Category: M.I.A.

M.I.A. signs deal with Jay-Z's Roc Nation

Jay-Z’s Roc Nation will now manage electro-pop rapper M.I.A., the company announced Thursday.

“The nation just keeps on growing...,” read a tweet from Roc Nation directed to the politically charged Sri Lankan femcee. Roc Nation’s homepage also features a welcome to the performer, whose real name is Maya Arulpragasam.

Arulpragasam joins an eclectic mix of superstars that Jay’s company also manages including Rihanna, Santigold, Melanie Fiona, Wale, Mark Ronson and Shakira. Roc Nation also manages a slew of songwriters, producers, DJs, engineers and mixers.

Jay-Z protégé J. Cole, Willow Smith, R&B singer Bridget Kelly, Jay Electronica and British urban pop chameleon Rita Ora have all been signed to the label. M.I.A. is signed to Interscope Records.

Rihanna sent her well wishes to M.I.A., tweeting, “welcome home MIA.” On Monday, the singer teased her fans when she posted pictures of the two of them hanging out backstage at a Jay-Z and Kanye West concert in London.

M.I.A. is readying her fourth album, “Matangi,” which is due this fall through Interscope. She also announced a remix of her anthemic single, “Bad Girls,” which is set to feature Missy Elliott, Azealia Banks and her protégé, Rye Rye.


Live review: M.I.A. at the Mayan

M.I.A. dishes on Super Bowl appearance with Madonna

The lady gangsta fantasy of M.I.A.'s video for 'Bad Girls'

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Screen shot of Roc Nation's home page announcing it had signed M.I.A. Credit: Gerrick Kennedy / Los Angeles Times.

Madonna launches 2012 world tour

Madonna, M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj performed that the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show
Whatever you made of Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show (some people loved it, some were mixed and some looked like they'd rather be elsewhere),  it got your attention. The pop icon's next move is a  new album, "MDNA," destined to be one of the year's most talked-about releases. And now she has a world tour to accompany it.

The Material Girl just posted dates for a six-month jaunt through the Middle East, Europe and North America, with a Staples Center date on Oct. 10 (and Australian and South American dates to come). Tickets for the L.A. stop are on sale Feb. 13, and the album hits stores March 26. Any errant football players that stand in her way will surely be dispatched immediately. Full schedule after the jump.

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M.I.A.'s halftime gesture said to be 'a case of adrenaline'

Madonna with M.I.A., right, and Nicki Minaj during the halftime show
In early 1989 Madonna was the center of controversy over the religious imagery in the video for her "Like A Prayer." Twenty-two years later the song brought her Super Bowl halftime performance to an end with the all-together unifying message of "world peace," and it was her collaborator M.I.A. who was suddenly finding herself in the center of a media fracas.

The politically inclined pop star, whose real name is Maya Arulpragasam, flashed the middle finger when cameras briefly focused on her during Madonna's halftime show, inspiring apologetic statements from NBC and the NFL. "There was a failure in NBC's delay system," said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy in the league's official statement. "The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans."

M.I.A.'s publicists at Interscope could not be reached for comment. However, a member of M.I.A.'s camp, speaking Sunday night from the Super Bowl host city of Indianapolis, said M.I.A. was struck with "a case of adrenaline."

"She wasn't thinking," said the source, who requested anonymity but was with the artist at Lucas Oil Stadium. "It wasn't any kind of statement. She was caught in the moment and she's incredibly sorry." 

Madonna's longtime publicist Liz Rosenberg could not be reached for comment. A spokesperson for NBC said, “The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show. Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers.”

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The lady gangsta fantasy of M.I.A.'s video for 'Bad Girls'

Today M.I.A., aka Maya Arulpragasam, debuted her video for new single “Bad Girls,” working again with “Born Free” co-conspirator Romain Gavras. Filmed in Ouarzazate, Morocco, the country’s film capital also seen in “Lawrence of Arabia,” “The Last Temptation of Christ,” “Gladiator” and several other Western movies, the video is meant to evoke a Persian Gulf landscape – dusty, baked, semi-apocalpytic and in the hands of M.I.A. and Gavras, utterly hard-core.

