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M.I.A. Gets ‘More Musical’ on Her ‘Kala’ Follow-Up

The MC checks in from the studio about new disc, due in the summer

Feb 07, 2010

Jeff Kravitz/Filmmagic

For her last album, 2007’s Kala, M.I.A. wandered the world, recording with Indian street drummers ”“ but for her third album, due in the summer, she’s staying put in a Los Angeles studio. The 34-year-old artist, who got engaged and had a baby boy in the past few years, promises her most personal music. “I’m definitely more musical now than I was, and more honest now than I was,” she says. “The idea is just to be as human as possible.”

M.I.A.’s primary producer this time is Baltimore’s Blaq-starr ”“ who worked on Kala tracks, including the pulsing ”˜World Town’ ”“ with ”˜Paper Planes’ collaborators Diplo and Switch. Diplo describes the sessions as “laborious”: “People expect a lot from her.” Adds Blaq-starr, “I don’t want this album to sound like anything heard before. It’s gonna be a first of its kind ”“ a ”˜post’ experience, after everything else.”

Songs include ”˜I Fight the Ones That Fight Me,’ which M.I.A. describes as “dance-y and kind of weird,” and ”˜I’m Down Like Your Internet Connection.’ The song’s chorus came together while M.I.A. was on the phone with her ISP’s customer-service department: “I basically got Filipino Verizon workers to sing the hook to my internet song.”

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