SHEENA BARNETT: Can two kings share a crown?



Elvis takes all of the world-famous-musician-born-in-Tupelo glory, and he should.

But he isn’t the only world-famous musician who was born in Tupelo.

This Sunday, internationally famous DJ and producer Wesley Pentz, better known to music fans as Diplo, will celebrate his 35th birthday. And 35 years ago on Sunday, Diplo was born in Tupelo.

Diplo has released his own albums and EPs – most recently, “Revolution,” released Sept. 10 – but he’s also known as the guy who produced a score of hit songs.

He earned a Grammy nomination for producing rapper M.I.A.’s platinum-selling hit single, “Paper Planes.”

He’s also worked with Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, Drake, Robyn, Lil Wayne, No Doubt, Usher, Santigold, Justin Bieber, Azealia Banks, Bruno Mars, Marina and the Diamonds and more.

He manages his record label, Mad Decent, and is a co-creator of the music project Major Lazer.

He’s brought marginalized music, like Brazilian baile funk, back into dance clubs all over the world. In 2009, Diplo debuted his first film, “Favela on Blast,” a documentary about the slum favelas of Rio de Janerio and the thriving baile funk music scene found there.

He also founded a children’s charity, Heaps Decent.

Many TV watchers saw him in a BlackBerry commercial a few years ago, where he was credited as a “music innovator.” The minute-long ad showed Diplo traveling all over the world, working in the studio and performing in front of huge crowds.

If you want to hear truly trippy, unique beats and remixes, Diplo is your man.

His biography on his record label’s website reads, “Born in Tupelo, Miss., in 1978, Pentz spent most his childhood in Florida working in his father’s bait shop and being turned onto music through then-new mediums like MTV.”

In fact, nearly every Diplo biography – written either by his publicist or a music journalist – mentions that he was born in Tupelo.

I emailed his publicist to see if he’d be willing to talk about his obviously very early years in town, but I never heard back.

I get the impression from his biography that his family might not have stayed in Tupelo for very long before moving to Florida.

Still, I think it’s cool that he gives the All-America City a shout-out.

He may not have stayed here long, but he recognizes where he came from – just like another world-famous musician born in Tupelo.

Check out Diplo online at his label’s site,, and he’s on Twitter at @diplo.

Sheena Barnett is entertainment reporter for the Daily Journal. Contact her at (662) 678-1580 or

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