Set to M.I.A.’s Punjabi-laced chill-banger, “Bad Girls” is a lady gangsta fantasy but one that plays off very real ingredients from life in the Middle East. There’s crumbled architecture, sustained over years of attack; smouldering oil tankards; young men in kaffiyeh, standing around dangerously bored; mysterious women covered from head to toe, with only their kohl-lined eyes flashing out. Most of us Americans have seen that existence only in bits of CNN video, left to venture our own conclusions about their daily grind.

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Rome Ramirez pays tribute to Amy Winehouse with his cover of 'Rehab'

Rome performs Rehab by Amy Winehouse

Since the death of Amy Winehouse on Saturday, outpourings of grief and tribute for the late British soul singer have taken on many forms. But few may have expected a fitting final salute from Sublime’s Rome Ramirez, who slapped on the shades and stepped to the mike to record his cover of “Rehab,” from Winehouse’s breakout album, “Back to Black.” It was uploaded to the Web on Sunday, and Ramirez posted a message under his YouTube video to accompany his stirring rendition.

“I recorded this tribute for Amy Winehouse after I heard the news of her passing,” Ramirez said. “She is a huge inspiration to my music. We miss you, Amy.”

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Coachella 2011: Rye Rye makes the stage 'Go! Pop! Bang!' -- now about her delayed debut album

In the week leading up to Friday's kickoff of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Pop & Hiss offers a preview of some of this year's less established or underappreciated artists.


Who: Rye Rye

When: Sunday

From: Baltimore

Being a Rye Rye fan requires steadfast patience.

Ever since the M.I.A. protégé emerged in 2008 as a high school student by day, club raver by night -- a femcee who, like her mentor, employed frenetic electronic club backbeats, Jamaican dance hall choreography and bright, eccentric patterns on both her clothing and artwork, fans were anxiously awaiting her debut, “Go! Pop! Bang!” -– set for release via M.I.A.'s Interscope imprint, N.E.E.T.

But the wait continues.

M.I.A. teased the serially delayed record to Times staff writer Todd Martens way back in 2008, when she noted that she's responsible for all of Rye Rye's "production, and I do all her styling. I dye her weave."

"Rye Rye's record was really clubby, and that’s where I started, and she fits that so well," M.I.A. said in the interview. "Her music has so much energy. I kind of exhaust [her] with that."

Bad news of course is it's three years later and still no “Go! Pop! Bang!” (last release date we heard was spring with new tracks from producers such as Bangladesh, Christian Rich and Pharrell Williams). Good news is Rye, now 20, rewarded her patient fans with her first mixtape, “RYEot powRR,” and got major props for her set at this year's South By Southwest Music festival in Austin, Texas.

The mixtape is a mashup of original tracks like the booming “Witchdoctor” and the hyperactive “Hardcore Art School Girl.” She also puts her Baltimore club spin on Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R,” Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” and Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” (language alert) – the mixtape’s standout.

Download her mixtape below.


Coachella 2011: Divorced from the Clash, Mick Jones' Big Audio Dynamite married rock and DJ culture

Coachella 2011: Brandt Brauer Frick and the sound of German minimalism [Video]

Coachella 2011: Miguel brings 'eclec-tric' rock star edge to R&B

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Rye Rye. Credit: Meeno

M.I.A. releases new Wikileaks-inspired mixtape, ViCKi LEEKX

ViCKi LEEKX_1293810179710
On Thursday night, rapper/singer/provocateur M.I.A. released a new Wikileaks-inspired mixtape called ViCKi LEEKX, a 36-minute rhythm frenzy featuring new production work by Diplo, Switch and Blaqstarr and a host of rhymes and rants by the artist born Maya Arulpragasam. It opens with a female-voiced salvo inspired by Julian Assange's recent freedom of information campaign: "We chose the right format," says the voice, "We leak the information to the public, and we defend ourselves against inevitable legal and political attacks. Vicki Leekz: leak me."

