Results for M.I.A.

interviews

Jeff Chang

Jeff Chang, author of Can‘t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation, joins Jim and Greg in the studio this week. Jeff, who co-founded the Quannum Label in San Francisco, was on the show previously when his book first came out, and he and our hosts engaged in a discussion of hip-hop's history. Now that Jeff's book has come out on paperback, Jim and Greg welcome him back to the show to discuss where hip-hop is today and where it is going. In order to get a sense of hip-hop's diverse makeup, the three music journalists decide to embark on a geographical tour of the genre, beginning with Chicago and working their way through the United States, and even the U.K.

Go to episode 15
reviews
Kala (Bonus Track Version)Arular available on iTunes

M.I.A. Arular

The Sri Lankan-British rapper M.I.A. also has a new album out this week called Kala. After making a splash with her 2005 album Arular, Mya Arulpragasam impressed fans with her unique vocal style and memorable beats, but she also disappointed many with her live performances. Now she's back with another revolutionary sounding record — a collection of rhythms and sounds from all over the world. Jim was not as wowed by M.I.A. with her debut, and she doesn't quite win him over with this follow-up. He is impressed by Switch's production, but thinks that there are a number of bum tracks, especially the collaboration with Timbaland, and gives it a Try It overall. Greg agrees that the Timbaland track is a miss, but he thinks Kala is an extraordinary record. He describes it as a mind-blowing collage, something completely fresh and new. But, he also thinks that the hooks give Kala a long shelf life. Greg gives the second M.I.A. album a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 90
MayaMaya available on iTunes

M.I.A Maya

M.I.A. has released her new album Maya with the appropriate amount of controversy we expect from the pop provocateur. First, there was the shocking video for "Born Free." Then came the New York Times Magazine profile followed by a subsequent tweet-war. But Jim doesn‘t think it’s fair to describe the Sri Lankan singer as radical. She's full of contradictions, and that's ok with this critic. He loves the mix of noisy world genres and gives Maya a Buy It rating. Greg loved how M.I.A. took some of these sound elements out of the“ghetto”of world music and hip hop and re-imagined them. But, things are more awkward on this record. She's working with the same crop of producers, but the joy is a little lost. He gives M.I.A. a Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 243
AIM (Deluxe)AIM available on iTunes

M.I.A. AIM

AIM is the fifth record from Sri Lankan-British rapper M.I.A. She's known for being political with her music and this album is no different taking on weighty issues like immigration and the refugee crisis with songs like "Borders" and "Visa." Greg says that while the album shines at times, it is frustratingly inconsistent. Sometimes falling into a pop sound that undercuts the songs. Jim agrees and thinks the album is“half-baked.”He thinks M.I.A. could have used a producer or collaborators to focus the album. AIM is a double-Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 566
MatangiMatangi available on iTunes

M.I.A. Matangi

After three years of garnering more attention for her public antics than her music, agit-rapper M.I.A. is back with her fourth studio genre, Matangi. Both Jim and Greg think the effort is a refreshing return to form after her lukewarm 2010 release, Maya. However, Greg isn‘t much impressed by Matangi’s tonal turn away from the political and more towards the spiritual, which he thinks at times comes off as kind of superficial. Jim agrees that M.I.A. doesn't have as much to say this time out, but the music—a blend of western pop melodies and eastern dance rhythms—is still unmatched. Both critics give Matangi a Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 417
SantigoldSantigold available on iTunes

Santigold Santigold

The final album up for review comes from Santigold, an artist Greg highlighted during the SXSW episode. He has been a fan of her songwriting since he knew her as Santi White, an A&R executive turned musician. He thinks the songs are as strong on her self-titled debut, which features production from people like Diplo and Switch. He gives the album a Buy It. Jim is put off by the branding of Santigold, and what he thinks is blatant ripping off of M.I.A. But he‘d be willing to forgive Santi if her voice wasn’t so irritating. He gives Santigold a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 128
Impeach My BushImpeach My Bush available on iTunes

