Mix and match
DIPLO & SANTOGOLD Top Ranking – A Diplo Dub Mad Decent There are times when history repeats itself. Back in 2004, a mixtape called Piracy Funds Terrorism began to do the rounds featuring banging remixes of tracks from M.I.A.’s as-then unreleased debut album, Arular. The mixtape was the handiwork of Diplo, a Florida DJ and producer, and it created a buzz of anticipation ahead of the release of Arular.
Fast-forward four years and Top Ranking is zipping around the houses as fast as people can download it. This time, the source tracks come from Santogold’s self-titled debut album, the one which was released earlier this summer to huge acclaim. Diplo is again at the controls and, again, the results are astonishing.
Of course, there are some differences between the two mixtapes. For a start, most listeners are already well familiar with Santogold’s sassy, swaggering stew of rock, reggae and r’n’b. In between these two releases, Diplo’s star has risen to the extent that he’s now established as the go-to guy for buckwild, booty-full productions and remixes, while his involvement with Brazil’s baile funk music-makers brought the spotlight to bear on that scene.
Top Ranking is a head-turning mix. Diplo puts a new spin on recognisable fare by dexterously recasting Santogold’s tracks as deep, bubbly dubs. There are some lovely moments, like a version of Lights Out by way of Panda Bear and a new take on I’m a Lady with Philly lady Amanda Black doing some fine hollering. There’s also a blissful cover of The Clash’s Guns of Brixton, redone as Guns of Brookyln.
Top Ranking works because Diplo stitches Santogold’s work into a bigger tapestry, which also features dubstep from Skream, reggae chatting from Warrior Queen and Sister Nancy, proper soul from Aretha Franklin, Big Easy slinkiness from Dixie Cups, and new-wave sass from Devo. The summer may have blanked Ireland this year, but the soundtrack has certainly arrived. www.maddecent.com
Diplo puts a new spin on Santogold’s swaggering stew of rock, reggae and r’n’b