Words by Jesse Serwer
Now, here’s an entertaining video that is sure to inspire all sorts of conflicting responses. “Original Don,” the first single from Major Lazer’s upcoming sophomore LP, is based around a Ninja Man sample but musically it’s closer to the European “hardstyle” of the song’s co-creators Party Squad than the punk-meets-’80s dancehall vibes of Diplo and Switch’s earlier work in one-armed commando mode.
Throw in some kitschy visuals where a staid suburban backyard scene turns into a surreal weapon-twirling exhibition slash Napoleon Dynamite-style weirdo dance routine. While we find the result enjoyable, we kinda get why one wouldn’t. The clip is par for the course for a project that, depending on who you talk with, is either rescuing dancehall from a slide into global irrelevance, or is the worst sort of cultural opportunism. Let’s see where this goes…
For those who are on team Major Lazer, can we recommend watching our LargeUp TV episode following Diplo in Kingston? And look out for the gullier, alternate mix of “Original Don” in our brand-new webisode with Jamaican dancer Ikon Tyquan.