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"They showed him a picture then; / Ain't that you with the Muslims?"
May 22, 2006 6:44 AM   Subscribe

Banned in D.C., not to mention the rest of the U. S. A. --British-Sri Lankan rapper M. I. A. (myspace page, with music), aka Maya Arulpragasam, has apparently been denied entry into the United States to record her next album, a follow-up to the surprise success of her first major release, "Arular." Could it have been this album that pricked the ears of immigration officials? Or maybe these lyrics ("Sunshowers," available at myspace)?
posted by bardic (151 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
If they deny entry to anyone with inane lyrics and banal music this could be a policy I support!

Seriously, I bet they never heard of her (like most of us) and the denial is for some mundane reason. (improper paperwork, drug conviction in country of origin etc.) It's a great opportunity to get some free publicity about how the man is putting you down and how fascist the USA is. (nevermind that she wanted to come here)
posted by acetonic at 6:52 AM on May 22, 2006


Isn't her father in the Tamil Tigers? (I don't know for sure, may just be an internet rumor). If it's true, I could see that being more of an issue, than her lyrics.
posted by stifford at 6:53 AM on May 22, 2006


It's probably because she's the daughter of one of the tamal tigers.
posted by puke & cry at 6:54 AM on May 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Interview (and video link) w/ M.I.A. from 2005, if interested.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:55 AM on May 22, 2006


I bet she was banned because she can't think of anything more complicated to rhyme then 'yo'.
posted by Mach5 at 6:57 AM on May 22, 2006


I bongo with My Lingo
Beat it like a wing yo
From Congo to Columbo
Can't sterotype my thing yo


Fo shizzle.
posted by three blind mice at 7:05 AM on May 22, 2006


If they outlaw inane lyrics and banal music, only America will ha... heeey waitaminute!
posted by slater at 7:06 AM on May 22, 2006


Arular is such a good album that every time I hear it I have an arulpragasam.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:08 AM on May 22, 2006


If the government cared about lyrics, it would have already done something about the "American bin Ladens" in Philadelphia.
posted by Alexandros at 7:13 AM on May 22, 2006


Hondafunds terrorism. (noviral)
posted by Hubajube at 7:15 AM on May 22, 2006


She posted this April 7, it's old news and likely just another paperwork/screening craziness issue. Just because a number of websites only noticed it in the last week doesn't mean it's suddenly more relevant. It just means they failed to notice or report it a month and a half ago.

I've planned to go to concerts that were cancelled because *Canadians* were having visa issues. Unless the US government has stated this was an issue due to terrorism, etc. then I wouldn't assume anything. Which genius is responsible for starting the avalanche of "articles" that are just reposts of her godawful myspace post, and why now?
posted by mikeh at 7:25 AM on May 22, 2006


This article mentions the whole dad-equals-tamil-tiger bit.

The NYT article linked in the lead post seems to gloss over that detail, which is... interesting.

I'm curious about her relation to the Tamil Tigers (I imagine the feds are too), but if Myspace posts are to be trusted (har har) Maya doesn't seem to want to mess with that.

Articles from established media seem to downplay the relation as a biological thing if anything at all, but the hyphenmagazine blog (main link in lead post) seems to imply a more personal connection. Anyone have a clearer answer?
posted by pokermonk at 7:31 AM on May 22, 2006


honourable mention to a previous (youtube is the new memory hole).
I remember nightmares the first time around.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 7:55 AM on May 22, 2006


This has happened before with her.
posted by dw at 7:57 AM on May 22, 2006


Does this mean no "Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol 2."? Oh, man, you know Diplo's pissed. Hopefully he'll funnel any loose rage into releasing more bangin' podcasts...
posted by SweetJesus at 8:00 AM on May 22, 2006


She offends me. Not her "shoot from the hip radical" politics, but because she sucks that bad.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:03 AM on May 22, 2006


This is toopid. I've heard her Galang song used in a car commercial. She's been good and co-opted already. The system works!

(I've also heard The Books in a car commercial recently)
posted by fleetmouse at 8:04 AM on May 22, 2006


She's no Cat Stevens, that much is clear.
posted by fire&wings at 8:08 AM on May 22, 2006


wow, what annoying music.
posted by b_thinky at 8:16 AM on May 22, 2006


She played live in Philadelphia last year. Unless her father just joined the Tamil Tigers, she was given an entry visa last year despite her father's political activities.
posted by Mr. Six at 8:19 AM on May 22, 2006


Any other droning bores who didn't get a chance to complain about her music last time around?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:20 AM on May 22, 2006


Man, tough crowd. (I like her stuff a lot. I don't think the lyrics are banal, nor do I find the music tedious. but, you know, different strokes, etc.)


