M.I.A (5 stars)

M.I.A

Kala

After the success of Maya Arulpragasam’s 2005 debut, Mercury-nominated Arular, the internet was clogged up with murky rumours that Timbaland would produce her next effort.

Kala is an album with air miles – with her magpie instinct, Arulpragasam has worked in a clashing, brilliant cacophony of multicultural influences, her own grimy, stomping dancehall rapping mixed in with Trinidadian mashup, house, swooping Bollywood disco, and even, on ‘Mango Pickle Down River’, an Aboriginal child choir. Threading the crazy, beautiful, occasionally squawking patchwork together is Arulpragasam’s insistent political conscience, her lyrics so diamond-hard you’ll cut yourself. Bucky done grown-up, and it’s fantastic. (Kirstin Innes)

MIA

Influential and much respected multi-genre Anglo-Asian rapper with an admirable pop streak too.

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