Peaches Impeach My Bush

The second album up for review is from Peaches. The Canadian electroclash singer, born Merrill Nisker, has just released her third album, and it doesn‘t fail to deliver the controversy. Jim and Greg couldn’t even say the record's title, Impeach My Bush, on air, instead opting for“Impeach My President.”Peaches, who has toured and collaborated with artists like Justine Frischmann of Elastica, M.I.A., Feist and Gonzales, has always enjoyed pushing buttons and playing with gender roles and cultural norms. Greg appreciated this sensibility when it was paired with sparse production and Peaches‘ trusty beat box, but he found he was much more entertained by her live show than her albums. Greg doesn’t think her ideas are as strong as her visual presence and can only give Impeach My Bush a Burn It. Jim, on the other hand, believes this is Peaches' first beginning-to-end album, and loves her take on the Bush administration, as well as her modern feminist philosophy. He gives it a Buy It, and would even purchase a copy for his daughter.

JimGreg
Go to episode 34
Chaka

Chaka Khan Hello Happiness

After a 12 year absence from the recording scene, Chaka Khan is back with Hello Happiness. Hello Happiness matches the veteran r&b artist (that Jim calls "one the greatest voices of the last half century") with edgy producers Switch and Sarah Ruba, best known for their work with Major Lazer and M.I.A. Jim calls the album an“overproduced experiment”and adds that songs like "Isn't That Enough" sound like the producers are“sampling”Chaka rather than just letting her sing. Greg agrees, noting that the overproduction results in her playing a side role on her own album. He concedes that the seed of the album started out as a good idea: hip, young producers working with a legend. And "Like Sugar," the album's lead single, wound up on his 2018 year end mixtape. That song features Chaka on timbales; and according to Greg, that's a sign she was more involved with that song than with others on the album. Both Jim and Greg hope to hear more from Chaka, with her talent more prominently in the forefront, soon.

JimGreg
Go to episode 693
Master of My Make-Believe (Deluxe Version)Master of My Make Believe available on iTunes

Santigold Master of My Make Believe

After wowing many people, including Greg Kot, with her 2008 debut Santigold, Santi White (now Santigold), is back with a new album called Master of My Make Believe. She's working with a number of new producers including members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV on the Radio, and she's expanded her sound palette substantially. But, thankfully, the songwriting is as strong as ever. Greg admits that she's not the most impressive vocalist, but he appreciates that in this era of over-singing. He says Buy It. Jim is especially taken with Santigold's exuberance, humor and spirit. He says it's a great contrast to the Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.'s of the world. Master of My Make Believe gets a double Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 336
dijs

Jim

“Vaseline”Elastica

Jim was in a Britpop mood when he chose this week's Desert Island Jukebox song. When you think Blur you think Damon Albarn, and when you think Damon Albarn, you might go back to his former lady love Justine Frischmann of Elastica. Incidentally, M.I.A. also ran in circles with Frischmann, and they collaborated on some of her early songs. Elastica broke up by 2001, but before that they released a slew of great pop-rock hits, including "Vaseline."

Go to episode 243
lists

The Best Songs of 2007 - Mixtapes

Jim and Greg present their Mixtapes for 2007. Check out the track listing below.

Go to episode 109

The Best Songs of 2013 - Mixtapes

We‘ve said goodbye to 2013, and now we want to salute the tunes that wowed us. There’s no better way than with a personal mixtape from Jim and Greg to you.

Go to episode 423

Best of 2007

It's a critic and a music fan's favorite time of year. Jim and Greg run down their top albums for 2007. You can view their complete lists below.

For more end-of-year discussion, check out the Sound Opinions Message Board.

Go to episode 107

The Best Songs of 2010 - Mixtapes

At the end of each year, Jim and Greg look back and pick out their favorite songs to make you a mixtape. Think of it as a soundtrack for 2010. They both play samples of the mix during the show, but you can stream both compilations in their entirety.

