Wow you guys-How absolutely breathtaking and stunning is M.I.A. in the latest issue of Complex?!? And even more importantly, how proud are we of Complex for not insisting that our girl shed her clothes and wriggle on the floor for relevancy? So proud! Then again, if you know jack about M.I.A. (real name Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam) you know that this chick ain't no fool. And she certainly isn't going to be suckered into flashing her crotch ala LiLo for fame. In fact, her latest single, "Born Free" is perhaps her most political, proving that her concerns are with struggle and injustice-Subjects that lies close to her heart considering her former Sri Lankan refuge status. In the June/July issue of Complex, M.I.A. discusses her fight for freedom, a better future for her son Ikyhd and how her perception of America has changed over the years. And just to give you an idea of just how far this chick's range has reached, I proudly announce that we studied M.I.A.'s career and message in my last International Media class. My professor considered her not only a pioneer of international hip hop, but one hell of an interresting lady. And although she probably would object to me adding this last part, she's one drop dead gorgeous woman, too.
Anyway here is the photoshoot from Mathangi's spread, as well as some excerpts from the interview. I didn't include any of the political stuff because I find that to be of greater importance and don't want to paraphrase or word jumble. However to read the interview in it's entirety, mosey on over to Complex.com
Complex: Has your idea of America changed as you've grown up?
M.I.A.: When I first came in the mid-'90s, I was listening to loads of hip-hop, and the gangsta-rap era completely engulfed me. There's where I spent my time. Those were the clubs I went to, and those were the people I was hanging out with, so I had a weird understanding of it. But now I get to see a bigger picture of America. It's different.
Complex: What's changed?
M.I.A.: The thing that I enjoyed about it when I came to L.A. was that it was just people doing whatever they liked. It was your life and you could do things and you were in charge. There were barbecues all the time in every park, house parties. Just so much more joy. And now it doesn't seem like that. And it's because it's so expensive there. By the time you've got to doing your house, insurance, your car, and paid a bill for your baby, it's just too hard for you to have any fun, you know?
Complex: What do you like about hip-hop today?
M.I.A.: I think Kanye is trying to take it into a new realm and he's sort of putting the artistry back into it and sort of taking it in that direction. I was having a conversation about Jay-Z and Nas and how it was really crazy how they were having this Nas vs. Jay-Z moment 10 years ago and no one really talks about it now.
Complex: Do you have a process (to your work), or do you create when you feel like it?
M.I.A.: I'm really into some sort of digital ruckus and that's kind of what it is in the sound and imagery. I don't wanna say it's chaotic, but if we're being given certain tools, it's rediscovering and reassembling, I suppose. The bottom line is: Sometimes my work is really uncomfortable and doesn't sit well, but that's the point. It's OK to push it out this far—someone's gonna be like, "But I like it over here." But at least the door's open and you've pushed it that far, so the possibility of a range can exist.