Anyway, my first thought was that her father's political affilitation could have something to do with the visa denial. However, then I read dw's link and it seems pretty clear that it's something that will probably be easily resolved and not politically related. But seriously, is it that beyond the scope of reason to see some political motivation behind this kind of action?
posted by piratebowling at 8:32 AM on May 22, 2006


That video is insane.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 8:32 AM on May 22, 2006


apparently tons of people are now having trouble getting in (especially artists and lecturers and writers and conference attendees), and her political stances can't be helping.

i like her stuff tho.

didn't she perform in Central Park last summer?
posted by amberglow at 8:39 AM on May 22, 2006


Surprising to me that she got her visa in the first place last go-round. Some consular officer must have gotten some real heat on that one once she became more broadly known.
posted by junebug at 8:42 AM on May 22, 2006


Quit bending all my Fingo
Quit beating me like you're a ringo
You wanna go?
You wanna win a war?
Like p.L.O I don't surrendo


Uh. I think there is in fact a law against changing all the ends of words to 'o' to make them rhyme. Good riddance.
posted by cellphone at 8:56 AM on May 22, 2006


apparently tons of people are now having trouble getting in (especially artists and lecturers and writers and conference attendees), and her political stances can't be helping.

America, you have fallen so far so quickly. Once the beacon of the world, now a hollow xenophobic shell, so afraid of ideas that might disturb the placid surface of denial...
posted by dinsdale at 8:57 AM on May 22, 2006


amberglow, yes, she did play in Central Park last summer. For free, too.
posted by piratebowling at 8:59 AM on May 22, 2006


[your favorite artist] sucks was banned from the US.
posted by graventy at 9:11 AM on May 22, 2006


The beats on her album are tight. I don't think I'd care if she were reciting nursery rhymes over them.

MeFi lyric haters: have you actually heard the album?
posted by mullingitover at 9:11 AM on May 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


yes, she did play in Central Park last summer. For free, too.

I've always suspected that if you set up a respectable-looking kiosk and handed out free cat shit, a few people would actually take some.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:12 AM on May 22, 2006


"Any other droning bores who didn't get a chance to complain about her music last time around?"

Are we ruining your fan club? Sorry we are all so ignorant not to see the genius at work before us. She's really doing something innovative, yo? I've heard 4th graders more creative, yo.

"America, you have fallen so far so quickly. Once the beacon of the world, now a hollow xenophobic shell, so afraid of ideas that might disturb the placid surface of denial..."

Ugh. Yes, afraid this dynamo of a talent might 'shake up the world'.

"she did play in Central Park last summer. For free, too."

Oh Jesus Christ on a fucking piece of toast already....like someone would actually pay her to 'perform'? Do you really think a lot of these artists are paid at these events? Wake up Pirate.
posted by j.p. Hung at 9:13 AM on May 22, 2006


MeFi lyric haters: have you actually heard the album?

Is this a rhetorical question? ;)
posted by Mr. Six at 9:16 AM on May 22, 2006


Oh Jesus Christ on a fucking piece of toast already....like someone would actually pay her to 'perform'? Do you really think a lot of these artists are paid at these events? Wake up Pirate.

Uh, people who saw it didn't have to pay to get in. I'm pretty sure the event organizers paid her, she's not doing charity.
posted by tristeza at 9:19 AM on May 22, 2006


My understanding that she was denied entry because in the box marked "Do not write in this box" she wrote "OK."
posted by maxreax at 9:20 AM on May 22, 2006


Any other budding music critics need a break from World of Warcraft? Hurry up and whine! Time is running out.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:22 AM on May 22, 2006


Wow the comments here are great! Do any of you have opinions on Radiohead or Coldplay?
posted by signal at 9:29 AM on May 22, 2006


tristeza, that wasn't a joke. It's entirely common for artists to play for free or for a nominal fee at these festivals. It's part of making a name in this business. Headliners make the bucks but it's common for opening acts (of which there can be many at a festival) to go merely for the exposure and possible cd sales.

And if maxreax is right, you can begin placing that foot in your mouth dinsdale.
posted by j.p. Hung at 9:29 AM on May 22, 2006


Wow, lots of haters in the house. I think her album is pretty fantastic. Good beats. I didn't realize that that many people were familiar with her enough to hate her. Maybe it's because she was on an awful lot of top ten albums of the year lists last year. Although lists are subjective blah blah

She's really doing something innovative, yo? I've heard 4th graders more creative, yo.

Clearly you are a hip hop connoisseur. You said yo.
posted by dig_duggler at 9:35 AM on May 22, 2006


It's entirely common for artists to play for free or for a nominal fee at these festivals.