The end-of-the-year offering is no doubt an attempt on M.I.A.'s part to have the last word after a particularly rocky professional year. Her 2010 release, "Maya," failed to generate the buzz that her previous album, "Kala," did, and the album's been notably absent on most critics' year-end lists. Arulpragasam was also the subject of an infamous Lynn Hirschberg profile in the New York Times Magazine that asked hard questions about the singer's politics and private life.

Can ViCKI LEEKX silence her haters? You can download it in all its chopped-up, AutoTuned glory here.

-- Randall Roberts

Live review: M.I.A. at the Mayan

British rapper brings charisma and forceful physical presence to the Mayan in L.A.


M.I.A. knows no boundaries. Thursday night at the Mayan in downtown L.A., the rapper and singer repeatedly leaned out over the sold-out crowd, thrusting her lithe body on top of hands as a sort of dare with a plea: Brace me, don't touch me. This proscenium breach wasn't the athletic act of stage-diving; this was more a charismatic gesture of insistence, both supplicating and provocative.

“All I wanted was to tell my story,” she chanted over and over, rapping a song from her latest, third album, Maya. Sampled drum cracks, bass booms and electronic explosions rattled the room, as if this faux-temple nightclub were a bunker under attack.

During the last year, the story that the artist born Maya Arulpragasam wants to tell has tended to get lost in the noise of various career controversies, sensationalist magazine stories, weak album sales and sheer bad luck (M.I.A. was supposed to headline L.A.'s Hard Festival this summer, but it was canceled; this was her first show in L.A. since then).

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Investing in third world democracy and watching 'Ellen': M.I.A.'s suburban makeover


Now more than two months removed from what was perceived as a harsh New York Times profile of M.I.A., one that juxtaposed her political beliefs with her comfortable lifestyle, Pop & Hiss wasn't really interested in furthering any discussion of the worldly electronic artist that wasn't strictly on the music. But then the below clip from Funny or Die appeared, and it was too good to not be shared.

More silly that scathing, the Stoney Sharp-directed clip stars Lindy Jamil Gomez as a speedwalking suburban M.I.A. whose singing for "all the ladies whose values have changed, and are are looking for some stability." Funny or Die's "doggy"-obsessed M.I.A. partakes in Wii boxing, a game of Cranium and has a toy pony named Tom. But it's replacing the gunshots of her "Paper Planes" with squirts of toilet cleanser that truly warm the heart.

Watch after the jump.

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Live Review: One Day As a Lion at Eagle Rock's Center for the Arts


When the stage crew set up a large screen behind the small stage at the former Carnegie library that is now home to the Center for the Arts in Eagle Rock, audience members might have anticipated some sweet multimedia. One Day As a Lion, the project combining the talents of Rage Against the Machine town crier Zack de la Rocha and ex-Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore, was about to play its second-ever live show. A barrage of images, maybe ripped from news sites on the Web, would complement the band's political lyrics and multi-directional avant-rock sound.

The screen remained blank, though, after De La Rocha, Theodore and keyboardist Joey Karam tromped onstage to excited applause and began a 40-minute set. It was merely there to block the sunlight streaming through the large glazed window behind the band. The late-afternoon sun still found its way in, lending a beatific glow to De la Rocha's wiry mop of hair. He looked about as happy as a restless 40-year-old rock star could be.

One Day As a Lion released an EP in 2008, but didn't play any live shows. It seemed that the project might only serve as an experiment for its two principals -- a kind of two-man retreat through which each would rethink the already challenging rock sounds they'd already developed in their better-known groups. But this set and the one ODAAL performed the previous afternoon in Pomona featured new music alongside the song from their debut -- and a new member, Karam, who freed De la Rocha from his own keyboard, allowing him to step out and stir up the crowd while delivering his rapid-fire verbal flow. This trio was fully armed for present and future assaults.

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