M.I.A has had a controversial 2010: She released Maya, her most challenging album to date, and was embroiled in a conflict with a New York Times reporter after the paper published an unflattering profile of the rapper in May. But she's ending the year on a high note: the Sri Lankan MC has dropped a new mixtape titled Vicki Leekx, which you can download for free here (you'll need to enter a valid email address).
Vicki Leekx is a non-stop dance party for the apocalypse - a wild, 36-minute collage that mashes up heavy house and hip-hop beats, ominous found bits of sound like gun shots and bomb explosions, and exotic instrumentation. The mixtape features production from some of M.I.A.'s favorite collaborators, including Diplo, Blaqstarr, Switch, and Rusko.
While M.I.A. used many of these same producers for the avant-garde sounds on Maya, Vicki Leekx is more accessible.
On "Gen-N-E-Y," she mixes thunderous arena-rock drums and a catchy synth melody with her heavily auto-tuned vocals. (The track is a rejiggered version of the Diplo-produced "4 People on the Boat," which leaked earlier this year.) "Tamil Beat Munchi" hews closely to the poppy, Bhangra sounds of her 2007 Kala single "Bird Flu." And on the banging "Illy Girl," she gives shout outs to Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean" and Bruce Springsteen. There's also a track called "Let Me Hump You," where M.I.A. commands, "Just try and have a blast."
What do you think of M.I.A.'s latest? Hit us in the comments.