It wasn't a festival. It was SummerStage.
posted by smackfu at 9:41 AM on May 22, 2006


America, you have fallen so far so quickly. Once the beacon of the world, now a hollow xenophobic shell, so afraid of ideas that might disturb the placid surface of denial...

Oh get over it already yo... exaggerate much?
posted by Witty at 9:44 AM on May 22, 2006


i think she's kinda hot.
posted by Stynxno at 9:47 AM on May 22, 2006


Like a lot of people here, I demand sophisticated lyricism and biting cultural critique from my dance music. It gives me something to think about while I'm shaking my ass.

Admittedly, some of MIA's would-be radical posturing is a little over the top given the actual content, but who the fuck listens to MIA for the lyrics? Go search for grammatical errors in 2 Live Crew lyrics or something.
posted by hypocritical ross at 9:54 AM on May 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


.o
posted by parallax7d at 9:57 AM on May 22, 2006


"Good beats." I've always found that type of assessment of a music release to be funny. I guess, as a musician, I'm able to listen to music and appreciate it on a level that goes beyond saying "It's got a good beat and I can dance to it." "Good beats" is especially funny in this case, considering it appears from what I've seen and heard of M.I.A. that she's being marketed as a singer, not a drum programmer. It's like a restaurant reviewer praising the designer of the silverware on the table and saying comparatively little about the quality of the food on the menu. A telling comment, that's all.
posted by emelenjr at 9:58 AM on May 22, 2006


"Good beats." I've always found that type of assessment of a music release to be funny. I guess, as a musician, I'm able to listen to music and appreciate it on a level that goes beyond saying "It's got a good beat and I can dance to it." "Good beats" is especially funny in this case, considering it appears from what I've seen and heard of M.I.A. that she's being marketed as a singer, not a drum programmer.

O great musician, will you teach us how to appreciate music on a level beyond "good beats"? Will you show us the light out of our unsophisticated cage? Will you illustrate to us laymen what makes music good, so we can cast aside our silly "dance music"?
posted by maxreax at 10:03 AM on May 22, 2006


"Good beats." I've always found that type of assessment of a music release to be funny. I guess, as a musician, I'm able to listen to music and appreciate it on a level that goes beyond saying "It's got a good beat and I can dance to it."

Jesus fucking Christ. Music discussions on metafilter really bring out the assholes.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:03 AM on May 22, 2006


You know what?

I haven't really heard any of her songs.

But I'm not the kind of ignorant son of a bitch too self-absorbed with my own superior taste in music to realize there's some injustice going on here.

All you folks saying "good riddance" because of the content of her lyrics or the production value of her songs look pretty fucking stupid.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 10:04 AM on May 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


j.p., there was no need to get defensive like that. She performed for free as in "it was a free show for the audience." Nowhere did I say or imply that she did it without getting paid. I'm sure she was compensated. It was just nice to see something for free in NYC. Jesus, you seem to get awfuly worked up about this chick.
posted by piratebowling at 10:05 AM on May 22, 2006


t's like a restaurant reviewer praising the designer of the silverware on the table and saying comparatively little about the quality of the food on the menu.

And a word on this:

Beats:Music::Silverware:Food is just about the worst analogy I've ever heard. As a musician, you should know better; rhythm is at least as important in any given piece of music as melody or harmony is, and because M.I.A. is largely a rapper, it's doubly so.

And JESUS WTF is so wrong with liking music because you can dance to it?
posted by maxreax at 10:05 AM on May 22, 2006


If the US were to shut MIA out of the country because of her relation to a known terrorist, wouldn't we also have to shut out another rising pop star?
posted by Afroblanco at 10:05 AM on May 22, 2006


Afroblanco, the US won't get worked up about her. It's not like she's Saddam's niece, right? ;)
posted by piratebowling at 10:08 AM on May 22, 2006


Long live Bachman-Turner Overdrive!
posted by blucevalo at 10:11 AM on May 22, 2006


If the US were to shut MIA out of the country because of her relation to a known terrorist, wouldn't we also have to shut out another rising pop star?

MIA's family didn't bail out Bush II's failed oil business or help build US military bases in Saudi Arabia.

She's got good beats, but no profitable family connections. It's just business, nothing personal.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:12 AM on May 22, 2006


"Good beats" is especially funny in this case, considering it appears from what I've seen and heard of M.I.A. that she's being marketed as a singer, not a drum programmer

Except M.I.A is the singer, and Diplo from Hollertronix "programmed" the drums, or whatever dismissive description you're apt to use.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:12 AM on May 22, 2006


You know what?

I haven't really heard any of her songs.

But I'm not the kind of ignorant son of a bitch too self-absorbed with my own superior taste in music to realize there's some injustice going on here.

