Some may describe M.I.A as an angry, rebellious, lady rapper, but she proves those accusations to be untrue with her new album, “Matangi”.
Matangi streamed on YouTube a few days earlier than the actual release date: which was today. Matangi was M.I.A’s birth name, which means, goddess of music and learning. This album is intended to be a spiritual one, containing a journey and a few sprinkles of M.I.A spunk that her fans know so well.
Like her other albums, “Matangi” is an eclectic one. She uses a sample from the recently nationally recognized, Canadian young man, The Weeknd, and also references Drake. She voice has even been sampled in the song “Swagga Like Us” with T.I. Jay Z, Kanye and Lil Wayne. Be not mistaken, M.I.A follows no trend. Her unique Bollywood/hip-hop and rap style has kept her fans hooked.
Back to Drake. “Matangi” has a song called “Y.A.L.A” to replace the long lived acronym Y.O.L.O (no translation needed). Her new acronym stand for “You Always Live Again”. She said,” If you only live once, why we keep doing the same [stuff].” It seems to be a reference to her belief in karma, where everything runs in a circle.
Of course, fans should expect M.I.A to have a little fun. Her song, “Know it Ain’t Right” has sexual undertones: “We know it ain’t right but we do it anyway.”
One song in particular, “Bad Girls” was actually released last year in Feburary, but did the album justice as a “new” addition. She also has a track that she made a video for: “Bring the Noise”.
M.I.A is the only international Hindu, Sri Lanka native who has broken into the American music industry. From the outside looking in, she has been widely accepted in the American community: or so it seems.
M.I.A, also known as, Maya Arulpragasam, is not understood to be an intellectual who feels strongly about international and political issues. Maya wanted to act as the voice for Sri Lanka, like someone was the voice for the Kony campaign.
In “Matangi” M.I.A touches on her belief that America is not as welcoming to her as she had hoped in particular in her song “Boom(Skit)”. In that song she makes references to the attention brought to the Kony campaign of 2012. She did not feel like she received the support she should have for the dying people of Sri Lanka:
There’s a war coming to an end, but it’s not as easy as the government killing terrorists. It’s a lot of civilians getting killed, and they’re using chemical weapons,” said M.I.A to NPR. “When that whole Kony 2012 thing happened, millions of people got behind it, every artist. Oprah got behind it. This whole story about Jacob happened — he was a child soldier — and how everyone needed to go and catch Kony and bring him to justice…” said M.I.A.
“M.I.A. gives off the impression that she no longer sees music as a viable channel for her political firebrand in,” said Carrie Battan of Pitchfork. Contrary to that assumption, M.I.A has indeed not given up on music just yet.
It has been three years since she’s released a full length album, but has been keeping herself busy by creating a couple songs here and there and shooting for a documentary.
“…there’s a political angle, which is the documentary I wanted to shoot on Sri Lanka. Then there’s footage I shot when my brother came out of prison when he was like 16. And footage of this crazy mess with my personal life. They’re all interesting things you’re not going to get from a Beyonc? documentary,” said Arulpragasam to Pitchfork.com
M.I.A is an artist with a message and a philosophy. “Matangi” was released to retailers today, and is now available for purchase.