We love M.I.A., Santigold and Maluca so we love producer Diplo by default. He’s made half of our favorite songs, which is pretty good for a skinny white boy. However when Rihanna released the pop art clip for “Rude Boy” recently, the ish hit the Twitter fan.
“Riri is lookin soo damn hawt in this video but its super boyz boyz boyz #howmaydere ? yahmsayin?,” Diplo tweeted earlier this month. The next day the producer recorded and leaked a mash-up of M.I.A.’s “Boyz” and Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” onto the web via his Twitter account. Still, Diplo says he’s a RiRi fan.
“I downloaded Rihanna’s album as soon as it came out because I was interested in seeing the pop world’s take on dub-step because that’s what they were supposed to do,” Diplo told Parlour. “Her production camp was supposed to do this dark crazy album but it was pretty weak except for “Rude Boy,” which is one of my favorite songs of the year thus far. I’m glad it came out as a single, but when I saw the video I was like ‘this is a total rip-off of M.I.A.’s “Boyz” video with a little bit of Santigold ripped off as well.’ But it’s cool because she looks beautiful in the video, I just thought it was funny.”
With three albums released between them, M.I.A. and Santigold rule the genre-bending space of alternative R&B, reggae, dubstep and rock mash-ups. M.I.A.’s influential single “Paper Planes”, from her LP “Kala,”dropped in 2007, and then the track was sampled by Kanye West for T.I.’s 2008 single “Swagga Like Us” featuring Jay-Z, Little Wayne and West. The popularity of “Swagga Like Us” led to M.I.A. receiving a Grammy nod for Best New Artist and participating in a group performance on the award show with the MC’s . On the other hand, Santigold began writing songs for others like alt-rock artist Res before deciding to release her own self-titled LP in 2008. Like M.I.A., Santigold’s work became a critic’s darling but neglected to sell large numbers. Both ladies continue to fly under the pop culture radar, but Diplo, who’s produced on each of their albums, says their work seems to move the needle of the music industry.
“Me and my crew, I’m here recording in Jamaica with Santigold and producer Switch, who’s part of the group Major Lazer with me, always come with really progressive ideas,” says Diplo. “Even with our Major Lazer single “Pon De Floor,” after a year of the record leaking, now it’s become the single for the labels to follow even though it’s old for us. A&Rs want a record like that now, but we offered that record to all of those people a year ago.”
The producer says he’s happy the public appreciates his talent, but he has to work extra hard to gain recognition for his ideas.
“People at the major labels always seem to be a bit slow to catch on to stuff that’s trend-setting,” he added. “Like M.I.A.’s single “Boyz” was so cutting edge, crazy and hyper fast that it was scary for people when we made it, but now that type of music is digestible for people because M.I.A.’s already blazed a trail for alternative reggae urban music so we made it safe for Rihanna to do cutting edge things. I’m not mad at ["Rude Boy"], especially because Rihanna looks super hot in the video and it looks amazing, better than “Boyz.” I’m used to getting our shit ripped off. We’re paving the road so that other people can drive on it.”