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the diplo diaries

Who, or What, Is Noted Music Fan Diplo Into Right Now?

Last month, the hipster producer Diplo announced he’d be remixing Gucci Mane’s Cold War mixtape series as a means to support Gucci’s then-new album The State vs. Radric Davis while the rapper himself was behind bars for a parole violation. That really pissed off the Village Voice’s Brandon Soderberg. In a post titled “Free Gucci, Fuck Diplo, and the History of 'Free _____,'” Soderberg wrote “Diplo’s doing what he's always done well: obnoxiously tweaking someone else's cultural movement to fit his niche audience's needs.” Gucci, and the “Free Gucci” movement, claimed Soderberg, was another thing “to be picked-up and internalized [by Diplo] with little consequence or connection to its real-world implications or context.” Oh boy.

We’ll let the brainiacs fight it out over the appropriateness of the whole appropriation thing. What we wanna know is: What’s Diplo into right now? Which obscure world music sub-genre or regional rap-music scene should we be paying attention to this week? To that end, we’ll be keeping (judgement-free!) track of Diplo’s latest obsessions. And right now, that would be the music of the aforementioned Gucci Mane: Diplo’s Free Gucci: Best of the Cold War Mixtapes was made available for download yesterday. Hey, we’re actually ahead of the ball on this one! We were (like tens of thousands of others) already paying attention to Gucci Mane.

We’ll let the brainiacs fight it out over the appropriateness of the whole appropriation thing. What we wanna know is: What’s Diplo into right now? Which obscure world music sub-genre or regional rap-music scene should we be paying attention to this week? To that end, we’ll be keeping (judgement-free!) track of Diplo’s latest obsessions. And right now, that would be the music of the aforementioned Gucci Mane: Diplo’s Free Gucci: Best of the Cold War Mixtapes was made available for download yesterday. Hey, we’re actually ahead of the ball on this one! We were (like tens of thousands of others) already paying attention to Gucci Mane.

Announcing the mixtape, Diplo said, "Gucci is a rapper that doesn’t try and be anything he is not; he’s straight up. Maybe it’s ironic and all, but I’m just a fan and have been since day one. Gucci Mane is the cool uncle I never had even though I’m pretty sure I am older than him.” Appropriately, the remixes — which come from Diplo and friends — stay loyal to Gucci's original vocals. Mostly, they layer new bits of the big bass and dirty dance music Diplo's crew is associated with on top or in place of the extra-heavy original beats (notably, Memory Tape's hypnotic, almost sweet take on "Excuse Me" goes in a lighter direction). Stunt samples, which Diplo utilized to great effect on the PRG'z tape, are kept to a minimum (it's mostly Mariah Carey and Daniel Bedingfield this time out). The mixes aren't earth shattering, but they don't seem ironic, either.

Free Gucci, Fuck Diplo, and the History of "Free _____" [VV]

Photo: Getty Images