For producer-DJ Diplo, the past 12 years have been a slow but unrelenting march from the ultra-hip fringes to the dead center of pop music. Right now, he has two Top 20 singles from two different projects: the Justin Bieber-featuring 'Where R U Now,' from his Jack Ü collaboration with Skrillex, and 'Lean On,' from his dancehall-inflected act Major Lazer, which went from studio lark to festival-packing force. Diplo, who first broke through to the mainstream circa 2005 as M.I.A.'s producer, says there's never been a master plan: 'I've been 100 percent improvising,' he says. 'When I moved to L.A. to produce and write, I kept DJ'ing on the side, but I thought that was never gonna go anywhere.'
You co-produced several songs on Madonna's new one, including her new single. What do you make of the ageism she faces?
She created the world we live in. It already sucks to be a woman in the music industry, but to be a boss woman is even harder. She sold out her tour in minutes, but no one seems to want her to succeed - 'Madonna, we've been there, done that, now we're about Kim Kardashian.' Her song 'Ghosttown' was a guaranteed Number One for anybody else, but she didn't get a fair shot. With 'Bitch I'm Madonna,' everyone said there's no way it will go anywhere, but I'm like, 'Screw it, it represents you more than anything.'
Read more: www.rollingstone.com/music/features/diplo-on-madonna