Speculation over M.I.A.’s forthcoming album Matangi has been bubbling for nearly a year. Her 2010 output — the excellent Vicki Leekx mixtape and the divisive Maya — left a lot of us wondering where the bird-flipping star would head next, and we’ve been following the breadcrumbs faithfully since. There was the unexplained “Come Walk With Me” video, and that 20-second Twitter clip, plus SPIN’s own talk with Ms. Arulpragasam about her new music.
M.I.A. also explained publicly that Matangi is “a fuck you” to all who’ve burned her over the past few years, and then that the album was actually inspired by finding “spirituality through the Internet,” so at a certain point, the songs are just gonna have to speak for their own damn selves. Thankfully, that’s actually happening. On Sunday morning, M.I.A. shared “Matangi Mix for Kenzo,” assembled for the Japanese designer’s fashion show in Paris.
The 8:27 sampler platter is streaming over at MatangiMixtape.com, which begs some questions: Is this the Matangi mixtape, or will there be a longer one coming? And are these songs from the album, or just bits that helped inspire it?
UPDATE: M.I.A.’s publicist told SPIN that, “She’s calling it the ‘Matangi Mix’ because its Matangi time – it’s inspired by this concept that surrounds the album. There may be a lyric here and there that ends up on the album but that’s about it.”
The first half of the thing is instrumental, featuring a handful of internationally inspired loops cut with gritty drums and foreign chants. But then a Sleigh Bells-big beat comes in and we get some lyrics:
“I said hey, is it the sign of the times? Can we go find something money can’t buy?” And then: “I’m thankful for my hands, ’cause it’s a good thrower / I’m thankful for my body ’cause it’s a real banger / I’m thankful for my mouth ’cause it’s a real screamer / But most of all, I’m thankful for … my power!” What follows is a freestyle-feeling rhyme exhibiting some serious microphone chops, plus calls for/to “freedom”/”free dem.” Frankly, it’s over too soon.