All you folks saying "good riddance" because of the content of her lyrics or the production value of her songs look pretty fucking stupid.


Dude, then click on the Myspace link.

The beats are absolutely disgusting -- on some WalMart reggaeton ish, the type of thing you could produce in FruityLoops in 10 minutes.

I'm not being a music snob by saying that. I'm a hip hop head. But I know a bad beat when I hear it, and this barely qualifies as hip hop.

I'm not saying that should disqualify her from recording in the U.S. -- God knows we have our share of horrible hip hop -- but let's not pretend we're talking about Illmatic over here.
posted by Alexandros at 10:13 AM on May 22, 2006


Except M.I.A is the singer, and Diplo from Hollertronix "programmed" the drums, or whatever dismissive description you're apt to use.

She programs her own rhythms with a Roland MC-505 and I've read elsewhere that she's produced with an Akai MPC 2000.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:17 AM on May 22, 2006


Oh, another thing becaus I can't let this go.

j.p. Hung, I hope you weren't serious when you wrote:

And if maxreax is right, you can begin placing that foot in your mouth dinsdale.

As what maxreax wrote was clearly a joke.
posted by piratebowling at 10:20 AM on May 22, 2006


Oh yeah, and almost forgot -

MIA Rocks! Her beats are funky and her lyrics are original. Her music is excellent for having sex and for dancing. On top of that, she's hot as hell and dances better then you do. So SUCK! IT! HATERS!

PS - I also love the Grateful Dead. Yup, you heard me, The Grateful Dead. In fact, I like all kinds of music that you probably don't like. Doesn't that just get your goat? Doesn't that just make you want to jump up and scream? Can you take it? Can you take it? Is it just too goddamn much for you to handle?

Poor bastards.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:21 AM on May 22, 2006


damn! The overall sound, on her MySpace tracks, kicks ass. Great sounds, novel production, catchy as hell.

Lyrics? I could care less. I can't understand a word she's saying - her voice is just another instrument in the ensemble.

This ain't no Donuts(J.Dilla) but it's pretty good, in a "new and novel sound is clever and therefore good" kind of way.
posted by C.Batt at 10:22 AM on May 22, 2006


I'm going to be different and refrain from suggesting anyone here is an asshole.

My point is that M.I.A. seems to have nothing to do with the production of beats—she is a singer or rapper or whatever word you'd like to use to describe what she does, not a drummer or drum programmer. Maybe the restaurant analogy wasn't the best, although I think it's still valid, but I'll gladly replace it with a musical one. Praising the beats on M.I.A.s records is a bit like saying you really love the piano parts on John Coltrane's recordings. Sure, the piano is integral to the music, but it's sort of a backhanded compliment to say that the thing you enjoy the most about so-and-so's music is the part that someone else contributes. Maybe there are people who listen to John Coltrane specifically for the piano, or listen to—fuck, I don't know, Frank Sinatra for the string section, Britney Spears for the rhythm guitar, but if that's the best that people can say about M.I.A.—who is not a drummer or drum programmer—that they like the drums, then maybe M.I.A. isn't working hard enough to stand out from the stellar drum beats.
posted by emelenjr at 10:26 AM on May 22, 2006


emelenjr for the last time, she progams her own beats. SHe collaborates with others on some, but she does most of them herself. This is why your complaints/analogies aren't working.
posted by piratebowling at 10:29 AM on May 22, 2006


The beats are absolutely disgusting -- on some WalMart reggaeton ish, the type of thing you could produce in FruityLoops in 10 minutes.

It's baile funk - that's the fucking point. It's genesis is in little kids screaming about fucking over Smith's breaks - not high art, just interesting party music. For example:

Diplo - Favela on Blast (Baile Funk Mix) MP3


She programs her own rhythms with a Roland MC-505 and I've read elsewhere that she's produced with an Akai MPC 2000.

emelenjr for the last time, she progams her own beats.

Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol 1 (MP3) is all Diplo beats - hence all the Baile Funk breaks and the three hip-hop remix tracks. Arular is the same thing as Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol 1, just rearranged with different instrumentals and less bailie funk because the mix tape infringed too many copyrights. She may work out the rhythms, but her albums have been co-produced with Diplo and a host of other producers.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:32 AM on May 22, 2006


SwwetJesus, your last link does not work. Do you have another source? I wouldn't mind comparing it with Arular to see how the drum tracks differ.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:37 AM on May 22, 2006


suffice to say, I'm a huge Diplo and M.I.A fan.

If you hate M.I.A., you're going to hatttttttttte Bonde del Role - the shit is bananas.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:38 AM on May 22, 2006





I'm not saying that should disqualify her from recording in the U.S. -- God knows we have our share of horrible hip hop -- but let's not pretend we're talking about Illmatic over here.


