M.I.A. let me down in 2012 when she released the video for “Bad Girls.” As an avid fan, I had already been quite averse to the track, the eighth on Matangi, which was released in 2013. I, like many others, loved M.I.A. for her devout allegiance to her Sri Lankan ancestry and amalgamation of international cultures while infusing her stark realities of non 3rd-world countries with uplifting overtones of self-confidence and pride.
I wondered what happened to the M.I.A. of Kala, the “Hussel” and “Pull Up The People” gritty-yet-stylish, coquettish-yet-chaste, and revolutionary-yet-level-headed brown-skinned Wonder Woman that even grabbed the attention of Jay-Z with her international hit, “Paper Planes.”
Even with releases such as a collaboration with Gener8tion, “The New International Sound Pt. II,” where the largest fighting school in China allowed their 36,000 Shaolin Tagou acolytes to feature in the amazing video (I know you want to see it – here it is), I wanted to know when she was going to bring her fervor and originality to a new EP – especially after leaving Roc Nation after Matangi flopped. Out slipped a couple of demos, “Can See Can Do” and “Platforms,” but were kept on the hush and not mentioned as part of any major projects.
‘Wonder no more,’ she said last week when she released “Matadatah Scroll 01 Broader Than A Border,” in a self-directed video introducing her upcoming album, Matadatah. She combined “Warriors,” a track from Matangi, with snippets of djembes and makinas, with “Swords,” a track from her new album to create the audio that holds true to that M.I.A. sound just in case we needed to remember that she can produce music better than many in the music game right now.
The video was pushed back by her label for reported “cultural appropriation” that obviously infuriated the artist.
I wanna talk about clutrural appropriation! I’ve been told I can’t put out a video because it’s shot in Africa. Discuss
— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) May 18, 2015
The video is wildly captivating. The “Swords” segment takes place in Western India, featuring a group of extremely talented young South Asian girls who are nifty with swords and staffs, cutting fruit on the throat of a prostrated woman and playing with fire, and opening the world eye of Westerners even further.
The second half, “Warriors,” was shot in Cote d’Ivoire (The Ivory Coast, Africa), and features a man with more footwork skills than Savion Glover and Michael Jackson on a good day.
No word yet on when Matahdatah will be released, but we surely won’t be disappointed if “Broader Than A Border” is setting the tone. Check out the video: