angger Dimas
  31.   Dat A Freak
  32.   Mixmag Presents Diplo: 2009 Rewind!
  33.   Revolution
  34.   Barely Standing featuring Datsik
  35.   The Whistlerz
  36.   Baby ft. Vybz Kartel
  37.   Re-Up
  38.   Sunset by Borgore
  39.   Into the Sun
  40.   Making It Hard
  41.   Revolution
  42.   Biggie Bounce by Angger Dimas
  43.   Boy Oh Boy by GTA
  44.   P.O.V. 2.0 featuring The Death Set
  45.   Move Around
  46.   Horsey
  47.   Veni Vidi Vici
  48.   Sweet Sweet Matilda featuring Clint Eastwood
  49.   26 Basslines by Benga
  50.   Wassup Wassup
  51.   Way More Brazil
  52.   Epistemology Suite 1: Don't Fall
  53.   Fuji Ouija
  54.   It's All Part of a Bigger Plan
  55.   Sarah
  56.   Pick Your Poison feat. Kay
  57.   Flute Jawn
  58.   As I Lay Dying
  59.   Rock Steady featuring Action Bronson
  60.   No Problem
  61.   Fuju Ouija
  62.   Epistemology Suite 2: Like Cats
  63.   Newsflash ft. Sandra Melody
  64.   Heater
  65.   Percao ft. Pantera Os Danadinhos
  66.   Youth Blood by Little Jinder
  67.   Joker Smoker featuring Tristan Palmer
  68.   Solta O Frango
  69.   Stop What You're Doing
  70.   Down
  71.   Smash a Kangaroo
  72.   200
  73.   Newsflash
  74.   Now's the Time
  75.   Indian Thick Jawns
  76.   Way More
  77.   Money Power Respect
  78.   Works
  79.   F10RIDA Album Commentary
  80.   Sweet Sweet Matilda by Clint Eastwood
  81.   Eventide Fire a Disaster featuring Barrington Levy