Fair enough. The music isn't for me, either. But it shouldn't be the point of discussion in this thread at all.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 10:39 AM on May 22, 2006


Sweet, cheers.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:40 AM on May 22, 2006


Fine, thank you for pointing out that comment that I seem to have glossed over. I take back what I said about M.I.A. having nothing to do with beat production. Still, she's not selling herself as a beat programmer, she's selling herself as someone who can sing and dance—at least that's how it seems to me from listening to her music and watching her videos. I wish I'd read the comments in this thread more closely, because then I wouldn't have missed that point about her doing more than that.
posted by emelenjr at 10:41 AM on May 22, 2006


SweetJesus, that shit is bananas!

ty

oh yeah, and I almost forgot: this thread is over 60 comments and I've yet to see the obligatory "your favourtie band sucks", or something to that effect. So, without further ado:

your favourite band sucks.
posted by C.Batt at 10:44 AM on May 22, 2006


Haterade--the aqua vitae of mefi. Pre-emptively, I'd like to tell each of you that your favorite musician, author, politician, comedian, painter, sculptor, photographer, or dancer sucks. And your highly subjective sense of taste is nowhere near as impeccable as my highly subjective sense of taste (but what really takes the cake is those of you who admit you don't listen to much new music, not to mention rap and/or hip-hop, and then tell the rest of us who try to keep up a bit, if not a lot, what we should think--funny.)

I think MIA is great, and thought about putting some info on the Tamil Tiger situation into the FPP, and the rise of Muslim fundamentalism as well. That said, IMO, "Sunshowers" is a great tune that manages to be danceable and, for lack of a better word, political at the same time. Americans have the luxury of having their pop culture usually operate in the realm of "art for entertainment only's sake," but for many musicians elsewhere, that's not the case, nor even a possibility. And of course she's not a saint, nor a Mother Theresa of grime or anything, but it's interesting to me that she (apparently) wants to come to the US to do the most commecial of things--record with Timbaland--and only now is she being called on her somewhat provocative political stance (and I totally agree with the point above that much of it is simply part of her image).
posted by bardic at 10:46 AM on May 22, 2006


(C. Batt beat me to it!)
posted by bardic at 10:47 AM on May 22, 2006


I am digging this music.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:48 AM on May 22, 2006


Kudos on the Bad Brains reference, by the way.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 10:48 AM on May 22, 2006


I think the new Donald Fagen album is out, guys--the Virgin Megastore probably has it, if you get tired of sledging in here.
posted by hototogisu at 10:54 AM on May 22, 2006


Suck it, haters!
posted by mullingitover at 10:59 AM on May 22, 2006


M.I.A. writes about fucking, dancing, being persecuted, discriminated and poor and a bit more about fucking. She does it with grace, wit, rhythm and style. And you can dance to it.
posted by signal at 11:18 AM on May 22, 2006


America, you have fallen so far so quickly. Once the beacon of the world, now a hollow xenophobic shell, so afraid of ideas that might disturb the placid surface of denial

What kind of ideas would those be? Ideas on how to prop up a silly image as an angry rebel while turning yourself into a salesgirl for Honda at the first opportunity?
posted by TBoneMcCool at 11:31 AM on May 22, 2006


This is such BS. Foreign artists are denied access to the U.S. all the time, and it has nothing to do with lyrics and who their dads are. You'd be amazed at how many bands couldn't get in the country for SXSW this year. Likewise, I know of three American bands who couldn't get into Canada to play a show. There's so much red tape involved with these things. I'm chalking this one up to simple bureaucracy.
posted by lunalaguna at 11:32 AM on May 22, 2006


For Beatles vs Aerosmith's sake, people. M.I.A. has already been debated here, and she hit as a meme over a year ago at MetaFilter.

Is it low-fi? Yes. Do I understand her lyrics? Fuck no. Do I love listening to it? Hell yes.

She's a peer of Justine Frischmann (Elastica) and Peaches. She learned about the machines from one/both of them, and surely others.
posted by VulcanMike at 11:43 AM on May 22, 2006


Yup. Old article, and probably routine BS.

but hey, if it gets on BoingBoing and riles up the "OMG AmeriKKKa is soooo facist now! Down with Bush!" crowd... maybe it'll sell a few records.

Yawn.
posted by drstein at 11:47 AM on May 22, 2006


Jesus Mefi does bad with the music threads.

