M.I.A. has released an alternative version of her A.I.M. track “A.M.P. (All My People),” a much more club-ready mix of the hip-hop/world anthem. The track is co-produced by Switch, Riton, and the singer herself. She tweeted the new music with the caption “Don’t be a dick and remove it” – take a listen below.
M.I.A. released her fifth studio album, A.I.M., in September, to mixed reviews. She’s announced more than once plans to retire from music – rumors have swirled that this album could likely be her last. We hope that’s not the case – we still listen to “Paper Planes” at least twice a week – but for now, we’ll have to settle for new remixes and revisiting old videos. For instance, the politically charged clip for her song “Borders”:
M.I.A.’s new album, AIM, comes out Sept 9, and we’re freaking out. She’s already released two singles off the record, “Borders” and “Go Off,” and AIM is already proving to be just the thing we needed to get through this summer. Now, she’s blessed us with “Bird Song,” produced by Blaqstarr.
Take a listen below.
The singer/rapper also teased an alternate remix of “Bird Song” produced by Diplo, which should be out later this week. And Pitchfork reports she’s also collaborated with Zayn Malik on the album, on a track called “Freedun.”
In an interview with Pitchfork, M.I.A. suggested that AIM would be her “final album,” as well as her “cleanest.” While we’ve still got “Paper Planes” saved to our offline Spotify playlists, we’re intrigued to see what other new sounds M.I.A. is bringing to the table with her last collection of music.
It’s hard to think of a pop star as unconventional and as perennially compelling as M.I.A. After three albums of politically-charged, globetrotting hip-hop, the Sri Lankan/British artist also known as Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam is well-established as a provocative persona. On Friday, the rapper showed that’s not about to change as she previewed her fourth record Matangi at NYC’s Terminal 5.
It seems likely that literally no other musician on the planet would have Wikileaks’ Julian Assange as an opening act, appearing via Skype. While his choppy internet connection and a restless crowd meant that his speech didn’t get a particularly rapturous reception, his projected presence made M.I.A.’s point; she named a 2010 mixtape Vicki Leekx and later befriended the controversial Australian. Needless to say, it didn’t do much to set up the tone musically, but M.I.A.’s never claimed to be a people pleaser.
With her atypical origin story and long-running career in visual art, M.I.A. has successfully presented herself as a near-mythic figure, reinforced when she emerged wearing an all-gold lamé ensemble like some sort of 21st century sun goddess. Flanked by two dancers decked out in clothes from her recent Versace collaboration, she kicked off a high energy night with her NSA-invoking “The Message,” though the rest of the set was notably low on other tracks from 2010’s patchily-received MAYA. No matter; the night was about Matangi, which is sure to bring back any doubters with bangers like “Bring The Noise” and “Double Bubble Trouble.”
M.I.A.’s fondness for metallic clothing and elaborate stage set aside, there’s no mistaking the glow she gives off on her own. Her jaw-dropping charisma simply can’t be denied. This is a woman who could light up a cardboard box, though songs like “Pull Up The People” and “Bucky Done Gun” from 2005’s Arular are still so fresh and innovative that it’s clear she was meant to be huge from the start. When she performed her calling cards “Paper Planes” and “Bad Girls” back to back, it was as if she’d invited 3,000 people to the party of the decade. Naming her previous albums after her father, mother, and her own longtime nickname, Matangi shows M.I.A. reclaiming her birth name.
It’s the title of her new record, it’s in neon green lights over the center of the stage, it’s emblazoned across the back of the jersey she changes into mid-set. She is who she is, and she’s still making her mark–literally. After she tossed colored powder into the audience, you could see who’d had the best time.
Matangi is out November 5 on Interscope. Photos by Katie Chow.
Fashion collaborations are buzzy – bring two big names together can generate a bit of hoopla – but it’s not often that the match seems so on point that it’s basically more relevant than either of the originals alone. Consider M.I.A.’s forthcoming Versus Versace collab, in which she’s taken inspiration from the streets (the counterfeit and knockoff Versace motifs buried in Chinatown and other similar side streets), giving the counterfeiters a big fuck-you by copying them. It kind of all makes sense.
The line for the designer will reclaim what’s been stolen – the Greek keys and the gold medallions so visually synonymous with Versace – adding street-inspired graphics and silhouettes, exclusively for our purchasing pleasure. So if you ever wanted to dress like M.I.A., here’s your chance. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, (the knockoff industry may have to go back to misspelling Louis Vuitton,) but it’ll be here (in select stores and online) on October 16.
