A decade before writing songs for Justin Bieber and co-headlining Madison Square Garden as Jack U, Diplo made his name with Florida, an eclectic, trip-hop-indebted album that featured Vybz Kartel and led to a gig opening for RJD2. Looking back, the DJ says that the record “represents my first 23 years of my life.”
“I made Florida between a small apartment in Philadelphia and my mother’s house in Florida,” he said in a statement. “I was working late nights and taking a bus through the city every night, smoking weed, putting on headphones and just making things I never heard before and could just imagine. Making this record created an entirely new world for me.”
Now, 10 years after its release, Florida is being reissued, packed with the Epistemology Suite EP and five unreleased tracks. Below, listen to one of the the latter: “As I Lay Dying,” a never-heard cut with rolling snares and a bouncing synth line sound remarkably up-to-date. Parts of the song led to “Into the Sun,” a track featuring Tricky collaborator Martina Topley-Bird that made the final cut and can also be streamed below. The full reissue comes out Black Friday on the record’s original label, Big Dada.
These days, aside from Jack U, his collaboration with Skrillex, and Major Lazer, his trio with Jillionaire and Walshy Fire, Diplo is working on a new album for Madonna. “We’ve written about seven songs now, and hopefully maybe four or five will make it to the album,” he said, a few months before appearing with her in the DJ booth at a Jeremy Scott Fashion Week afterparty. “The last night we were just having fun, and she was like, ‘Yo, give me some of the craziest shit you’ve got right now,’ and we literally wrote a song that night on the craziest record I had. And it worked. All of the best songs happen on a whim.”