M.I.A. announces she’s taking an extended break from music

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M.I.A. announces she’s taking an extended break from musicMIA Interview

M.I.A. has announced she’s taking an extended break from music, saying she feels her content is being buried in the internet world and therefore can’t give weight to the issues that matter to her. Her last album, AIM, was released in 2016 and spoke about her concerns over censorship from the music industryIn a recent interview (below) with House Of Strombo, she mentioned she was not motivated to put her music out in this current system, emphasizing “For me, I have to find another way.” She mentioned the feeling of not fitting into the diversity of America, and how she had to battle not having a genre for 15 years. She added, “If I want to be bigger, I kind of have to say nothing.”

M.I.A. made a point about marketing versus her own artistry in saying, “I might have to make an anti-Trump record, but if I make anything else, it’s not going to wash…But if I want to talk about Tamil women wearing uniforms and eating cyanide pills because they didn’t want to be raped by the Sri Lankan army…I know that both of these extremes of women exist.” She later on implied she was sidelined by the music industry due to her political views.

The M.I.A. documentary “MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A.” was released last month in select movie theaters.

Photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Watch M.I.A. Talk Bob Dylan, Her Different Identities, & Her Documentary On The Daily Show

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MIA-on-The-Daily-ShowM.I.A. and The Daily Show: Two cultural institutions that left huge footprints during the George W. Bush years and which are still soldiering on, doing their best to adapt to changing circumstances. Last night, they came together. M.I.A. is out promoting her biographical documentary MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A., and last night, she … More »

M.I.A.’s ‘Paper Planes’ tops NPR’s newly released list of the ‘200 Greatest Songs by 21st Century Women’

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M.I.A.’s ‘Paper Planes’ tops NPR’s newly released list of the ‘200 Greatest Songs by 21st Century Women’Screen Shot 2018 07 30 At 10.41.09 PM

NPR expands its “Turning the Tables” endeavor with a 200-track list of the “Greatest Songs by 21st Century Women.” “Turning the Tables” represents NPR Music’s attempt to re-conceptualize “the popular music canon in more inclusive–and accurate–ways.”

The extensive list seeks to “celebrate artists whose work is changing this century’s sense of what popular music can be.” Selected by a panel of “more than 70 women and non-binary writers,” the “200 Greatest Songs By 21st Century Women” canvasses releases from artists whose pivotal musical contributions arrived on or after January 1, 2000. The songs that qualified for inclusion on NPR’s list “have shifted attitudes, defied categories, and pushed sound in new directions” since 2000.

M.I.A. claims the number one spot for her 2007 single, “Paper Planes,” a victory that NPR credits to the song’s lucid political critique of American colonization and capitalism.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs trail M.I.A., taking second place for their 2003 release “Maps,” a track that NPR cites as pivotal to paving the path of commercial radio success for indie-pop crossovers.

Beyoncé‘s 2008 single, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” accounts for third place by way of its focus on female empowerment and its viral inspiration of music video imitations of Beyonce’s choreography.

Amy Winehouse‘s 2006 single, “Back To Black,” Alabama Shakes’ 2012 release, “Hold On,” Lorde‘s 2013 hit, “Royals,” and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings’ 2007 song “100 Days, 100 Nights” follow in sequential succession. Respective productions from Alicia Keys, Brandi Carlile, Peaches, Janelle Monae, Solange, and more round out the comprehensive list.

View the complete list, here.

Photo Credit: NME

H/T: NPR

M.I.A drops chilling trailer of upcoming documentary, ‘MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.’

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M.I.A drops chilling trailer of upcoming documentary, ‘MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.’35741625 10155405592557073 682048086574366720 O

Maya Arulpragasam, known as British-Sri Lankan musician M.I.A., isn’t like many of today’s artists.

With a background full of struggle, survival and strength, Arulpragasam wanted to share her story with the world in her long-awaited documentary, MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. In the freshly released trailer, she immediately draws the audience in by beginning to unravel her intense story of being a in the middle of a war zone, being a refugee, and how her music gave her a voice and ability to speak for all of those who can’t.

The documentary is directed by Stephen Loveridge and scored by Paul Hicks and Dhani Harrison, and was premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where it proceeded to win. It is set to hit U.K. theaters on Sept. 21, and U.S. theaters Sept. 28.

