Beep Beep-M.I.A is Coming Through [REVIEW]

By Zoe Elerby

As one of the most prevalent female rappers of the past two decades, M.I.A’s stamina in the music industry continues to grow at a steady pace, despite all of her accolades. Maya Arulpragasm, known as M.I.A has released five studio albums over the past 16 years that are righteously dance-worthy. M.I.A was fast growing from the beginning of her music career, releasing “Galang” with the Showbiz label under her well-known stage name.

However, M.I.A isn’t just a woman rapper that has a bone to pick with society, she has the perfect way of providing details about her experiences, the world and the state it is in through digestible and enjoyable tracks. “Paper Planes” is the first song a lot of people heard from her, including myself.

The track took off in the summer of 2008 when it was featured in the trailers for “Pineapple Express”, a 27 million dollar budget film featuring Seth Rogan, James Franco, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride. Soon, the song was on the radio and has been a staple for people when they hear the name M.I.A. She took that opportunity and the many more that came her way to create fun songs to dance to and brilliant lyrics to accommodate them.

M.I.A is heavily influenced by her past, as most artists are. But M.I.A has a story that isn’t heard often enough. Born in London to Sri Lankan parents, Maya Arulpragasm moved from London to Sri Lanka to Madras, India. As she was growing up, a civil war was taking place in Sri Lanka to which she lost friends as well as family members.

This is relevant to a lot of her songs, she references the U.N in a few of her songs. When interviewed about it, she jokingly talked of her school getting shot at as “fun”. Despite these unfair circumstances triggered by political negligence, M.I.A took this experience and the joys she did have to create art. Not only her music, but her paintings as well.

Her sixth studio album “Mata” is available on Spotify. With over 7 million listeners and millions more world-wide, M.I.A is a seasoned and respected artist which was only proven by her new release “Beep”. “Beep” has followed two of M.I.A’s recent releases, “Popular” and “The One”, all of which is on “Mata”. With “Beep” as the most recent release, listeners are getting a better sense of the message M.I.A is trying to spread.

This song specifically is a reflection of a common theme that female rappers take on; “You are a bad bitch and so am I”. This can be heard in music by Megan Thee Stallion, Qveen Herby, and Nicki Minaj. This theme is women supporting women, these rappers actively telling their female listeners that they are so much more than what they have been told or what they have experienced. M.I.A takes a more personal approach, referencing the U.N and politics and stating that she:

“Used a pen on men and made a dent, yeah time and time again, make it go top ten”

Referencing her success and how she broke through the glass ceiling. This may be perceived as boasting about her success, but she isn’t the only music artist who does this. This theme is common in female rappers, basically telling their listeners that she, the rapper, did what was supposedly impossible, crushed it and now no one can touch her. Looking at past women in the music industry, especially women of color, it can be dicey and quite upsetting. Having to work ten times as hard as men and in M.I.A’s case against an entire system, she has the right to brag and tell her audience:

“You can be who you want to be.”

This lyric is what starts the song and is repeated until it becomes part of the instrumental along with beats that are familiar to Bollywood beats as well as hip hop and baile funk. It’s easy to move your feet to this song and no matter how you move them, there’s no wrong way to do it.

With this lyric repeating over an intoxicating beat that will get stuck in your head, M.I.A is spreading a valuable message. M.I.A is actively encouraging her audience to pursue what they want, no matter how powerful the people trying to stop them are.

“Got to just be it, be happy and do it, no one can stop it, if they wanna they can try it. Next gen, transcend women and men, bring a noise, make it count, yeah do it again.” “Mata”’s release is out now and you can listen to “Beep” along with “The One” and “Popular” on Spotify and all music streaming platforms. M.I.A’s next era is coming very soon and we’re excited to see what righteous beats she’ll be bringing to us.

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