London-born Sri Lankan artist Mathangi "M.I.A." Arulpragasam is a one off, to say the least. Although she'd already released one album as well as a couple of years' worth of singles, M.I.A. introduced herself to the bulk of people on planet earth back in 2007 with Kala and the flagship single "Paper Planes". At the time, it was a huge hit: Diplo had turned in some of his best production work, and the album promised at least a couple more big singles ("Boyz", "Jimmy", "Come Around") with some big-name feature remixes as well (Jay Z on "Boyz" and Afrikan Boy and Rye Rye on "Paper Planes").

At its best, M.I.A.'s music reminds us that chart-topping pop can be credible and well-informed. There can be real genuine sentiment, new ideas and even a divergence from the standard formats and techniques. Her biggest hit, "Paper Planes", for example, was a satirical jab at some of the negative stereotypes attached to immigrants; and that went platinum.

Right now, she's enjoying a different kind of success as the MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. documentary, directed by Steven Loveridge, enjoys pretty much universal acclaim. The film was unveiled at the top of the year and earned instant praise across the board for what is an impressive achievement. MMM follows M.I.A. for a staggering 22 years, from her youth, through to her rise to stardom. The doc itself has had quite a journey from inception to release——one that could probably get a film of its own——but ultimately it was designed to do what we're doing here (albeit on a much bigger scale), and that is to show you a side to M.I.A. you might not be aware of.

This is M.I.A.'s Deep Cuts.

Posted on October 24, 2018