Major Lazer began as the white duo of Los Angeles producer Thomas "Diplo" Pentz and English-born producer David "Switch" Taylor.
Diplo was originally a Philadelphia dj known for his mixtape Never Scared (2003) and the album Florida (2004), but would soon become a famous producer working with pop stars such as Britney Spears and Beyonce.
Switch had produced Maya M.I.A. Arulpragasam's Arular (2005).
They decided to travel to Jamaican and make an album of reggae/dancehall music
with local collaborators. The result was
Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do (2009),
guest vocalists and rappers (Mr Evil, Vybz Cartel, T.O.K., Busy Signal, Mr Vegas, Turbulence, Santigold, Nina Sky, Amanda Blank), a parade of charming and
sometimes nostalgic revisitations of the genre for the digital dancefloor
(Hold The Line
Can't Stop Now, What You Like, Cash Flow, Anything Goes,
After the EP Lazers Never Die (2010),
Switch left in 2011, replaced by Trinidad's dj Christopher "Jillionaire" Leacock and Florida's rapper Walshy Fire (Leighton Walsh) for the second album
Free the Universe (2013) and for the third album
Peace Is the Mission (2015), that contains the hit of future bass
Lean On, a collaboration with French dj William "DJ Snake" Grigahcine, and Danish singer Karen "MO" Andersen.
In 2019 Jillionaire left too and was replaced by Texan dj Ape Drums (Eric Alberto-Lopez).
Diplo is also a member
of the duo Jack U with Skrillex that released
Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack U (2015),
of the duo Silk City with fellow white producer Mark Ronson that released the
hit single Electricity (2018),
and of the trio LSD with Austrialian singer Sia Furler and English singer Timothy "Labrinth" McKenzie that released Labrinth, Sia & Diplo Present LSD (2019).
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