M.I.A. is great not only because her beats are hot, but she (at times superficially) infuses seemingly meaningless lyrics with political messages primarily about the 3rd world. She also has the looks and the rap swag to boot. In celebration of this amazingness that is M.I.A., I have listed my personal top 5 M.I.A. songs. Enjoy!
This song combines all of M.I.A.s strengths in one. Sunshowers shows off M.I.A's story telling ability as well as her knack for making a political statement. My favorite line is "He got Colgate on his teeth and Reebok Classics on his feet/at a factory he does Nike and then helps the family". This one line highlights the theme of the song; the irony in the relationship b/w the 3rd world and Westernized countries. Finally, in true M.I.A. form, the beat is dope!
2. 10 Dollar
This is one of M.I.A.'s more fun songs. The premise is debatable, but I believe the song details the life of a Chinese prostitute who is all about making money and living the fab life. This is one of my faves because its a rare subject to rap about and also unexpected. This song is another homage to the story telling abilities of M.I.A.
3. Bad Girls
One of M.I.A.'s newest hits from her Vicki Leekx mixtape, this song is a nice comeback from her disappointing 3rd Album, MYA. Once again, a banging beat and a nice F U to the illegality of women driving in Saudi Arabia.
Another gift that M.I.A. has is the ability to set the tone for a specific place. In this song, the setting is Brazil and it starts off in Portuguese:"Oi Garato, piga mina numero"...basically the classic scenario of a dude tryna holla at a girl. The unexpected surprise of her starting a song off in a different language and the infectious "ayyyyys" that she drops throughout the song makes it a guaranteed top 5 in my book.
5. Paper Planes
This is one of my first favorite M.I.A. songs and probably her most commercially successful hit (part of the reason it's only number 5). I hated the remixed version with Jay-Z but was glad the original song was strong enough on it's own for commercial audiences. This song is just dope in every way. My favorite line: "M.I.A. ..Third World democracy..yea I got more records than the KGB so uhh no funny business.."
Honorable Mention: Hussel
I am always on the fence about this song. It may be the addition of the rap verse by Afrikan Boy, who is not as strong of a rapper as M.I.A., but that's precisely this reason why I love this song even more. This song was my initial exposure Afrikan Boy and without M.I.A putting him on I would have never heard of him. His rap verse helped set the tone for this song that details the hustler's spirit that permeates the 3rd world. This line alone, "Ehhh Afrikan Boy, you know I'm big in Mozambique, eh ehh," makes this song worth a mention. M.I.A.'s verse on this song is also my favorite M.I.A. verse of all time.
Are you an M.I.A. fan? What are some of your favorite M.I.A. songs?