Artist of the Week: M.I.A.

M.I.A. may have shot to the top of the public eye with her smash single “Paper Planes” and Academy Award-nominated collaborative work on A.R. Rahman’s soundtrack to ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, but she’s no newcomer to the music scene.  Moving back to her native Sri Lanka as a baby, her father was a political activist during the Sri Lankan Civil War.  These struggles in her childhood inspired the political nature of her music, for which Time Magazine placed her in 2009’s Time 100 list of “World’s Most Influential People” for having “global influence across many genres”.

M.I.A. is not afraid to speak her mind and stir up a little controversy.  Earlier this week, the music video for her new single “Born Free” hit the internet by force; a short film which Rolling Stone calls “likely the most disturbing video you’ll see all year: a nearly nine-minute-long comment on military violence, discrimination and how the media depicts shocking imagery.”  The video was quickly buried on YouTube, but the explicit version can still be found on her official website.  With her third album set for release on June 29th, there’s no doubt that we can expect more of M.I.A.’s powerful and poignant political messages flowing over this summer’s airwaves.

Sounds Like:
According to Diplo, M.I.A.’s new album sounds like “Gucci Mane meets Animal Collective” … whatever that means.
We’ll just have to wait until June to find out!

Similar to: Santigold, Lady Sovereign, Bonde Do Role, Major Lazer + The Streets

About:
“Regardless of how you square with her politics, her willingness to continue the muckracking is admirable, if not dimension-adding. Don’t forget, she’s rubbing elbows with the likes of Interscope and Timbaland now; for all the choices she might have made and the audiences she might have aimed at, the fresh-sounding, adventurous, and not-exactly-accessible Kala is the kind of record that obviously demanded a defined personal vision.”
– Pitchfork

“There are … bird calls, Indian drummers, rapping Aboriginal children and eerie glitch-and-grind beats that’d make Thom Yorke puke with envy. With M.I.A. spitting catchy rhymes and id-channeling reveries, the overall sound is something like a inimitable female MC collaborating with robots and ghosts in a jungle – thickly detailed electro-rap both primal and futuristic.”
– Rolling Stone

Links:
MySpace

Official Website
Watch M.I.A.’s video for “Paper Planes”
Follow M.I.A. on Twitter
M.I.A. in the 2009 TIME 100

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~ by vapormusic on April 29, 2010.

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