Major Lazer is an Electronic Dance Music production project. The main purpose was to mix Reggae and Electronic Music together into a seamless package that would fill dance clubs all around the world. Originally, it was a duo consisting of Diplo and Switch, who were introduced to each other while working with M.I.A.. Together, they recorded their 2009 debut album Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do in Kingston, Jamaica. It reached moderate commercial success, charting on the Billboard 200 and making them a true name in the ever-growing EDM scene. Unfortunately, Switch left in 2011, with Diplo citing Creative Differences, and he was replaced by Walshy Fire and Jillionaire, turning the project into a trio. Jillionaire left the group in 2019 and his replacement is Ape Drums.
In 2013, they released their second album Free the Universe. It proved to be a bigger success than their first, hitting the Top 40 and solidifying themselves as stars. In 2015, their they dropped their third album Peace Is The Mission, which made it up to #12. More impressively, it produced the absolutely massive crossover hit "Lean On", their collaboration with DJ Snake featuring MØ, which placed in the Top 5 in almost every country in the world including the United States, and became (for a while) the most streamed song on Spotify of all time.
They are currently working on their fourth album, Music is the Weapon. The first single produced was "Cold Water", featuring Justin Bieber and MØ, which also became a smash hit (though largely due to Bieber's presence). It was later put on their Major Lazer Essentials album as Music is the Weapon has been delayed. What once started as a pet project has grown into one of the biggest EDM groups on the market.
They're popular enough to produce their own television series. For tropes related to the show, see that page.
- Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do (2009)
- Free the Universe (2013)
- Peace Is The Mission (2015)
- Bowdlerize: When a cover of "Lean On" was featured in a Volvo commercial, the lyric "Blow a kiss, fire a gun" was changed to "Blow a kiss into the sun".
- I Am the Band: Diplo, by virtue of being the only original member. Downplayed in that the lineup of Diplo, Walshy Fire, and Jillionaire was solid after Switch left, not to mention the latter two are also equal contributors to the creative process.
- Intercourse with You: "Powerful", while being a love song, also has hints at sex.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The albums are full of features, a count of each include:
- Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do: 20
- Free the Universe: 32 (the biggest roster to date)
- Peace is the Mission: 15 (not counting uncredited performers and the deluxe edition), 22 (counting them)
- Music is the Weapon: 24 (and counting)
- More Popular Spin Off: Major Lazer started as Diplo's pet project, but has become more commercially successful than the man himself, hence his increased focus on Major Lazer over time.
- Multinational Team: Diplo is American, Switch was British, Walshy Fire is Jamaican, and Jillionaire is Trinidadian.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: More-or-less the main point. It started as a means to combine dancehall and EDM seamlessly, and eventually grew to add influences of pop, hip-hop, African, Indian and Middle Eastern music. They also do different types of electronic music, which largely depends on the song.
- New Sound Album: As mentioned above, their first album was mainly reggae mixed with EDM, but other influences were added along the way in their later releases.
- Special Guest: There are a lot of guests who collaborate with Major Lazer, ranging from massive stars to lesser-known names. The most common type being reggae/dancehall performers, but there are artists from all sorts of genres who show up, some you wouldn't expect. Listing them here would take all day, but fortunately they're all credited so they can easily be found on The Other Wiki.
- Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: "Bubble Butt", obviously.
- The Power of Friendship: "Lean On" is about this.
- Token White: Diplo is the only white member of the trio. Also, as you can imagine, the vast majority of featured artists on each album are black, but there are a few white artists here and there.
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: Some songs feature rappers starting from Free the Universe, giving it this effect. Inverted with "Night Riders", which has three rappers and one dancehall musician showing up at the end.