Thomas Wesley Pentz, aka Diplo, is an internationally famous DJ and record producer who makes music for the world's biggest acts from Justin Bieber to Beyonce. The EDM aficionado has generated such a vortex of attention over the past few years that he's actually getting a mockumentary-style show made about him starring James Van Der Beek. "What Would Diplo Do" premieres on Viceland on Aug. 3, 2017, and Diplo serves as an executive producer. In anticipation of his new venture, Wonderwall.com has collated a list of 16 things you should know about the DJ. Read on!
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1. He's charitable
Diplo doesn't just create #1 hits, he also pays it forward. Through his label, Mad Decent, Diplo founded Heaps Decent, an Australian-based social relief program that works with young people and emerging artists from marginalized communities.
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2. He's taken anger management class
After Diplo was arrested in 2011 at The Standard Hotel in Manhattan following a bar brawl, he was ordered to attend anger management classes. The fight even caused him to miss a recording session with Beyonce! In an interview with GQ the DJ said, "The first thing I said in my anger management class was, 'I know everybody's gonna say this, but I definitely don't belong here.' The lady was like, 'Yeah, whatever. Shut up and read this book.'"
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3. He's a father of two
It may come as a surprise that this bad boy DJ its actually a dad of two! He shares Lockett, 6, and Lazer, 2, with on-again, off-again girlfriend Kathryn Lockhart. He shares custody of his sons and even brought them as his dates to the 2017 GRAMMY Awards. Aw.
4. He's the founder of an electronic music supergroup
Beyond his own solo creations and collaborations, Diplo is the founder of the dancehall trio Major Lazer, which started in 2009 and includes fellow DJs Jilionare and Walshy Fire. He's also one-half of Grammy-winning dance duo, Jack Ü, alongside Skrillex.
5. He used to be a teacher
Before he shot to fame and fortune, Diplo used to be a school teacher. He worked in an after-school care program where he instructed kids on math, reading, and extracurricular activities. He's also passionate about raising awareness for the value of teachers. He told Complex in an interview in April 2012, "There's no respect for teachers. There's no respect. There's no money. There's no room to grow in that job. I always wanted to do more. I still want to incorporate working with kids, but nobody seems to care. I am trying to raise awareness with that."
6. He closely relates to "Mad Men" protagonist Don Draper
Diplo and Don Draper…one in the same? Before you jump to conclusions, at least hear Diplo out. In a June 2017 interview with GQ, he shared that his favorite show ever is "Mad Men." "From the styling to the communication… I feel like Don Draper is a lot like me, in a lot of ways. Deep down he's trying to be a good person but it's almost impossible, ya know? For him to be successful and happy is a challenge," the DJ shared. In addition to "Mad Men," Diplo also loves the TV shows "Atlanta" and "Iron Fist."
7. He dated Katy Perry
Diplo dated none other than "Chained to the Rhythm" singer Katy Perry, pictured here alongside Madonna (who Diplo collaborated with in 2015) and Moschino designer Jeremy Scott. Katy and Diplo were first linked during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April 2014, but the relationship fizzled out by late May 2014. Scandalously enough, in June 2017 Katy ranked him third (Orlando Bloom came in second place, John Mayer in first) in her roster of sexual conquests. Diplo, clearly bothered by her candid utterance tweeted in response, "I don't even remember having sex." Ouch.
8. He studied anthropology and film
Diplo studied anthropology and film as an undergraduate at Temple University. All the while, he created a series of underground parties in Philadelphia, which paved the way for his career in the underground dance music scene. Eventually, he dropped out of school to pursue his music career full-time.
9. He loves dinosaurs
Surprisingly, the name Diplo didn't emanate from his desire to literally make fans "dip it low" on the dance floor. He told The Guardian in November 2012 that he chose the pseudonym because his favorite dinosaur is a Diplodocus.
10. He's a fashionista
Being one of the most in-demand DJs in the world with good bone structure pretty much guarantees that designers want to dress you — and Diplo has embraced high style with open arms. He's been the subject of numerous GQ fashion spreads, modeled for Alexander Wang, and attended the Met Gala since 2014.
11. He's wordly
Diplo is known for fusing together sonics from different cultures to create a sound that becomes uniquely "Diplo." That sound concept came from Diplo's vast travel experience in combination with his diverse upbringing. He journeyed to India for six months and worked for the Red Cross. He once traveled to Brazil and completely immersed himself in the musical customs of the country. As a kid, he told Fader Magazine in May 2017 that his neighborhood was, "middle class, working class, Jamaican, Haitian, Jewish, white kids from the country—it was kinda like a really mixed area, you know? I went to everything from Bar Mitzvahs to Haitian restaurants and Mexican restaurants."
12. He produced M.I.A.'s song "Paper Planes"
The unforgettable early-aughts track "Paper Planes" was written and produced by the singer M.I.A. and Diplo. The song peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. and is regarded as one of the biggest songs of the decade. The two artists dated on-and-off for a period of 5 years before ending in a tumultuous way — with both M.I.A and Diplo speaking out about his jealousy and control issues that ensued when she was signed by Interscope Records and garnered mainstream success. Since then, they patched things up and worked together on a tune in 2016.
13. He's a Southern boy
Diplo was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and was subsequently raised in Daytona Beach, Florida.
14. He's an entrepreneur
Like all high profile entertainment superstars, Diplo has capitalized on his own personal brand. Over the years, he's become a product endorser for Axe, Diesel, and BlackBerry and a technology investor for Phhhoto, a GIF sharing app. He told Fast Company in November 2014, "I think one of the reasons I've been successful is that I can see things before other people do," he said. "I've always been able to do it."
15. He was the first major EDM artist to perform in Cuba
With his group Major Lazer, Diplo made history by becoming the first major EDM act to perform in Havana, Cuba, since diplomatic ties were restored with the U.S. 500,000 people reportedly turned out for the free show in March 2016 outside the American Embassy.
16. He has an eclectic palette
Diplo recently revealed the strangest thing he ever ate on tour in a June 2017 interview with GQ — baby eggs! Eat Your World explains that the delicacy, referred to as "balut" in Filipino, is a "16-to-21-day-old fertilized boiled egg that contains not only a yolk but also a semi-developed duck embryo." Diplo explained, "You eat the whole egg with the baby in it, but I don't get too risky while on tour because I don't want to get sick. The worst thing that can happen on tour is getting sick because then you have cancel shows and rehab yourself." Oy.