Happy Birthday, M.I.A.!
As if music fans haven't already been spoiled enough this year, even M.I.A. is joining in on the fun by releasing new material. She dropped a new multimedia project, Matahdatah Scroll 01 Broader Than a Border on Apple Music, and it came with anticipation just like most of her releases. Five days later, today (July 18), she crosses over into her 40s.
After a tenuous childhood that involved displacement by the Sri Lankan Civil War and her frequently absent activist father, M.I.A. became a visual artist and worked on cover art and paintings. She made her transition into music in the early 2000s and was known for her distinctive percussive sounds mixed with social commentary. She was different, but initial singles like "Galang" and "Bucky Done Gun" found ears and acclaim.
M.I.A. would peak two years after her debut with Kala, which is considered one of the best albums of the decade. The album is roughly like the Fugees' The Score, which showed joy and pain were two sides of the same coin in the ghetto. Kala widened the scope with world music and issues ranging from poverty and immigration. Kala also featured "Paper Planes," a still essential hit. The hip-hop heads recognize it as being the sample for the star-studded "Swagga Like Us."
M.I.A.'s experimental leanings continued through the decade. She released the spotty MAYA in 2010, and released Matangi (named after the Hindu goddess) three years later after numerous delays. After four albums, M.I.A. stands as one of the millennium's most respected artists.
Watch M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" Video
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