My point is that M.I.A. seems to have nothing to do with the production of beats—she is a singer or rapper or whatever word you'd like to use to describe what she does, not a drummer or drum programmer. Maybe the restaurant analogy wasn't the best, although I think it's still valid, but I'll gladly replace it with a musical one. Praising the beats on M.I.A.s records is a bit like saying you really love the piano parts on John Coltrane's recordings. Sure, the piano is integral to the music, but it's sort of a backhanded compliment to say that the thing you enjoy the most about so-and-so's music is the part that someone else contributes. Maybe there are people who listen to John Coltrane specifically for the piano, or listen to—fuck, I don't know, Frank Sinatra for the string section, Britney Spears for the rhythm guitar, but if that's the best that people can say about M.I.A.—who is not a drummer or drum programmer—that they like the drums, then maybe M.I.A. isn't working hard enough to stand out from the stellar drum beats.

I wasn't going to comment on this because I really should resist, but I said great album, good beats. I think it has good beats. I also think it has interesting lyrics from a unique POV and an intriguing vocal style. If I realized that my hey-i-found-this-album-good-and-liked-the-beats was going to turn into a full-blown review, I would have been a little more verbose. How one qualifier turned into assessments of an assessment is beyond me. I could have just as easily mentioned either of the above (and probably shouldn't have mentioned any qualifiers. Me liking it is subjective, but as I pointed out so did an awful lof of other people who make their living [i.e. get paid a good bit of money] reviewing music).

As for your analogy. Good beats on a rap album = good rhythm on a Spears album? I'm sure some will beg to differ, but beats are integral to a hip hop album, even if the artist doesn't write them, kinda like George Martin was integral to the Beatles albums. It flavors the whole album. I thought it was worth a mention. If I said nice production on a Beatles album, would you have the same issues? Phil Spector's wall of sound? What Rubin chose to do with Cash in his later years? "I really liked American Recordings. Really well produced and stripped down." Do I get flamed for only praising the minimalist approach? This is especially perplexing since you are a musician and felt the need to point that out.
posted by dig_duggler at 11:54 AM on May 22, 2006


Wow, I feel like such a troll, which was not my intention. And as I have no knowledge of the reasons for Maya's visa denial, I have no opinion about whether or not these reasons were politically motivated or simply bureacratic. Nor do I disagree with those above who've accused her of milking the whole Tamil Tigers connection for publicity, or taken her to task over the Honda commercial (pretty much the definition of selling out.)

The point is, it's not about one person or one incident, which is why I quoted amberglow's comment that it isn't just musicians, but "artists and lecturers and writers and conference attendees" who are being denied entry to the formerly-welcoming arms of the USA.
posted by dinsdale at 11:57 AM on May 22, 2006


When a plumber unclogs your toilet and you have to cut him a check for $300.00, is he selling out too?
posted by bardic at 12:10 PM on May 22, 2006


Only if he hums the Roto Rooter song while beatboxing.
posted by Mr. Six at 12:13 PM on May 22, 2006


First they came for the sucky beats, and I snarked online....
posted by maryh at 12:13 PM on May 22, 2006


Still, she's not selling herself as a beat programmer, she's selling herself as someone who can sing and dance—at least that's how it seems to me from listening to her music and watching her videos.

And, of course, when evaluating the quality of music, the most important factor to consider is the marketing.
I think you completely missed the point of your own analogy.

Also, her music isn't exactly hip hop, is it?.
posted by Zetetics at 12:14 PM on May 22, 2006


US artist visas are not a joke - extemely arbitrary and not subject to appeal. I'm usually amazed that anybody actually does get into the US to perform. Couple of years ago my band was set to tour the east coast - two American citizens, three Hungarians. Couldn't get the Hungarians visas, and short of having a Congressman take the issue up personally, no appeal.

Regardless of you opinion of MIA's music, somebody at the US visa office must have taken a look at her work, read something about her father, and thought "radical, non-white, uses profane language." Fair it is not. But there are thousands of lesser known artists also rejected for visas.
posted by zaelic at 12:15 PM on May 22, 2006


Also, her music isn't exactly hip hop, is it?.

Her music is exactly hip-hop.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:18 PM on May 22, 2006


This thread is awesome!
posted by OmieWise at 12:20 PM on May 22, 2006


I like Diplo a lot. MIA's stuff is good. I'd like to see more of what she sounds like without him but they make a good team. The producers and musicians take a backseat to the MCs in hip hop. The important people still know and it helps them in the long run. No one knew Kanye when he was helping to turn Jay-Z from a shitty-but-popular rapper into a crossover superstar (who still can't rap worth a dime)

Other uneven production teams I'm fond of:
Busdriver and Daedalus. Aesop Rock and Blockhead.
It took a few years but these producers are starting to hit.

