Diplo is making some noise again. We aren’t talking about his music either. Diplo recently spoke with Q Magazine regarding his success in the music industry and reflects on his attempts to create an interest for Baile funk acts from Brazil that fizzled before anything was able to take off at his residency in Las Vegas. In the process he left them with plenty of punchy quotes. “I get a lot of success because I’m white. You have to be aware that it’s happening. Nobody wants to see some black guy come out of the ghettos of Brazil and talk about real gangsta stuff. I learned really quick what marketing for the rest of the world was like.”
After returning from Jamaica, Diplo alluded to the country having a tough time finding their footing when it comes to their musical identity. He also commented on how eager they have been to accept US Top 40 hits into the public consciousness there. He leaned on Major Lazer
’s success in Jamaica to back his argument, “For us there’s never really a feeling of authenticity because there’s no authenticity there. When I was first going there the biggest record in Jamaica was Owl City’s ‘Fireflies’! Miley Cyrus’s ‘Party In The USA’ shut down Jamaica! So I thought, ‘Who the fuck cares what people in England or America think about me going to Jamaica?”
Where does all this come from? Diplo has been accused of cultural appropriation in his music in the past and he has already admitted that fact through his relationship with MIA. The major music industry has had a long history of cultural appropriation but this certainly isn’t the only variable for finding success or defeat in the music game. It really boils down to paying credit where credit is due and there seems to be a gap in paying it forward when it comes to Diplo. Call it musical imperialism if you will but this is the game major music has been playing for years.