Diplo, the producer behind Beyonce’s mega-hit “Run The World (Girls),” remembers how an unexpected bar fight almost blew his chance to work with the pop icon.
GQ: Are you surprised when folks like Beyoncé or No Doubt reach out to you?
Diplo: I was surprised with No Doubt, and Gwen Stefani knew a lot about my personal life because she had M.I.A. on tour with them four, five years ago, and they used to talk about their relationships and stuff. That was definitely pretty weird, that someone like her, knew anything about me. Most of the time people don’t know who I am or what I do or what Major Lazer is. It’s just a bunch of names or idioms for a lot of people because they’re so caught up in their own things. There are so many names and everything nowadays with culture and the Internet, it’s hard to figure out who’s responsible or the history of things. People don’t know exactly what I do, they just know I’m “cool.” I did stuff with Shakira and she just learned about the XX and the Pixies for the first time in her career—it’s weird to me that people don’t know those kind of records. Even with Beyoncé, she’s an artist, but she doesn’t know a lot of stuff, she knows R&B and pop, but they don’t stray from it. They’re at the top of the tier within their genre so they don’t need to know a lot of stuff. They have cool friends. Major Lazer was just everywhere last year, but not on the radio. Every club played our records. We were the fuckin’ retarded stepson, never got on the radio, me and Switch and my whole crew have been the catalyst of a lot of things, but we don’t get part of it. We’re always inspirational but we don’t capitalize on that stuff. We’re happy to be on the underground and make influential records. We’re breaking through now with some of our influential stuff and writing records that reach more people. We’ve always been the black sheep, making things that inspire people, to write more records and be out in the open.
GQ: Was the Beyoncé opportunity an awakening?
Diplo: I still haven’t really slept since that whole thing started. That week was so crazy. I was working with Roc Nation and they wanted to produce some other stuff—I was there, I did a show, got arrested, had to go to jail, after jail had to fly to Vegas. Every weekend is just getting weirder and weirder. I feel like I’m a snowball, I don’t know what is going to happen. I’m not catching up to what is going on in my life. I got in a bar fight and the guy pressed charges. Nobody in Beyoncé’s camp knew about it, but I thought it was embarrassing. I had to go to court a bunch of times and had to go to anger management courses. It’s the one part of my day or week that’s all fucked up—going to some anger management class in Compton every Tuesday with teenage gangsters that beat their cousins and listen to them talk about their lives. It’s pretty grounding.
(Read the full interview at GQ.com)