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Born Dijon McFarlane, Mustard got into music when his uncle encouraged him to DJ a family party at age 11. Taking the name DJ Mustard as a pun on his first name "Dijon" he grew increasingly more interested in his craft and would eventually DJ at local clubs and bars in the Los Angeles area. A friendship with Compton rapper YG marked the beginning of Mustard's foray into making music for a living, as early in his own career YG was one of the first artists to collaborate with the budding producer. Mustard first provided beats for YG's 2009 mixtape The Real 4Fingaz, developing a sound that was hard-edged but danceable. This partnership proved successful and Mustard worked as producer on YG's mixtapes and many of his tracks.
Starting with a Top Ten single for Tyga in 2011, Mustard's sound quickly developed with a string of commercial hits for rap and R&B artists. Over the next several years, his slick but edgy sound graced charting singles like 2 Chainz's "I'm Different," YG's "My N***a," Jeremih's club smash "Don't Tell 'Em," T.I.'s duet with Iggy Azalea "No Mediocre," Big Sean's aggressive "I Don't F**k with You," Omarion's anthemic "Post to Be," and many, many others.
Mustard's distinctive beats set trends for pop radio and he applied his artistry to his solo work. A debut 2013 mixtape titled Ketchup was the first collection under his own name, and his debut studio album, Ten Summers, followed in August of the next year. Ten Summers cracked the Billboard Top 200 and rose as high as number 20 on the hip-hop/R&B charts. Guest appearances from a star-studded cast of rap superstars graced the record, including cameos from Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Rick Ross, Nipsey Hussle, Ty Dolla $ign, and many others. Mustard's sophomore album, Cold Summer, arrived in 2016, featuring the single "Don't Hurt Me" with guest appearances from Nicki Minaj and Jeremih.
Mustard continued his now-standard dominance of the charts, growing with the changing times of rap and R&B by sculpting beats for younger stars like Cardi B, Demi Lovato, and 21 Savage. In 2019, his third album, Perfect Ten, arrived with guest features from Gunna, Young Thug, Migos, and many others on the LP's brief ten tracks. "Ballin'," Mustard's collaborative single with Roddy Ricch was nominated in the Best Rap/Sung Performance for the 2020 Grammys. ~ Fred Thomas