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REVIEW: Diplo centers on hip-hop with ‘California’ EP

“Welcome to the Wild Wild West”

Diplo is back with his brand new California EP, featuring six original tracks that reveal a much more hip-hop centric side of the Mad Decent label founder. It has been about four years since the now 39-year-old DJ/producer last released an extended play, Random White Dude Be Everywhere (2014), which was around the same time that he started his late night show on BBC Radio 1 called “Diplo and Friends.”

The L.A.-based recording artist is perhaps best known for helping jumpstart the career of Sri-Lankan singer-songwriter M.I.A., co-creating the cartoon-themed electronic dancehall troupe, Major Lazer, and working with a catalog of noteworthy artists such as Beyoncé, Skrillex, Justin Bieber, Action Bronson, Britney Spears, and Die Antwoord to name a few.

He first discussed plans for the solo EP in an interview with iHeartRadio last Summer, when he revealed plans for more rap collaborations. In January, he tweeted that the lead single, “Worry No More,” features Lil Yachty and longtime collaborator Santigold.

Diplo links up with Desiigner on the second track, “Suicidal,” which features the unique bravado of the 20-year-old rapper, who famously exploded onto the scene in 2016 with his multi-Platinum certified hit single, “Panda.”

He also links up with DRAM for another soulfully infused medley of R&B and indie rock sound on the track, “Look Back.” This is not the first time the two have collaborated, having previously worked together on the remix of “Powerful” by Major Lazer.

“Wish” features the aggressive sound of 18-year-old Ohio rapper Trippie Redd who attacks the track with his rhyme about past relationships and the heartache, which he follows with yet another collaboration with an emerging young talent, Lil Xan, on the emo-rap track “Color Blind.”

The EP closes with a remix of the track “Get it Right” featuring & GoldLink, which was originally used for the 2017 documentary, Give Me Future, about youth culture in Cuba.

Although it may sound thrilling on the surface, California has just as many highs as it does lows. And at times feels like it tries too hard to appeal to younger audiences, instead of really branching out to more artists like Dave East or Nipsey Hussle.

RATING: 2.5 / 5

LISTEN: DIPLO – ‘CALIFORNIA’ EP

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