While much of the pre-release press for M.I.A.’s third studio album has focused on her politics, her battle with New York Times scribe Lynn Hirshberg, and other assorted squabbles, a new piece in GQ about the Sri Lankan rapper hones in on her role as a mother, and as the daughter of a revolutionary.
In the magazine’s July issue, the 34-year-old born Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam opens up about her family, including her father and her move to Los Angeles to raise her newborn son.
“I wanted an environment where I could have a lot of friends and family come and stay,” she said of her decision to leave the Big Apple for the Golden State. “That was the important part for me. And in New York I wouldn’t have been able to afford someplace where I could have, like, all my friends come and crash out and where I could still have a baby.”
While the rapper isn’t in frequent contact with her father Arular, after whom she named her musch proased debut album, he has been a major influence on her music and political views. He was a founding member of the Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students, a group devoted to forming an independent Tamil state in opposition to the Sinhalese-majority government, and separated from5 his family when they moved to the U.K., opting to continue his efforts with the Tamil people’s struggle.
“England gave me a free education,” M.I.A. said, “but my grades suffered because I didn’t have my dad to help me. I’ve paid the price. I’ve had the cause and effect, all that shit. I feel like I don’t have anything to do with my dad.”
SPIN’s review of M.I.A.’s new album MAYA, reflects the dichotomy of her new life and her childhood. “M.I.A. plants her feet firmly with this self-titled album, which she created primarily in America while tending to a newborn son,” music editor Charles Aaron writes. “[S]he proudly proclaims her intentions as a first-world pop star, de-emphasizing found collage and ‘third-world democracy’ for melodic sway and punky bluster.” Read the complete album review here.
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