Here for another Fresh to Death music review. For today it will be one of my favorite artist M.I.A with her newest album Matangi.
Skills: MC, beat maker, fashion designer
Type: hip-hop, electronic beats & Indian beats
Now you might remember MIA from two things, her 2009 single “Paper Plains” which was in the movie Slumdog Millionaire and her performance with Madonna at the Super Bowl and all that controversy.
But she is more then that way more.
She was born on the Indian island of Sri Lanka and spent most of her rocky childhood there before felling the country due to the massive civil war and her father’s political involvement in it. She spent most of her teenage years in Britain and learned to speak English.
Growing up in Sri Lanka during the war her family had little but where happy people, which she speaks a lot about on her albums. Her first two albums where named after her parents Arular and Kala even though her dad had little involvement in her life due to his political activism, and even asked her to change the name of the album but she refused.
When coming up with a name for herself, MIA or Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam which is her birth name she picked MIA or Missing in Action after her cousin who during the war went MIA and they haven’t found him.
MIA says her her influences came during the late ’80s radio broadcast which lead to her love of hip-hop and dancehall. She was big into Public Enemy and London Posse. Once in college punk music caught her eye and she started listening to britpop and the Clash.
By 2003 she was a hit in the underground scene for her fashion and her records with hits like “Galang” and “Sunshowers” for their dancehall, electro world music vibe and lyrical content. In 2005 she put out Arular the ode to her father which talked a lot about her past, the Iraq war and life in London. A hit single off the album was “Bucky Done Gun”.
In 2006 when her next hard hitting album came out Kala an ode to her mother she was met with much satisfaction. It took her a while due to visa mishaps to finish the album but eventually did so in the US. By 2007 she put out songs like “Bird Flu”, “Jimmy” and “Come Around” a song featuring and produced by Timberland himself. Her biggest hit to date came in 2008 with her next single “Paper Planes” which went three times platinum.
By 2009 she started on her third studio album writing it in a studio in LA after starting up her own indie record label N.E.E.T. Maya was a bit different from her first two release and kind of went left field. MIA had become know for her political and social lyrics and content and always used her music to push that box. In early 2010 her song “Born Free” was leaked online with the music video which depicted a genocide against ginger kids and caused controversy due to the graphic nature. Her next single XXXO and one of my favorites “Internet Connection” is all about the power the internet has over people.
In 2012 her latest project came about Matangi which I will be reviewing for you all today.
So Matangi which is her birth name was a Hindu goddess of poetry which she took her inspiration from. Now I know Matangi doesn’t sound like Arular, Kala or even MAYA but why should it. Music is suppose to evolve. Anyway I find the record to be less political and social heavy as previous albums (although it’s still there a little). Her big single for the album is “Bad Girls” which is her biggest single yet.
Favorites: “Only 1 You”- celebrating all that is you cause you are original and there is only one you.
“Y.A.L.A”- its kind of a play on words on YOLO with you always live again taken from the Hindu believe of reincarnation (which I believe in). “if we only live once why we keep doin the same shit?”
“Double Bubble Trouble”- didn’t like it at first but it’s grown on me. Really there is no really context to this song it’s just got a dope beat and random lyrics.
“Bring the Noise”- just her hot and spit firing lyrics. If your mad or pumped up listen to this song.
“aTENTion”- another kind of mindless song where it kind of just spits out words with tent in them. Good beat though.
“Boom Skit”- she basically is making fun of herself and all the stuff people say about her. She even talks about the Madonna Super Bowl snub.
“Exodus” & “Sexodus”- the beat was taken from a Weeknd song and the lyrics are about well they talk about riding like crusader yea by the Christian dust. R&B feel good music a first for MIA.
Over all this album gets a B+ it’s got that MIA flavor but misses the mark slightly. This is her most commercial album yet in terms of how she produced it and doesn’t have her daily dose of social lyrics as much but it’s still a dope record. Listen to it on Spotify or YouTube and her other music and you decide. I think she is a bright talent and we need that especially in the hip-hop game today.