25 Songs, 1 Hour 29 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Major Lazer’s animated “frontman” might be a bearded, beret-wearing soldier-cyborg who appears to have been lifted from a lost G.I. Joe episode, but the group itself is so much more. Beyond core members Diplo, Jillionaire, and Walshy Fire, Major Lazer is a moveable feast—the product of all its principals’ musical influences, their collaborators, and the places to which they've traveled in their decade of existence. Essentials is a sprawling introduction to the band’s biggest tracks and a glimpse into the vast array of cultures it folds into its cohesive musical vision. Recorded at Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Studio in Jamaica, 2009’s “Pon de Floor” mixes dancehall and Brazilian baile funk with a few choice lines from Kingston deejay Vybz Kartel. A languid house beat underpins “Lean On,” their 2015 team-up with France’s DJ Snake and Danish singer MØ. And Bruno Mars, Tyga, and Mystic feature on 2013’s more-than-suggestive, hip-hop-inspired dance track “Bubble Butt.” In addition to those and plenty of other key singles, Essentials also includes four newer tracks: Collabs with Mr. Eazi, Burna Boy, Kizz Daniel, and Babes Wodumo weave Afrobeats and gqom vibes seamlessly into Major Lazer’s borderless sound.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Major Lazer’s animated “frontman” might be a bearded, beret-wearing soldier-cyborg who appears to have been lifted from a lost G.I. Joe episode, but the group itself is so much more. Beyond core members Diplo, Jillionaire, and Walshy Fire, Major Lazer is a moveable feast—the product of all its principals’ musical influences, their collaborators, and the places to which they've traveled in their decade of existence. Essentials is a sprawling introduction to the band’s biggest tracks and a glimpse into the vast array of cultures it folds into its cohesive musical vision. Recorded at Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Studio in Jamaica, 2009’s “Pon de Floor” mixes dancehall and Brazilian baile funk with a few choice lines from Kingston deejay Vybz Kartel. A languid house beat underpins “Lean On,” their 2015 team-up with France’s DJ Snake and Danish singer MØ. And Bruno Mars, Tyga, and Mystic feature on 2013’s more-than-suggestive, hip-hop-inspired dance track “Bubble Butt.” In addition to those and plenty of other key singles, Essentials also includes four newer tracks: Collabs with Mr. Eazi, Burna Boy, Kizz Daniel, and Babes Wodumo weave Afrobeats and gqom vibes seamlessly into Major Lazer’s borderless sound.

TITLE TIME

About Major Lazer

A conceptual EDM act based around a fictional character, Major Lazer launched in 2008 as the digital reggae/dancehall project of Diplo, the globetrotting, taste-making DJ/producer whose previous collaborations included work for M.I.A. and Santigold. Recorded at Jamaica's Tuff Gong studios, Major Lazer's debut album, Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do, featured producer Switch as a member. Vocal contributions came from noted dancehall stars including Vybz Kartel, Busy Signal, Mr. Vegas, and Turbulence, as well as Santigold, Nina Sky, and rapper Amanda Blank. Much anticipation and online chatter were fueled in part by the novelty video/song "Zumbi," featuring the comedian Andy Milonakis, the frenetic, legitimate lead single "Hold the Line," and a goofy, invented back-story about a renegade Jamaican commando with prosthetic laser arms who was allegedly a Zombie War veteran and vampire-fighting C.I.A. operative (but was demonstrably a rampant Twitter user). The album was released in June of 2009 as a joint venture between Downtown Records and Diplo's Mad Decent label. Lazers Never Die, an EP with two new songs and three remixes, followed in 2010, along with Lazerproof, a collaborative mixtape with the English electropop duo La Roux.

In 2012, Snoop Dogg joined Diplo for the digital reggae single "La La La," released under the name Snoop Lion, while Switch announced he was leaving the project. Likewise, hype man Skerrit Bwoy left in order to pursue religion. Diplo carried on with producer Jillionaire, joining the group for Free the Universe, the group's sophomore album. The 2013 release featured Wyclef, Bruno Mars, Vybz Kartel, and Shaggy on its long guest list. Sean Paul and Pharrell Williams joined the party for the 2014 EP Apocalypse Soon, which was also the first Major Lazer release to include Walshy Fire, who had replaced Skerrit Bwoy as the group's live MC. The 2015 album Peace Is the Mission featured the massive hit "Lean On," plus chart-topping guests like Ariana Grande, Ellie Goulding, and 2 Chainz. It was also supported by an animated series that aired on the FXX cable television network. An extended edition of Peace Is the Mission appeared in November of 2015, sporting five bonus songs. In 2016, Major Lazer scored their biggest pop hit yet with "Cold Water" (featuring Justin Bieber and MØ), which topped the charts in over a dozen countries. The first single from their forthcoming 2017 LP, "Cold Water," was followed in late 2016 by "Believer," which featured production by the Dutch duo Showtek. "Run Up," the album's third single, arrived in early 2017 and was a collaboration with Nicki Minaj and PartyNextDoor. The six-song EP Know No Better appeared in June; its title track featured Travis Scott, Camila Cabello, and Quavo. Other guests on the release included Sean Paul, Busy Signal, Konshens, and Jidenna. ~ K. Ross Hoffman

ORIGIN
Kingston, Jamaica
FORMED
2008

Songs

Albums

Videos