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Diplo Says ‘Lean On’ Was Initially Meant for Nicki Minaj or Rihanna

He calls the stars passing on it a "blessing in disguise"

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Major Lazer’s “Lean On” is an unmitigated success story for Diplo and his fellow producers, Walshy Fire and Jillionaire. It features Danish singer Mø singing scratchy, heartfelt vocals atop a squelchy, unmistakably Diplo melody, but the producer admits in a new interview with Time that he’d initially shopped the song to both Rihanna and Nicki Minaj as a slower reggae track. When they shot him down, he says, it was “a blessing in disguise. [MØ] sounds better than anybody was going to sound on that record. All we want to do is make the records feel like classics, even though they’re feeling progressive and strange to a normal ear.”

Diplo also took time to discuss his work with PC Music affiliate SOPHIE on Madonna’s most recent album. “I think Madonna’s manager was like, ‘Who is this person?’ and I was like, ‘Trust me, this is very cool to have him be part of this song,’” he tells Time. “PC Music is a really post-modern attempt at pop. It’s something the kids are generating because everything is so clean as far dance music [is concerned].”

Watch Diplo’s full Time interview here.