Go to episode 266

The Best Songs of the Millennium - Mixtapes

Jim and Greg like to end every year with a good old-fashioned mixtape (presented as a new-fashioned mp3 stream). But this year they decided to go even further and compile their favorite songs of the entire decade. They pick highlights to play during this episode, and their entire playlists are below. You can also stream their full mixtapes:

Go to episode 214
news

Music News

Jim and Greg have resisted talking about American Idol for quite a while, but this week this pop culture phenomenon couldn‘t be ignored. While these critics still don’t care about the musical impact of the show, they can't deny its significance in the industry. An average of 25 million people tuned in each week to see who would be declared the American Idol, commanding advertising rates that are only exceeded by the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. For the music industry, this means major sales. Past contestants like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Clay Aiken have sold 33 million records, and songs that appear on the show in any form immediately take off on the charts. Labels have taken note, sending aging artists like Rod Stewart, Queen and Barry Manilow, as well as fresher faces like Shakira, Mary J. Blige and Prince, to appear on the show. As much as both our hosts hope that audiences will decide to turn the dial toward something of better musical quality, Greg predicts that hipper acts in need of promotion will soon be calling up Fox. And until then, fans can look forward to much of the same.

Fans who purchased Sony CDs by artists like The Foo Fighters, The Coral, Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra can rest easy. While those CDs may have infected your computer with a virus-like anti-piracy software called MediaMax, a judge has ordered Sony to make up for it. Every customer infected with the software will receive a cash payment of $7.50 and one free album download or three free song downloads. Whoever claims that the record industry doesn'y care about the consumer obviously missed this news.

Rumor has it that Sri Lanka-born, England-based rapper M.I.A. is being denied a visa to come to the United States. M.I.A., or Maya Arulpragasam, has plans to record with producer Timbaland, but may have to postpone them. Whether or not the denial is related to the fact that she is the daughter of a Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger rebel, or the fact that many of her song lyrics are overtly political, is not known. What is known, however, is what a raw deal this is. While M.I.A., who has received masses of critical acclaim and was up for the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2005, will not be gracing Americans with her presence, our own Snoop Dogg has recently been barred from the U.K. Sound Opinions is willing to enter into diplomatic negotiations to work this out.

Go to episode 26

Music News

The week's first news story concerns two different markers of achievement in the music industry: The Grammy Awards and the Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll. Everyone, of course, knows about The Grammys—the annual awards given by the Recording Academy—but Jim and Greg argue that a better indicator of who deserved praise this year is the Pazz & Jop poll, which was taken by almost 800 music critics. There aren't many crossovers on the list of Village Voice winners and Grammy nominees, except for the critical and popular favorite Kanye West. The other musicians who finish out the top five—M.I.A., Sufjan Stevens, Sleater-Kinney and Fiona Apple—definitely don't appear on the Grammy ballot for "Album of the Year." The artists honored in that category include Mariah Carey, U2, Gwen Stefani and Paul McCartney.

Go to episode 10

Music News

Jim and Greg discussed the great Kanye West/50 Cent sales battle a couple of weeks ago, and this week the results are in. Kanye took it in a landslide with a #1 spot on the Billboard charts and a whopping 957,000 copies sold. Kanye's album Graduation is the biggest selling album so far this year and is the 15th biggest sales frame since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. 50 Cent's album Curtis only sold 691,000 in the first week, though for a hip hop debut that's nothing to scoff at. As Jim and Greg note, no one should shed a tear for 50 Cent. On Forbes' list of the biggest earning hip hop stars, Fiddy holds the #2 spot behind mogul Jay-Z. So, despite this recent loss, 50 Cent is laughing "Straight to the Bank."

If you've been surfing YouTube recently, you may have noticed Trent Reznor's call for more stealing. The man behind Nine Inch Nails is fed up with his record company's decision to hike prices for his album Year Zero and he let his grievances be known at an Australian concert. While he doesn't legally have the authority to give his music away, he does have a point; HMV in Australia is selling Year Zero for AU $32.99, which converts to about $28 in the States. That's definitely more than a music fan should have to pay for an album, especially one that utilized a web-based marketing campaign.

