Diplo Talks Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift Feud and Madonna-Specific Ageism
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, producer-slash-DJ Diplo spoke at length about all things pop — from the subtle and surprising musical evolution of Justin Bieber to his one-sided feud with Taylor Swift to the difficulties Madonna faces just for daring to be an older woman in music (and a particularly powerful one at that).
Arguably one of the biggest and best songs of 2015 (so far), “Where Are U Now” is the Justin Bieber collaboration that begs listeners to finally take the 21-year-old seriously. And according to Diplo, it worked. “He’d been stuck in a rut where he has to do a certain thing because of his fan base,” he said. “Guy from Disclosure texted me, ‘Yo, man, that Bieber record is amazing,’ and I’m like, “Man, you would’ve never written that a year ago,’ and he’s like, ‘I know, this is very difficult for me to text right now.'”
Diplo went on to say that whatever Bieber’s personal issues may be, they don’t matter to him: “Bieber’s personal life is whatever it is — he’s a rich kid and he’s pretty much gonna have to be a jerk. But he’s respectful to me, and he has that weird gene where he’s good at everything: better at basketball than me, better at drums. For us it’s more like an art project where you utilize his voice.”
Mega hits aside, the producer is notorious for inflammatory remarks typically confined to social media. He’s comfortable coming for any artist he believes warrants criticism, no matter the size of their fan base. On Diplo’s Twitter, no one is safe.
The producer seems to have zero intention of toning things down or suppressing his opinions, instead subscribing to the idea that any press is good press. He said, “If I have a fight with somebody, it makes me look like a prick, but it makes the social-media numbers explode. It’s the Kanye West theory: In 2015, become a prick and just get more popular. I don’t want to be thought of like that, but also I just don’t really care. I’m doing jokes and people take it seriously, like that’s the person I am.”
It’s true that tone sometimes gets lost online, but it’s also true that many jokes are not funny — remember when Diplo urged fans “to make a kickstarter to get Taylor Swift a booty”?
According to him (and photos from the 2015 Grammys), they’re both totally over that feud, and an apology, sadly, wasn’t even necessary. He said, “We squashed it! I saw her at the Grammys and she was supernice and cool. Her fans loved the beef, though. That’s all they have — they don’t have, like, real things going on. It’s still startling when these artists pay attention to my Twitter. Like, Ed Sheeran unfollowed me when I said something about Taylor — I can’t believe these people even know who I am.”
It’s hard to ignore the inherent sexism in his beef with Swift, joking or not. But then Diplo switches gears and addresses the ageism even Madonna (whose latest single “Bitch I’m Madonna” he helped produce) is unable to escape from in the industry — and he makes some solid points.
He said, “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.'”
You can check out the full interview over on Rolling Stone.
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