Still, I don't want to hear another word about revolution or rebellion from fucking MIA until she shows me a receipt that says all that money from Honda went straight to her dad and the Tamil Tigers.
posted by elr at 12:20 PM on May 22, 2006


Afroblanco, that was a really great rant, but I think it needs just one tiny improvement:

In fact, I like all kinds of music that you probably don't like. Doesn't that just get your goat? Doesn't that just make you want to jump up and scream? Can you take it? Can you take it? Is it just too goddamn much for you to handle? Can you handle this? No I don't think you can handle this. I don't think you're ready for this jelly!
posted by funambulist at 12:23 PM on May 22, 2006


I have an idea, let's argue about which flavor of popsical is the best. I say cherry is the best and grape tastes like shit and is played out.
posted by I Foody at 12:28 PM on May 22, 2006


Everyone knows banana popsicals rule.
posted by dig_duggler at 12:31 PM on May 22, 2006



Other uneven production teams I'm fond of:
Busdriver and Daedalus. Aesop Rock and Blockhead.
It took a few years but these producers are starting to hit.


Ill producers to be on the lookout for:

Doomtree Crew, Trackazoids Productions (aka One.Be.Lo and some other cat), Fourtet, Koushuik and Oh No (aka Madlib's brother).
posted by SweetJesus at 12:36 PM on May 22, 2006


OK... I dont have the patience to read all the prior posts, but I just want to say that her music is excellent. I was really excited about her album when it came out, her sound is cool and grimey and innovative. So there!
posted by mert at 12:36 PM on May 22, 2006


Her music is exactly hip-hop.
Having consulted the google, I concede the point.

However, lime totally pisses on bannana.
posted by Zetetics at 12:38 PM on May 22, 2006


If I could figure out what the hell this thread is about anymore I'd add it to the list of flamewar inducing topics.

For now I'll just add it to my own personal list of favorites.
posted by sveskemus at 12:56 PM on May 22, 2006


Being refused entrance into the US; goooood for her street credz!
Havent heard Arular yet, but PFT v1 had some great tracks on it. Groooovy baby, groovy
posted by borq at 1:17 PM on May 22, 2006


No one cares whether you like or hate MIA.

Here's an Austin360 article about getting to the US as a performer. As you can imagine, things got much more difficult after 9/11.

maybe MIA should give Tamizdat a call...
posted by hellbient at 1:58 PM on May 22, 2006


So I was the one that posted the video (now it's on youtube, as ninjatadpole found but wow, I can't even watch it all the way through now. That's some amazingly bad 'dancing'.

Anyway, I like the beats/noise/grooves/etc myself, and the lyrics are part of her style, I think. They're not incredibly intelligent, but she's doing something interesting, at least.
posted by blacklite at 2:00 PM on May 22, 2006


I have an idea, let's argue about which flavor of popsical is the best.

Popsicles suck, you fucking fucker. Only pussies, commies, and fascists need sticks in their fuckin' pops.

Freezy-pops and otter-pops are where it's at, yo. And the flavor of choice is blue flavor, because it tastes blue.

Also, all fat children should be circumcised at least twice by roving bands of chain-smoking Critical Mass cyclists in order to avoid taking happy-pills.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:02 PM on May 22, 2006


All you losers probably listen to your MIA or not MIA on MP3 players with 128kbps compressed files. Christ, you have to be a total idiot not to be sickened by that terrible audio quality and those shitty iPod earbuds. Buying music from iTunes... what a bunch of suckers.

NOTE: I just figured it was time to start a new music flame war with a whole new category of elitist and snobby inflammatory remarks about other people's tastes and consumer preferences. Just because paying for iTunes does in fact make you a sucker, doesn't mean there isn't a more polite way to broach the subject.
posted by Farengast at 2:15 PM on May 22, 2006


America, you have fallen so far so quickly.
posted by dinsdale

I'm sorry, but this is just begging for it:

Dinsdale likes this record very much.

He'll get it.
posted by Dunwitty at 2:23 PM on May 22, 2006


So, is there any information at all about the reasons she's being denied entry or is it one of those things where even if there are reasons they are just not being made public and everyone including Ms Arulpragasam will only be left speculating forever and ever ever ever ever?

