Diplo has responded to critics who accuse his soundsystem Major Lazer of cultural appropriation.
Major Lazer’s recent hit “Lean On,” has been hit with swirling accusations of cultural appropriation for using Indian themes and imagery in the music video. Diplo and crew have also come under fire for being heavily influenced by Caribbean genres such as dancehall reggae and soca. In the most recent issue of NME, the Major Lazer frontman fired back at critics stating his group’s sound simply reflects his upbringing in an ethnically diverse quarter of Miami.
“Haitians, Latinos, Cubans, white kids, Jewish kids and hood kids were all in the same neighborhood and the same schools,” he explained. “Miami is the most diverse place for human beings I’ve ever been to.” The “Pon De Floor” producer stated that he was encouraged to develop a varied taste in music from a early age, “When I grew up, no one told me what I was supposed to listen to. On the radio, Miami bass was always the thing for me, and heavy metal – that was big in Florida too. My parents listened to country. Rap was on the radio.”
Diplo argues that the idea that Major Lazer might be viewed differently if he played guitar, and compared his sound to that of British punk band The Clash, who was also heavily influenced by Jamaican sounds and otherwise foreign-to-England cultures. “I think what makes a great artist is someone who can change the direction of music, not someone who stays the same all the time,” he concludes. “Otherwise music would be so f—ing boring.”