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M.I.A. Ends Retirement, T.I. Spits Surprise Set at Diesel Party

October 14, 2008 4:15 PM ET

On Saturday night, the grand finale of Diesel's international 30th anniversary celebration brought M.I.A., Franz Ferdinand, T.I., N.E.R.D., Hot Chip and Chaka Khan together under one enormous, makeshift tent for a much-hyped Rock and Roll Circus. It was an event of unique collaborations and oddball extravagance, as 5,000 attendees flocked to Pier 3 at Brooklyn's waterfront for free carnival food and roaming freak circus acts, including fire eaters and sword swallowers. Overhead acrobats, marching bands, monsoons of confetti and two DJ sets from Benji and Joel Madden kept the crowd entertained between performances.

T.I. popped in for a surprise six-song set, and brought out M.I.A. to handle her sample on "Swagga Like Us." Franz Ferdinand backed the MC on "Live Your Life" before the Scots delved into their own 40-minute set (the longest of the night). Earlier, Hot Chip performed three songs before turning into Chaka Khan's band for three of her hits, including "I'm Every Woman."

Just after 1 a.m., M.I.A. ended her brief retirement, taking the stage in spandex and a short leather jacket that revealed her previously hidden pregnant stomach. She and Baltimore rapper Rye Rye ended the five-song set with crowd-favorite "Paper Planes" and an N.E.R.D. cameo. Pharrell repeated "Brooklyn, how do you feel?" and reminded the crowd, "We got to take advantage of this mothafuckin' moment!" N.E.R.D. did just that, managing to work in a climactic 15-minute set before the party ended at 2 a.m.

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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