M.I.A. - ///Y/: Deluxe Edition

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While there is no track on Maya with the Pop sensibility of "Paper Planes," there are enough cross-genre cuts to satisfy the mainstream. "Born Free" the Punk raison d'

Maya “M.I.A.” Arulpragasam has carved quite the niche for herself, and despite threats of retirement, her third album Maya / ///Y/ places her career at a crossroads. When M.I.A.’s debut album Arular dropped, the Electro-Dancehall infused introduction captivated the world mainly based upon its surface level weirdness. The Sri Lankan siren, bred by a Tamil revolutionary in the midst of a civil war, began using music as her podium to exercise her thoughts on her country’s political situation. The response was divided – some were drawn to her use of vivid colors and sounds, while others absorbed the messages woven into her electronic fabric.

M.I.A. gave it another go ‘round with Kala. This time the political undertones were less embedded and more apparent, yet the music leaned on Pop-friendly melodies, delivering the monster hit “Paper Planes” . Hip Hop fell in love with the petite rebel, using a line from “Paper Planes” as the hook for the all-star “Swagger Like Us” with T.I., Jay-Z, Kanye West and Lil Wayne.

Then a few things happened – Maya became pregnant with the child of Benajmin Brofman (son of Warner CEO Edgar Brofman, Jr.). Their son Ikhyd was practically born on the 2009 Grammy’s stage (a few days later), and her mother Kala (who Maya named her second album after) was not granted entry into the United States to help her care for her newborn child. M.I.A. endured her fair share of visa issues, as a considerable portion of Kala was recorded outside of the States due to her losing access to the country. Couple these events with the Sri Lankan government keeping a close eye on her (phone taps and all that), her distaste for the flesh-eating mainstream, and the existing corroded political landscape and you have her fodder for Maya / ///Y/.

Maya opens with “The Message”, a cautionary tale about the web with tribal drums and foghorns as a male computer voice warns, "The head bone connects to the headphones / The headphones connect to the iPhone / The iPhone connects to the Internet connects to the Google connects to the government." Leading into the dentist drill noises thrust upon “Steppin Up,” M.I.A. raps about hiding money. While there is no track on Maya with the Pop sensibility of “Paper Planes,” there are enough cross-genre cuts to satisfy the mainstream. “Born Free” , the Punk Rock raison d’être, is angst filled with a video that competes with the violence of Helter Skelter. Other tracks like “XXXO” and “Tell Me Why” are more electronic and hip, while the cover of Spectral Display’s “It Takes a Muscle” adds a melodic body to the overtly industrial work. The Deluxe Edition of Maya includes four additional tracks – “Internet Connection”, “Illygirl”, “Believer” (featuring Blaqstarr), and “Caps Lock” – which swing the pendulum to the mainstream, especially with “Caps Lock.”

Maya’s next step after Maya can move in any direction. While her social commentary is stronger than ever (despite remarks from a New York Times writer’s journey into yellow journalism), she has the Pop presence that can keep her afloat. Then of course there’s the Hip Hop angle – with Jay-Z remixing “XXXO” and Nicki Minaj on “Teqkilla” – which M.I.A. can also navigate comfortably.

M.I.A. is our present day riot grrrl – not as vocally adept as other female artists, but painting pictures with her words that speak on a higher plane. Skeptics may chalk Maya up to a cacophonic rant, but those who really listen will appreciate its underlying brilliance. Whether you choose to buy it – both literally and figuratively – is entirely up to you.



41 Comments

  • Dar

    This isnt Hip Hop, never will be, only toys who don't know would say it is, You little children need an education in music.

  • Montez

    Lot's of trolls on this site. MIA rocks!

  • fuklaaa

    get this bullshit faggot uk pop out of here

  • M.P.

    This album is a 4...PERIOD!!!!

