by Juliet Cangelosi
It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since the alarmingly rhythmic potential of M.I.A. was introduced to the world via Maya Arulpragasam’s breakout hit “Paper Planes”. Since the start of her career, M.I.A. has consistently woken the world up through art that pushes boundaries. Most recently she accomplished this feat through the release of her “Borders” music video, repeating the question many are asking of the refugee crisis (and myriad other problems with our world today): “What’s up with that?” Starting out as a visual artist and filmmaker, her videos always suggest cultural commentary and run like short films. The role that activism plays in her music has highlighted her media profile as a powerful voice, as an interview with M.I.A. about music is inextricably a conversation about politics. The result is a sound that fuses world music and hip hop, intertwined with the frothing zeitgeist of the 21th century.