Diplo, Frank Ocean and Half of the Clash Join Forces on “Hero”

Andrew Parks

By Andrew Parks

on 03.10.14 in News

As much as people hate on Diplo, we had high hopes for “Hero,” a Converse-funded collaboration between the Mad Decent founder, Frank Ocean and The Clash‘s most active surviving members, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon. After all, Diplo’s one undisputed contribution to avant-pop music is the M.I.A. single “Paper Planes,” which deftly blends cash drawers, gunshots and a “Straight to Hell” sample that hopefully got a few kids to give Combat Rock a chance.

The producer also made sure to say this last week: “The Clash were always teachers to me, even before I shared a studio with Paul and Mick. Their musical anarchy and constant attitude to disregard rules and forge their own path was inspirational to me. They meant death to genres, music and message above everything. Frank lives by the same creed in being married to his vision and seeing it through at any cost. We had to challenge each other to make something that we hope no one could expect and Converse valued everyone’s artistic freedom to let us shine throughout the past few months to make this thing happen.”

While all of that may be true, “Hero” is as clumsy as these well-meaning collabs often end up being, cramming the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir, lean bass lines, a clean rap-rock chorus, hammock-like hooks, and verses that are vapid at best into a commercial-friendly 2:45 edit. Not exactly anyone’s finest hour, and right around when Christopher Edwin Breaux made Frank Ocean his legal name too…