And while one musician embraces the web, another does not. Pop icon Prince plans to sue YouTube and other major web sites for unauthorized use of his music in a bid to“reclaim his art on the Internet.”In a recent statement his representative wrote:“YouTube … are clearly able (to) filter porn and pedophile material but appear to choose not to filter out the unauthorized music and film content which is core to their business success.”Prince obviously doesn‘t need to use the web to build a fan base, but to Sound Opinions H.Q., he’s beginning to sound like a cranky old man.

Also in the news is the death of longtime James Brown collaborator Bobby Byrd at the age of 73. One of the chief architects of Brown's trademark sound, Byrd is often referred to as“The Godfather of Soul's Godfather.”You can hear his contribution in tons of early Brown tracks. In fact, the repeating phrase“Get on up,”on "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine" was sung by Byrd. Byrd also had a successful solo career, and as Greg explains, his music can be heard sampled in countless late early hip hop songs. To pay honor to the soul/funk/R&B legend, Jim and Greg play his song, "I Know You Got Soul."

Jim and Greg speak with John Jurgensen, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. John recently wrote an article about how US visa procedures are squelching a British pop invasion. Artists like Lily Allen, M.I.A. and recent Mercury Prize winners The Klaxons have had to cancel tour dates and postpone recording sessions due to difficulties obtaining visas. John explains that this is partly due to Homeland Security crackdowns, which now mandate that artists themselves have to go to an embassy in person for fingerprinting and a retinal scan. John also says that artists have to prove that that they are legitimate,“internationally recognizable”acts. Jim and Greg wonder just how much more legit you have to be if Mercury Prize winners are getting hassled. The three reporters understand that these procedures are in place not just to protect Americans from danger but also from a loss of jobs, but unlike in the agriculture and technology industries, you can't sub one musician for another. And a loss of jobs and tour dates for one singer means the loss of many for the hundreds and thousands of promoters, roadies, sound engineers and teamsters here in the States.

Go to episode 95

Music News

The Grammys may be the most well-known music awards, but the Village Voice Pazz & Jop Critics Poll is perhaps the best barometer of what was good in the world of music. The ballots are in for 2008, and among the almost 600 critics surveyed, TV on the Radio's Dear Science came out on top. As Jim explains, the critics often do it better, but the poll is not perfect, especially since the departure of longtime Pazz & Jop“Dean”Robert Christgau. Usually the Village Voice list is vastly different from the list of Grammy nominations, but this year there are some crossovers, especially in terms of singles. M.I.A's "Paper Planes" and Estelle's "American Boy" got top marks in Pazz & Jop, as well as a number of Grammy noms.

On January 20, President Barack Obama not only inherited 2 wars and a failing economy. He also inherited a pretty kick-ass record collection. According to a recent story in Rolling Stone, there are several hundred LP's in the White House basement, including Led Zeppelin IV, Let it Bleed and Rocket to Russia, all provided by the RIAA and marked with the presidential seal. The list of records was not always so cool though. During the Nixon administration, album artists included Pat Boone and John Denver. So, Jim and Greg want to volunteer their own services to make sure that the collection thrives in the year to come. They say: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country's record collection."

Go to episode 166

Music News

745%. That's the increase in vinyl sales on Amazon. While vinyl sales still account for only 2% of the music industry, that's a number other retailers cannot ignore. Even Whole Foods! Want an LP with your tapenade? In Los Angeles, the food store is getting in on the vinyl action.

Last week, Jim and Greg spoke with Steve Jordan about who might win Canada's prestigious Polaris Music Prize. This week the winner was announced: Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Certainly this experimental rock group won't be walking away with a Grammy anytime soon. But, it seems that even this award might be too commercial or mainstream for the famously leftist group. Godspeed didn't show up to accept its award, and check out its response.

News broke that the N.F.L. has been secretly waging a $1.5 million war against rapper M.I.A. because of her un-ladylike conduct at last year's Superbowl halftime show. Well, compared to the violence and misogyny of the N.F.L., not to mention Madonna's underage dancers, M.I.A. says flipping the bird is nothing. Here's her response.

Go to episode 409