Having worked alongside some of the biggest names in modern music, DJ and producer Diplo was born Thomas Wesley Pentz on November 10, 1978, in Tupelo, Mississippi. His career beginnings are rooted in Philadelphia, where he attended Temple University and began DJing at parties and other venues in the city. In 2003, he released the mixtape Never Scared, recognized by the New York Times as one of the top ten albums of that year. He was, however, operating under the name Hollertronix at the time, and soon released his debut album Florida under Ninja Tune’s Big Dada Records. He is credited with bringing attention to a genre known as favela funk, which takes inspiration from the dance music of Brazil. Soon after, he was instrumental in constructing a recording studio and label office in Philadelphia known as The Mausoleum, and artists that have come to work and record there include Shakira, M.I.A, Christina Aguilera, and many others. Diplo was involved in getting M.I.A.’s songs recorded and released, including the smash hit “Paper Planes” of 2008, which was nominated for a Grammy.
Diplo is the creator of the Mad Decent label, through which he has released music for Lil’ Jon, Gucci Mane, Rusko, and countless others. He began to operate under another name, Major Lazers, and released the album Guns Don’t Kill People … Lazers Do, followed by the EP Lazers Never Die in 2010. He has since been nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Non-Classical Producer of the Year, and was a headliner at the Ultra Music Festival in early 2014 along with Avicii, M.I.A., David Guetta, Tiesto, and Kaskade.
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