Watch The Trailer For The New M.I.A. Documentary

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The trailer for MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A., the new documentary about activist, mother, and prolific rapper Maya Arulpragasam, is finally here. M.I.A. has been a pivotal artistic, cultural, and human rights figure since the early aughts. The long-awaited and highly anticipated film tracks the controversial British musician’s explosive rise to fame, providing insight into … More »

The 100 Best Songs Of The Century According To Rolling Stone

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Rolling Stone recently polled artists, critics, and industry leaders to create a list of the 100 best songs of the century. While we’re already 18 years into the century, the music industry has gone through a number of twists and turns. Although the list of the greatest songs of the century is highly subjective, artists

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M.I.A. Documentary MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. Gets Release Date

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M.I.A has just announced the release date of her Steve Loveridge-directed biopic Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. in honor of today’s World Refugee Day. It’s out in the UK on 9/21 and in the US on the 9/28. More »

Destructo announces debut headliners for inaugural All My Friends Music Festival

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LA is getting a brand new two-day summer music festival, programmed by a man who’s intimately familiar with the live events landscape in Southern California — after all, he helped build it. Destructo‘s new dance and hip-hop event, All My Friends Music Festival, slated for August 18-19 at ROW DTLA, has now announced its first-run of artists, topped this year by RL Grime, Gucci Mane, and Jhené Aiko on the first day, followed by headlining performances from M.I.A.Jamie XX, and house legend Armand Van Helden on day two.

Each headliner brings their own distinct appeal to the bill, from an ultra-rare Armand outing to Gucci Mane’s booming catalog of iconic southern rap hallmarks. Going back to a tried and true festival playbook, Destructo’s first AMFMF is shaping up to look a lot like early editions of HARD Summer with underground dance and rap hybrid bookings rubbing shoulders, matched with a central downtown Los Angeles location as the festival’s backdrop. Some considerable refinements are bound to be announced as the inaugural event nears its debut, and with a stacked first talent phase now announced, expect the rest of the lineup to follow and similarly enticing pattern.

M.I.A. Says Jay-Z Encouraged Her To Comply With “Ridiculous” Demands In Settlement With NFL

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The Stephen Loveridge-directed documentary about M.I.A., Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., is having its New York premiere this week, which means that M.I.A. herself has been giving some interviews. In a new one with Huck magazine, she talks about the infamous Super Bowl incident of 2012, when she flipped the middle finger on camera during … More »

N.E.R.D’s self-titled fifth studio album is a chaotic affair rooted in social commentary

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No_one Ever Really Dies: even the acronym by which American funk rock supergroup N.E.R.D — Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shay Haley — were founded upon suggests a non-traditional marriage between chic nonchalance and latent sentimentalism. Consider the collective sense of fervid urgency that is currently igniting the veins of millions of disenfranchised American and global citizens, inject a lethal dose of vogue funk and bottle it up in vivacious, supercool packaging: this more or less captures the sonic universe defined on N.E.R.D’s self titled, fifth studio album.

People began taking note of signs posted around Los Angeles and featured at Tyler the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival that read “No One Ever Really Dies” in late October, 2017. A few days later, the N.E.R.D proceeded to release No_one Ever Really Dies’ lead single “Lemon” before debuting the full LP a few days later at ComplexCon. It marks the first release for the famed group since 2010’s Nothing.

Since their inception, N.E.R.D has been raveled in collective confusion — not undue to their own struggles in defining their own artistic focus. The group’s first album, In Search Of, was originally produced digitally, but was pulled from the shelves of record stores worldwide and re-recorded utilizing live instrumentation from the rock band known as Spymob. Its re-release was met with ubiquitous disapproval from critics, giving way to another two albums plagued by their supposed failure to define a singular style.

Perhaps N.E.R.D’s first three albums were simply misunderstood by the masses, or maybe they served as quasi “trial and error” sessions in which the group refined their own characteristic style. One thing is certain: the outfit’s production M.O has always strayed from the traditional linear structure. Each of N.E.R.D’s five studio albums see them taking increasingly audacious risks, and No_one Ever Really Dies looks to be their most rewarding effort yet.

It kicks off with the exuberant frenzy that is “Lemon,” featuring one of contemporary pop music’s most exalted figures: Rihanna. The 29-year-old global superstar bops from verse to verse with palpable swagger, as if she’s playing pop-scotch on the red carpet.

“Lemon’s” sample of a man yelling “wait a minute” is former United States Senator, Arlen Specter, at a 2009 Pennsylvania town hall meeting while “shout out to them people” and “mad ethnic right now” are both phrases sampled from a viral twitter video originally posted by a rapper by the name of Retch. As the record bounces between verses, it usurps the listener with its dazzling flow. Before long, the project’s focus begins to take root.

