In just three years, DJ Snake has slithered his way to superstardom. Signing to Diplo’s Mad Decent label in 2013, the French producer (born William Grigahcine) debuted to the masses in a big way: one of his first releases—the raucous, Lil Jon-featuring “Turn Down for What”—snowballed into a viral hit, getting multiple features in film and television (plus a Grammy nod for its music video), and its defiant namesake phrase becoming engrained in pop culture slang.
Fast forward three years, and it’s clear that DJ Snake has stayed the collaborative path, each team-up bigger than the last. In 2014, “Get Low” with Dillon Francis soundtracked a national Taco Bell commercial; and 2015’s massive crossover hit “Lean On” with Major Lazer and MØ took on a life of its own, becoming Spotify’s most-streamed song and its music video surpassing one billion views on YouTube in January of this year—a first for a track made by electronic music artists. In August, he released his debut album Encore, which features major artists such as Skrillex, Young Thug, Travis Scott, and Justin Bieber.
DJ Snake’s many collaborations may elevated his profile, but as it turns out, he was already an artist in demand before Mad Decent came calling. Below, we list five pop songs you may not have known he had a hand in making—including one that almost landed him a Grammy.
Despite all the grief Pitbull gets for bandwagoning onto the dance music train, the Miami rapper was clued into the genre’s party-starting power early on, recruiting DJ Snake to co-produce “Shut It Down,” off his 2009 album Rebelution, alongside Clinton Sparks. Buzzing throughout with electro synth stabs, the track is clearly a dated relic of pre-EDM America, as well as of pre-fame Snake.
Lady Gaga – “Government Hooker”
The beat for “Government Hooker,” off Lady Gaga’s second album, Born This Way, originally came from an old track that DJ Snake made with Paul Blair aka DJ White Shadow. As Blair told MTV, one night, years later, he played a sped-up version for Gaga and her team, and almost instantly “Government Hooker” was born. Dramatic electro-pop rife with bleeps, bloops, a jagged bassline, it debuted during a Paris fashion show. The album—and Snake, by association—was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2012 Grammys.
Jordan Knight – “One More Night”
Leave it to DJ Snake to make an old kid on the block new again. Jordan Knight, most known as the lead singer of 80s boy band New Kids On The Block, pursued a solo career between the group’s 1994 breakup and 2008 reunion. “One More Night,” off his 2011 LP Unfinished, is a far cry from his boy band days, nabbing Snake and Sparks to breathe some dance-pop du jour into the track, resulting in a breathy, big-room number that lets his crowd-wailing croon take center stage.
Deep into the dance music revival, Pitbull recruited Snake and Sparks again for his 2011 album Planet Pit, combining dance music’s skyrocketing synthwork with calypso rhythms by sampling Trinidadian artist Lord Kitchener’s 1946 song “Jump in the Line (Shake, Señora).”
Lady Gaga – “Applause”
Apparently a fan of their work on “Government Hooker,” Lady Gaga brought on Snake and DJ White Shadow to work their magic on her 2013 album Artpop, for which Snake co-wrote grandiose lead single “Applause.” He’s also credited on “Sexxx Dreams” and R. Kelly collaboration “Do What You Want.”