Jack Ü’s mixtape turns five—celebrate with the duo’s 10 best moments
It has been half a decade since Skrillex and Diplo first teamed up as Jack Ü. To see two of the genre’s most formidable titans join up for a brief, albeit exciting run was one of the high points of EDM’s global boom, though all good things come to an end. After a stretch of show-stopping festival headlines and a rowdy self-titled mixtape, which turns five today (February 27), Jack Ü hung it up at the height of their run, ultimately leaving fans wanting more—a lot more. Now with Skrillex and Diplo off respectively producing pop, country, and a little bit of everything else in between, now seems like the perfect time to revisit some of the duo’s unforgettable milestones.
Debut at MDBP (2013)/ Ultra Music Festival (2014)
Considering the larger-than-life grandeur the project wound up embodying, Jack Ü’s arrival was relatively discreet. The duo first appeared on Mad Decent Block Party‘s San Diego lineup in September 2013, without much fanfare. That is, until Diplo informed the world on what Jack Ü actually meant. From there, it was mayhem. While, small select groups of Block Party attendees in late 2013 got to see the earliest iterations of Jack Ü, the duo would officially debut to the greater dance music world at Ultra Music Festival in Miami in the spring of 2014. To say the pair’s first main stage performance was explosive would be an understatement—it officially set the two-year course for Jack Ü’s world domination.
Selling out Madison Square Garden for New Years (2014)
2014 closed on a high note for dance music. On New Year’s Eve, the world’s eyes turn to New York City, the city known for having the biggest and best end-of-year festivities around. While Disclosure were bringing their groove to Pier 94, Jack Ü was busy selling out Madison Square Garden. Any artist will tell you that selling out MSG is a dream in itself, but doing it on the biggest night in NYC is an entirely different level. Bringing added support from A$AP Ferg, Yellow Claw, and more, Jack Ü became one of the first acts to sell out the legendary venue, and damn did they give New York City a run for their money at the onset of 2015.
An impromptu House party at Austin City Limits (2014)
Despite being a joint effort between the two unequivocally biggest DJs in the world at the time, Jack Ü’s heavily DIY-inspired ethos is truly what drove the project. Perhaps best embodied by Skrillex and Diplo’s impromptu Austin City Limits-adjacent performance in 2014, the pair took over a random house party in Austin for roof-raising back-to-back set that looked more like a scene from Project X than anything else. What a time to be alive.
Performing at the Los Angeles Clippers halftime show (2015)
Before Jack Ü began to see the massive radio and commercial success they would go on to achieve, one of the biggest milestones for the group was their halftime performance at the legendary Staples Center during a 2015 Clippers game. Skrillex and Diplo didn’t hold anything back for their set, enlisting the help of vocalists Kai, and Fly Boi Keno, and even Katy Perry’s infamous left shark (it was a simpler time). It was playful, it was maximum energy, and ultimately, it was a chance for mainstream media to catch a glimpse of an electronic supergroup breaking into global superstardom.
24-hour mixtape release party livestream (2015)
With the most DIY project rollout possible, immediately preceding their self-titled mixtape’s official release, Skrillex and Diplo hosted a 24-hour-long livestreamed house party to build up hype ahead of the mixtape’s drop. Revealing a full LP’s worth of material for friends in attendance and fans watching across the globe in real time, the party would ultimately get shut down by the cops (whack) only hours into the event. Though, not before this stunt cemented itself as one of the most ridiculous album release events in EDM history.
Performing “Where Are Ü Now” with Justin Bieber at Grammy Awards (2016)
In 2016, at the peak of Jack Ü’s powers, the group was invited to perform alongside Justin Bieber at the Grammys. The safe choice would have been to make a quick instrumental remix of their triple-platinum hit “Where Are Ü Now” for Bieber to sing over, but instead they turned the tropical-inspired dance-pop smash into a full-on rock song. Complete with a fully equipped band, Skrillex and Diplo’s performance not only further solidified their statuses as global superstars, but undoubtedly helped legitimize electronic music at the height of EDM’s global expansion.
Returning to Ultra with the whole posse (2015)
Mere months after teaming up, Jack Ü’s official debut came at Ultra Music Festival in the spring of 2014. So, it was only right that Skrillex and Diplo returned to Miami the following year to bring the big guns out. Though, just showing up and tearing the roof off of America’s largest dance festival alone wasn’t enough for Jack Ü. Officially billed as a Skrillex headlining slot, the pair pulled a fast one, taking over as Jack Ü with a superstar posse in tow that included Kiesza, CL, Kai, P. Diddy, and Justin Bieber for an unforgettable wrap to Ultra’s 17th edition.
A pair of rowdy Coachella performances (2016)
Perhaps the pinnacle of mainstream music success in the US is a Coachella booking. Not that Diplo or Skrillex needed any degree of validation, but their Outdoor Theater performances during both weekends of Coachella 2016 served as another legitimizing milestone for the duo. Their blended brand of fizzy, boisterous dance-pop had already breached the mainstream behind the ubiquity of their Justin Bieber-assisted “Where Are Ü Now,” and a slew of other high profile appearances over the previous two years. Kanye West and AlunaGeorge would even grace the stage for cameos during both weekend performances. By the tail end of 2016’s festival season though, the pair would announce their indefinite break, making Coachella one of the final marquee moments for Jack Ü.
“Where Are Ü Now” goes triple platinum (2015/2016)
Easily Jack Ü’s most commercially viable success was the duo’s inescapable “Where Are Ü Now.” The Justin Bieber-assisted smash would wind up on the Canadian pop star’s Purpose LP as well as Jack Ü’s mixtape, and eventually would go on to net Bieber his first Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording at the 2016 ceremony. Bieber would even join Skrillex and Diplo for a live rendition of the collaboration at the Grammys that year. More than just Gramophone fodder though, the track largely served as the catalyst for reviving Bieber’s career at the time. The critically lauded music video for “Where Are Ü Now” called for fan-submitted art, ultimately coming together as a colorful patchwork of crowd-sourced visuals from fans across the world. The tune climbed into the top 10 on the US charts, grabbed the No. 1 slot in the UK, and collected a triple platinum designation from the RIAA, ultimately serving as the Jack Ü project’s most lasting impression.
Diplo says it’s not over yet (2019)
In the summer of 2019, Diplo took to social media to drum up some seemingly out-of-the-blue Jack Ü hype. Doubling down in the fall of last year, Diplo alluded to more joint material with Skrillex possibly underway in an interview with Rolling Stone. “I think Skrillex has a lot of material he’s been gearing to release,” said Diplo. “When that happens I think we might be able to do some new stuff, but I’ve worked on a to of ideas for the project. It’s all in due time. There’s not any rush for it or anything.” With 2016’s project-halting buildup of record industry red tape now long in the rearview mirror for both artists, perhaps 2020 is the year Jack Ü returns. We’ll just have to wait and see.