Diplo has reshaped dance music and put a face back onto the featureless concept of ‘the producer’. Acting more like a rock star than most rock stars do, 33-year-old Thomas Pentz has emerged as one of few men in music capable of flitting equally effortlessly between electro, baile funk and moombahton, and the only man on Earth capable of taking on Courtney Love on Twitter and coming off as more deranged.
But he’s not always doing crazy shit. Sometimes he’s injecting Nicola Roberts with cred on ‘Beat Of My Drum’, or giving Usher a sleek makeover on ‘Climax’, or allowing Beyoncé the use of the Major Lazer track ‘Pon De Floor’ on ‘Run The World (Girls)’. In short, reinventing all of pop music in his own image. Even less crackers was recent Major Lazer song ‘Get Free’ which, though gorgeous, was a few degrees of separation from dinner party music.
So the question is: can he stay mad, even with all that other stuff going on? The answer can be found on ‘Express Yourself’, his first actual solo output since 2004’s ‘Florida’, and is: fuck, yes.
The EP could be called ‘Around The World In 80 VWOOOORPS’ – its six tracks see its creator pluck music from across the globe and mash it into that juddery Diplo ‘sound’. The title track sees him venture into New Orleans bounce flanked by rapper Nicky Da B, while ‘Barely Standing’ pulls in Canadian dubstep dude Datsik to put some wobble in its rear and American vocalist Sabi to slither seductively across it. ‘Move Around’, meanwhile, goes on further adventures in dancehall, before being blended into Diplo mania. It’s great. Now, someone get him on a record with Madonna immediately.