Ever the smart business lady, M.I.A.’s Versus Versace collaboration drops conveniently close to the release of her new album Matangi, due out November 5. If wearing her designs and listening to the album isn’t enough, catch the singer in New York in concert on November 3. (Fun fact: in Hinduism, Matangi is the patron of inner thought and speech, guiding followers to primordial sound.) Some foreshadowing?
Heading to drinks at Gottino tonight? Before ordering a glass of red, brush up on the recent happenings in the world of fashion.
Luxury conglomerate LVMH went on a spending spree, plunking down a chunk of cash for a stake in London label J.W. Anderson. It was announced that beyond his eponymous collection duties, the man behind the label will head up design at Spanish leather brand Loewe, also in the LVMH stable.
Speaking of LVMH, even if we haven’t had enough of Marc Jacobs (more nail polish and shirts as dresses, please…) Louis Vuitton might be ready to say au revoir to their American in Paris. Jacobs’ contract with the brand is up at the end of October, though no announcements have been made just yet.
This is already shaping up to be a massive summer for music, bolstered by the likes of those dudes with the helmets and the hype around Yeezus. Also on its way is the long-awaited fourth full-length album from M.I.A., Matangi, which has been through a number of versions and created some conflicts between the label and M.I.A. (something about the record being “too positive”).
As the singer told BBC1’s Zane Lowe: "It’s just one of those things where I’ve given up at this point. I was literally going to start… putting out records from my bedroom. This was my last stab at it– I’m going to hand it in and wait for it to go out the way albums go out. If I didn’t get it out right now, I would’ve definitely exploded."
But the wait for the album seems to finally be More than a year after “Bad Girls” comes another new single off Matangi, “Bring the Noize,” a breaking down of the door where the word “Freedom” is broken into bullet-hail stutters. At a little more than halfway, the molten epicenter of her rhymes is reached. The track first appeared in an earlier form on the banging mixtape M.I.A. created for Kenzo’s spring collection showing in Paris last spring. You should listen to that right after you finish with the mixtape. Listen to “Bring the Noize” below.
Yesterday, Parisian fashion house Kenzo premiered their fall and winter 2013 collections at a show soundtracked with a new M.I.A. mix as bold and multilayered as the threads onstage. The dynamite MATANGI Mixtape will definitely help tide fans waiting for the artist’s new album of the same name (from which we’ve already heard a few tracks, including last year’s excellent "Bad Girls" and another one with lots of tent puns) over before its April 15th release date.
"Paul Simon on acid" it isn’t, but from the first barrage of percussion, to M.I.A.’s declaration of "I’m thankful for my hands / ’cause it’s a good thrower / I’m thankful for my body / ’cause it’s a fucking banger," there are a lot of audible treats worth sampling. Hear the whole thing over at M.I.A.’s SoundCloud page or at MatangiMixtape, and start your week off with a bang.
End of the year listicles are a weird double-edged sword—yeah, they can be seen as agenda-setting and the discourse around them mind-numbing (“Where is [Album I Liked]?” “Why is [Album I Hated] on this list?”), but they’re also a great way to catch up on the good stuff you might have missed over the past year. For those who can’t stand all that clicking and reading, end-of-the-year mixtapes are a tolerable and dance party-ready substitute.
Hype Machine, instead of doing the whole end-of-the-year listicle thing, enlisted a pair of popular dance party curators to do their 2012 mixes, Major Lazer and the Hood Internet. The former, in addition to the international jamz with which Major Lazer are associated, features hits from Kendrick Lamar, Usher, TNGHT, and Hot Chip, as well as some of their own tracks from this year, including a sped-up “Original Don” and the wub-happy collaboration with Flux Pavilion, “Jah No Partial.” Chicago duo The Hood Internet feature Kanye West, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Future, and Chief Keef, among others, and both mixes feature iterations of M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls.”
DJ Daniel Kim takes a more pure pop approach to his end-of-the-year mix, which features some of the biggest singles of the year, with videos to match. More than 50 tracks from the forgettable (“Payphone,” that Flo Rida whistle song) to some particularly choice jams—you may have forgotten “Call Me Maybe,” Grammys, but the Danthology certainly did not. Fun.’s “We Are Young” gets mixed with tracks from Katy Perry and Nelly Furtado, and what’s amazing is how immensely improved all three become.
The only end-of-the-year mix that seems conspicuously missing is DJ Earworm, who has been delivering a mega-mashup pop music State of the Union of sorts for years along the lines of Danthology. But we’re sure he’ll have something along soon. In the meantime, put these on your New Year’s Eve playlist.