An In-Depth Look at ‘Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack U’
At first, the 24-hour Jack U internet takeover seemed like your run-of-the-mill LA house party, just a bit longer. An apartment, a kiddy pool filled with booze, internet food and LA scenesters — all the usual suspects were there. In retrospect, it wasn’t unusual for Skrillex and Diplo to stop by a LA house party for friends, music and Free Grilled Cheese. However, unknowingly to the attendants and live stream viewers, Skrillex and Diplo released their album, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack U, during the #24HoursofJackU music marathon.
Back in September of 2013, Skrillex and Diplo joined forces to create Jack U, a DJing outlet for major music festivals. This collaboration was predicted by many to be the supergroup of supergroups, the Batman and Superman of the EDM era. Whether or not the collaboration would have any musical longevity in the ever-changing electronic music landscape would remain to be seen. Just the year prior, Skrillex and Acid House maestro Boys Noize formed the dynamic duo Dog Blood, which to date has only release five original tracks across two EP’s, ending coincidently in September 2013.
Skrillex and Diplo are no stranger to collaborations. Both have worked with countless artists and producers in both the Pop and EDM realm. Diplo’s and Skrillex’s labels, Mad Decent and OWSLA respectively, boast rosters longer than Santa’s Naughty List, including heavy-hitters like Dillon Francis, Zeds Dead, Flosstradamus, Jack Beats and What So Not. With that many friends and family, you could have bet their album release party would have a few DJ cameos. In addition the DJ styling of Jack U, the #24HoursofJackU party saw cameo sets from A-Trak, Dillon Francis and Jauz, all before 12:30AM. And in rockstar, or stall we say EDM star, fashion the party was shut down by the police in the wee morning hours.
The album, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack U, has an uncanny similarity to the #24HoursofJackU marathon. The cover art is a tasteful photo collage of Skrillex, Diplo and friends at their finest, and all ten tracks on the album feature a topline artist or a budding musician soon to come into their own.
As expected, the album puts you nose-deep in bass, trill and the signature Skrillex screech. The album’s clear anthem, “Take U There” featuring stellar vocalist Kiesza, still holds as much of a punch as when it was released in September 2014. But the banger train doesn’t stop there. Every song, including a collaboration with 2 Chainz and a Missy Elliott remix, is festival or Zumba class ready.
In terms of substance, there are slivers here and there to grasp onto. The track “To U” featuring AlunaGeorge gives you an intermission between bangers, while “Mind” really settles things down with Kai’s intimate vocals and a slightly slower groove. The wildcard track of the album is “Where Are U Now” featuring Justin Bieber. Whether you hate or love the Biebs, the track is a nice change of pace to close out the originals on the album.
All in all, the album, like the Jack U collaboration itself, is an authentic microcosm of the current state of EDM. Musically, the heavy beats turn things up just enough to keep the trap hand moving, but not too much to scare away the EDM ignorant. The topline names get the clicks while the beats put a smile on their faces.