13 Artists That Mad Decent Introduced to the World

Diplo has a technical DJ prowess that many don't speak of, primarily because his powers of curation are immense. He comes from the school of crate-dig

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Complex Original

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Diplo has a technical DJ prowess that many don't speak of, primarily because his powers of curation are immense. He comes from the school of crate-digging, and his knack for finding diverse, impressive sounds from little-known scenes and casting them into the main discussion borderlines on obsession. If there's any major movement within dance music, Diplo has had his hands on it, or has at least cultivated a solid stack of records to fit that sound, and his Mad Decent imprint is a vital part in helping these undiscovered talents pop.

Just look at how moombahton and trap exploded over the last few years. Did Mad Decent start these sounds? Definitely not. You can't deny that some of the bigger tunes from those scenes were in some way bigged up via Mad Decent releases, via on Mad Decent or via their Jeffree's imprint. It's just what they do: they find the next movement, then move with it. And no matter how you slice it, Mad Decent has had a hand in introducing us to many of our favorite artists. Today, we want to take some time out and say thank you to Mad Decent for putting us on to the future of dance music.

Photo Credit: Tres Mack


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Was "Harlem Shake" Baauer's first release? Not necessarily; he did have a remix of Abel's "Girls" out a month prior, but the Jeffree's release of "Harlem Shake" was his first official single. And while it took the bass music/trap scene by storm when it dropped in May of 2012, it was the viral "Harlem Shake" craze that hit YouTube that made this the little record that saved Mad Decent. And no matter what he's done, from helping launch Priority's new EDM era or remixing The Prodigy, AlunaGeorge, and No Doubt, we have to give it up to Mad Decent for even giving him the green light and introducing us to one of the more interesting sounds that we've seen as of late.



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Munchi got the Mad Decent co-sign in 2011, being featured on Dave Nada's moombahton-laced Blow Your Head, Vol. 2. He's since remixed the likes of Brodinski and Dillon Francis for Mad Decent, who also released his Moombahtonista EP. Diplo's been a supporter of the Munchi movement, as has Dirty South Joe, who has been a part of Mad Decent in Philly for years and mixed a "Best of Munchi" set for T&A Records a few years back. Even with the awkward situation over "Esta Noche" and Azealia Banks (a track that was taken from the Diplo-curated Fantasea mixtape), Munchi still gets a lot of love from the Mad Decent crew.

Dillon Francis

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While there is debate out there about how much of a moombahton pioneer Dillon Francis is, you have to admit that his face was one of the emerging talents people saw when they spoke on that scene. "I.D.G.A.F.O.S." wasn't Dillon's first release, but the Mad Decent look was very important to his progression, and the singles he's put out via Mad Decent (including "Masta Blasta (The Rebirth)" and the recently-released "Messages") have shown his growth. Without Mad Decent letting him explore and enlarge his sound, we don't know how big Dillon would be right now.


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Miami duo GTA made a huge impression on EDM lovers in 2012 with their club-rocking "Booty Bounce," which lead to their "Boy Oh Boy" collaboration with Diplo and their 2013 smash "Hit It" alongside Digital Lab and Henrix, which dropped on Size. Diplo knows how to pick 'em, and the right tune at the right time has this duo supporting Rihanna during her 2013 European tour.


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Derek Allen, aka DJA, doesn't have a huge batch of releases under his DJA belt, but you've heard his material around. He's more of the silent killer, and since being added to the Mad Decent fold as Diplo's producer and engineer, he's that artist who gets his work in without you truly knowning how much he's actually done. From Wale's "Slight Work" to "Two Shots" by Lil Wayne, he is is the co-producer that consistently places EDM sounds in flawless pop records. He's produced for releases from RiFF RAFF, Three Loco, and even has Ninja Tune credits for remix production work on old Diplo material. The magnitude and amount of records that he's engineered and mixed is absolutely mind-blowing. He's the people's champion at Mad Decent.


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Was the mysterious UZ known prior to Mad Decent putting out his Trap Shit 6/9 EP? Of course he was; Trap Shit volumes 1-5 were getting loads of play from the biggest names in the trap scene. His first official release was on Jeffree's, though, and marked a point where the EDM trap sound was taken seriously. And while he's racked up an impressive number of remixes for 12th Planet, Alex Metric, and Foreign Beggars, the only other imprint to actually release his material was Boys Noize.

Dirty South Joe

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As long as we've known about Mad Decent, we've known about Dirty South Joe. The Philly branch of the Mad Decent empire is practically resting on the back of this uber-talented DJ that who has helped push the Mad Decent Mondays weekly to new heights. Mad Decent released the first two Luvstep releases that Joe and Flufftronix coordinated, highlighting a seductive take on the dubstep scene that many hadn't put a stamp on. Joe's rocked numerous Mad Decent Block Parties and Diplo & Friends, and is a key part of the heartbeat of the Mad Decent aesthetic.

Gent & Jawns

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Gent & Jawns' Jeffree's single "Holler" was well-received, but trainspotting bass music heads were salivating for the Gent & Jawns remix of "Express Yourself," which certified the duo's place in the current crop of speaker-rattling producers. We realized they were no flukes when their massive "Turn Up" was released, and you have to give it up to Mad Decent for the early look.


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Many might have already been up on this Canadian band, but thanks to their stellar performance of TNGHT's "Bugg'n" at last year's Block Party, BBNG received the heaps of praise and viral love that put them on a lot of peoples' radar screens.


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Astronomar is another artist that, while his first release might not have been a Mad Decent release, the path of his growth always comes back to the looks Diplo and co. give him. His Jeffree's/Mad Decent release "Back to the Beat" turned heads, but his remix work was featured on Mad Decent releases for Crookers, Expendable Youth, and Branko, letting us know that he's a force to be reckoned with. It makes sense that he blew us away by remixing another track from Diplo, taking the DJ Fresh collaboration "Earthquake" to new ground-shaking depths.

Djemba Djemba

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Djemba Djemba's 2012 Jeffree's release "Ok Ok Yeah That's Cool" let us know that trap music could be more than just the same 808 sounds back to back to back, incorporating some wicked marching band-ish drums into the mix. Since that release, we've kept a keen eye on this budding producer, and loved the recent Diplo & Friends mix he did alongside Mr. Carmack. Talk about the future sound of now.

Yellow Claw

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Yellow Claw's Amsterdam Trap Music let us know that Amsterdam was loving trap music (obvs). We imagine the regular American bass music public had no idea about this fact, though, and didn't until Jeffree's put us all on. And now we have another crew (who has been together for the last three years) to keep our ears glued to.

DJ Sega

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The industry has ignored DJ Sega for the past three years. At one point he was called Diplo's protégé, and has been continually destroyed the Mad Decent Block Party. His production is mind-blowing, but he can't seem to find a manager, nor does he have a major booking agent. This is an artist that we thank Mad Decent for championing, and is one that is forever turning up at Mad Decent events in the Philly area, but we can't help but be sad at how his career has sat in limbo.

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