  • blahzzyblah

    All racist were molested by their uncles and fathers while their mothers smoked crack in the trailer. That is why they're so hateful as adults. You guys need a hug :( your poor pitiful, worthless life must have been a nightmare. Is that why you scream for attention? :( I DONT LISTEN 2 her like that, BUT MIA HAS MY SUPPORT... IM GONNA BY HER ALBUM JUST TO BOOST HER SALES. I DONT CARE IF IT SUCKS OR NOT

  • chronman

    whack album. only reason MIA gets by is using shock videos and rippin' bad samples. not even hip hop - quit dick ridin pop music DX.

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  • ZSA

    FUCK THIS GYPSY BITCH ITS A WHITE MANS WORLD

  • asa

    the gov'ment line is genius!

  • asa

    the gov'ment line is genius!

  • pienman

    i will definitely go cop it

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  • fofosho

    Rick Ross - Teflon Don (Album) http://usershare.net/ptxqb4qff57x Curren$y - Pilot Talk (Album) http://usershare.net/7v34uvnkp276

  • zachyo

    shit is dope real creative music respect that or get the fuck off this website for real

  • thegreatsage

    pretty average, old stuff was better

  • THE REAL#1STAN

    GOOGOO24 is a faggot, he takes bananas to his ass

  • PE

    I am just writitng to write, I am NOT going to buy this garbage anyways Holla

  • Black Adder

    Not as dope as the first two, or the Diplo remix album...She was shooting for the charts ..still has a couple raw cuts on it..Teh remix is how Jay's new album will sound.. Hip Hop needs to open it's mind.....Not that hipster fag shit, just a diverse pallette of sounds..

  • damn sonson

    how can you call the album brilliant, and then give it a 3 and a half? did a miss something here? i'm a fan of MIA, but i aint heard the album yet, but this review is so confusing. i dont remember reading a flaw, and yet it gets an average rating. ya'll need to get some continuity goin, cuz this aint the first time i've seen something like this.

  • NIG NOG

    M.I.A. can suck M.I COCK!!

  • Twinblades

    I'll give it four to offset the hate lol.

  • Wahrheit

    it's a 4, her first two albums were better, but i'm giving this 5 because of those idiots who are not able to understand this album and music...

  • ASEE

    album is dope. people posting without listening to the album are pathetic. get a life.

  • THE REAL#1STAN

    Why bother with this wack sauce when great amazing albums such as EMINEM'S RECOVERY is out...go listen to that instead

  • hmmmmmmm

    i think she shows growth. i liked the hit obviously.

  • DJ Qevlar

    I FUX WIT MIA ALL THE WAY! THE RECORD IS DEEP!

  • robb234

    GRAMMAR NAZI "The response was divided – some were drawn to her use of vivid colors and sounds, while others absorbed the messages woven into her electronic fabric." Um, this sentence makes no sense. DX, you need to sort out your writers some of them are fucking awful. On topic of album: dont care, proper sentences are more important

    • BunchOfDegenratesHere

      you expect the writers to be good when the target audience is retarded? just read the comments here, what the fuck do you expect?

    • nu sense

      LMFAO! idiot

    • RSX

      The beginning of the sentence implied a divide, which the grammar nazi thought would be positive/negative, and instead was contrasts what different people enjoyed about the music. So yea, I see where both sides are coming from. Devil's Advocate swag.

    • Mr.850

      AND THAT LADIES & GENTS IS HOW YOU GET AN ASS MADE OF YOURSELF.....

    • kathyiandoli

      Hey Grammar Nazi, I wrote the piece, and the sentence is grammatically correct. Take a laxative for your semi colon.

    • hmmmmmmm

      makes sense to me. nazis lost, so do you.

  • wtf-man

    This bitch is not a rapper, and she is sweaty man cheeks musically. "And that's not even the worst part/ I'll stab you with an 8 inch blade so deep your reincarnated self with carry over a scar mistaken for a birth mark" - Iron Solomon ^^ Now that's rap

    • BRRRR

      wtf-man is a fuckin faggot this m.i.a. is better than 90% of the shit that gets reviewed on this site it actually doesn't sound like gay soulja boy shit

    • umm

      It would be rap if you knew how to properly quote something...