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M.I.A. and the Weeknd Swap Vocals on Two Near-Identical Tracks

M.I.A., 'Matangi,' the Weeknd, "Sexodus," "Exodus"

M.I.A.’s hookup with Toronto R&B lothario the Weeknd is as unusual as you might expect. When the London-born artist shared the track list for upcoming album Matangi, which lands on November 5 via Interscope, the noirish crooner born Abel Tesfaye wasn’t listed. But reports of his involvement on two tracks surfaced in mid-October, and M.I.A. told The Guardian she’d originally offered one of the songs to Madonna.

Now the follow-up to 2010’s MAYA has leaked, and we can compare the Weeknd-shaded tracks: “Exodus” and “Sexodus.” The two trip-hoppy tracks are strikingly similar in more than name, with Tesfaye’s deceptively feathery backing vocals floating on each behind a refrain of “Baby, you can have it all / Tell me what for.” Of the two, “Exodus” is more orchestral, and starts with a spoken-word portion, while “Sexodus” begins with whirring sound effects and swerves into TNGHT-like horn-blaring moments.

Listen to “Exodus” here and “Sexodus” here. Also from Matangi, M.I.A. has shared “Y.A.L.A.,” “Come Walk With Me,” “Bring the Noize,” “Only 1 U,” “AtTENTion,” and “Bad Girls.” As of early November 1, M.I.A. had yet to address the leak on Twitter, but a few months ago she threatened to leak the album herself.

Update: M.I.A.’s Matangi is streaming in full now via YouTube.