EDM trio Major Lazer broke out in a big way in 2015 with “Lean On,” their electronic dancehall collaboration with Danish popstar MØ and DJ Snake, and last year’s Justin Bieber-featuring “Cold Water” solidified them as hitmakers. Now, the group, comprised of Diplo, Jillionaire, and Walshy Fire, have kicked off 2017 with “Run Up,” which features rappers Nicki Minaj and PARTYNEXTDOOR.
But it’s not just the guest list that makes the tune a headline grabber. The song also marks a decided shift in sound: modern African treatments replace the Jamaican rhythms they’re known for. EW caught up with super-producer and Mad Decent labelhead Diplo to talk about working with Minaj, moving away from dancehall, and performing in Cuba.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’ve said that Major Lazer has cut 30 new songs. Why was “Run Up” the right one to launch at the beginning 2017?
Diplo: Our songs always grow organically. Sometimes it takes six or seven months to become a big record. So this one felt like a summer song that we wanted to get it out in January. [Laughs]…