Much like adjacent industry colleagues Gorillaz, N.E.R.D’s propensity to showcase a plethora of contemporary styles runs the risk of seeming misconstrued, pulling away from the album’s central focus; some would argue that such overbearing features can make such a project seem disjointed, but it pays off on No_one Ever Really Dies. Rather than cloud the group’s artistic intuition, each embellishment serves an integral purpose in building the stylistic framework by which listeners will contextualize the album.

High profile vignettes from artists like Future, Wale, Gucci Mane, M.I.A, and Frank Ocean imbue the album with a sense of urgency and are an relevant statement about the current musical zeitgeist heading into 2018.

“Voilà,” featuring Gucci Mane and Wale, carries the momentum onward.  Since being released from prison in 2016, Radric Davis — better known by Gucci Mane — has turned a 180. “They think I’m a magician” sings Davis, alluding to the fact that the general public is undoubtedly shocked at his life changes over the last two years, and that many people doubted him along the way. The Atlanta rapper revealed in an interview with TIME that, during his stint in prison, sobriety and exercise helped him lose 90 pounds and get his life back together.

Gucci Mane’s raspy verses are not typically associated with the sparkling funk-verve that characterizes N.E.R.D, but his lyrics add a serene sense of tranquility to the track: “I might pull up on a skateboard with me and P. Hoes gon’ still pay me attention” he raps. Gucci Mane’s fabled status in trap music history is a welcome blessing on “Voilà.”

Pharell picks up the pace immediately afterward with “1000.” Turning a corner, he chants the intro, “Kinetic energy a thousand times higher!” As the drums halt to half speed, morphing into a tribal rythmn, Future belts his verse, “Rick Owens boots, I’m walkin’ on a few thousand” sings the Atlanta trap superstar. “1000” is an honest, yet ostentatious glimpse into the life of some of hip hop’s wealthiest superstars: complete with designer boots, Ferragamo belts, and models in the bed.

Pivoting from the gaudy introspection on “1000,” N.E.R.D moves into outward social commentary at breakneck speed with “Don’t Don’t Do It!” The track, which features the father of modern hip hop, Kendrick Lamar, is a statement detailing the discriminatory behavior of law enforcement and, on a larger scale, society as a whole.

“Pac-man wanna prosecute you. Raise your hand up, and they’ll shoot ya’. Face off, face off.” spits Kendrick Lamar, the beat carrying his conscious rhymes a mile a minute, “Adolf Hitler. Grandkids slayed off. N****s, same rules, same chalk. Different decade, same law.” Lamar’s verse is more than simply an apt statement confronting the malevolent behavior of systemic racism — it’s a warning call. “Soon or later sides gon’ switch. You know Johnny got that itch,” raps Lamar, “How many more of us gotta see the coroner? Slain by the same badge, stop, wait, brake, fast!”

N.E.R.D’s ability to pivot from effervescent dance jams to socially-conscious funk ballads at headlong speeds — all the while utilizing atmospheric transitions and carbonated beat change ups — is mesmerizing. No_one Ever Really Dies seems to weave into one theme and out of another before the listener can make the conscious realization that the song’s structure had changed. The album’s biggest success is its mellifluous ability to shape shift and keep listeners engaged the whole way through. Listeners find themselves knee deep into a pop tsunami for one moment, and are catapulted into an incendiary diatribe on today’s current political situation the next.

“It’s crazy out here and right now, what we’re discovering is the truth only matters when it sounds cool. And when it doesn’t sound cool, people just choose to not fucking believe it,” explained Pharell during the album’s listening session. “So, that’s how they’re gonna use their minds. We need to use our minds a little bit stronger.”

Nearing the end of the album, N.E.R.D orchestrate a symphonic finish — complete with features from such fabled artists as Andre 3000 and, to a lesser extent, Ed Sheeran. “Rollinem 7’s” lyrics stream from the Outkast co-founder’s mouth in effortless fashion.

The combination of M.I.A and Kendrick Lamar on “Kites” is a further testament to N.E.R.D’s versatility and their ability to mold to fit any of the featuring artists’styles.”I’m letting off kites over barriers” sings M.I.A, the Sri Lankan avant pop legend alludes to the absurdity of nation’s having borders. Her ultimate goal, like other artists’ on the LP, is to make music that transcends the unavailing barriers that serve only to divide us as a human race.

Consistent with M.I.A’s verse, N.E.R.D’s newest album is a virtuosic, funk driven house party rooted in social and political commentary. Rather than serve as purely an escape, No_One Ever Really Dies acts as an atmospheric groove that exists entirely within the gloomy corners of the current political period. N.E.R.D is back to inspire change in provocative fashion, and their fifth project is a chaotic affair deeply rooted in the ongoing narrative of social progress.

 

 

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