And, just out of curiosity: are Norwegian rockers \m/ ever denied entry in the US?
posted by funambulist at 2:45 PM on May 22, 2006


Ach, Finnish I meant!
posted by funambulist at 2:47 PM on May 22, 2006


Not the same level but the same assholes :

from : IAmTheBeatles :

For four years, John Lennon had to endure FBI surveillance, and continued harassment from the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS). Was John Lennon successfully deported - no. However, in 1975, the chief counsel of the INS resigned, and after doing so, publicly stated that the United States government, i.e., the Republican Party, spent millions of tax dollars, and conducted a more vehement attempt to deport John Lennon than it did in trying to throw out Nazi war criminals. It should be noted too, that all activities involving Lennon, or his intended activities, were protected under the First Amendment, which extends this protection to both citizens and non-citizens alike. John Lennon broke no laws in trying to fight for the many injustices he believed in.
posted by zouhair at 2:53 PM on May 22, 2006


Yeay, Godwin!
posted by borq at 3:49 PM on May 22, 2006


(does indirect-by-quoting count?)
posted by borq at 3:50 PM on May 22, 2006


I'm setting my alarm for the thread dissing Spankrock sometime next winter. Go back to sleep, fogies. Esp. you Curley, you old bastard.
posted by yerfatma at 4:36 PM on May 22, 2006


Without the opinions of jonmc, this thread is pointless
posted by pieisexactlythree at 5:10 PM on May 22, 2006


Rolling Stone gave M.I.A.'s "Arular" four stars, saying,

"You've never heard anything like M.I.A. -- the sound of jump-rope rhymes in a war zone. She blew out of the London electro underground last year with her indie debut single, "Galang." M.I.A. chants the hook "London calling/Speak the slang now" while she plays with her cheapskate beatbox and amps up her minimal buzzes and bleeps into monstrously cool explosions. It sounds like Bow Wow Wow shooting bottle rockets into a vintage Ms. Pac-Man machine to scare the quarters out. M.I.A.'s long-awaited full-length debut, Arular, is every bit as stunning as "Galang": weird, playful, unclassifiable, sexy, brilliantly addictive."

The review is pretty dead-on. I prefer most of my music to be lyric-driven -- hell, nearly half of what I listen to are classic songs from the '30s, '40s, and early '50s -- but I'm hardly ignorant about other forms of music too, as I used to manage a record store, promote concerts, and work in radio. Frankly, her album is the kind that would've triggered all my sensors, as it both sounds, feels, and looks unique AND accessable.

Would I trade it for one of my Billie Holliday CDs? Hell no... but I would certainly consider it one of the most important electronic dance albums since Prodigy's "The Fat of the Land".

Her skill at doing this kind of music is obvious, and her approach is distinctly different and rather bold and underground. She was doing this kind of music in London for quite awhile before it really became a big thing, where it was very much a part of the art/music underground. Now it's bigger, but it's still pretty impressive. It's odd to think that art stations like Resonance FM in London, the fashion runway chic, and NYC ad execs all seem to like her stuff. That doesn't happen too often.

Rolling Stone's readers gave the album four-and-a-half stars, by the way, so apparently I'm not the only one who is impressed.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:26 PM on May 22, 2006


Rolling Stone's readers gave the album four-and-a-half stars, by the way, so apparently I'm not the only one who is impressed.

And it got an 8.6/10 at Pitchfork. However, this may be damning evidence on Metafilter.
posted by mullacc at 5:56 PM on May 22, 2006


This is the funniest thread EVAR.

(And I feel bad, having only really liked the singles and having been underwhelmed by the rest of the album... It's neither great nor shit, so all the venom seems really silly.)
posted by klangklangston at 6:13 PM on May 22, 2006


yerfatma, I officially hate you...

for getting me curious enough to google Spankrock.

That shit's bananas!

oh yeah and, Rolling Stone? Sucks. Pitchfork? Sucks.

[Anything else]? Sucks.
posted by C.Batt at 6:21 PM on May 22, 2006


I think MIA is great, and thought about putting some info on the Tamil Tiger situation into the FPP, and the rise of Muslim fundamentalism as well.

What connection does MIA have with the rise of Muslim fundamentalism?
posted by soiled cowboy at 7:08 PM on May 22, 2006


They were so angry at her lyrics that they sought help from Allah.
posted by smackfu at 7:12 PM on May 22, 2006


What connection does MIA have with the rise of Muslim fundamentalism?

The Tamil Tigers are in conflict with Tamil Muslims in Sri Lanka. The "rise in Muslim fundamentalism" might be seen in the context of the threats Muslim culture thinks it faces in South Asia; see the title of this post.
posted by Mr. Six at 7:25 PM on May 22, 2006


Lily Allen is where it's at.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:30 PM on May 22, 2006


2c: I have MIA's album, quite like it, used to listen to it on reasonably high rotation, *but* I have no idea why people carry on like she is high-political. First, you can't understand what she is singing. Then, if you look the lyrics up you find they are gibberish & forget them instantly. Something about Palestin-o, & a girl sending txt msgs 2 hr bf, whatever. It's just pop music; get over it.

Personally, I think this supposed "political" aspect is just a cynical marketing ploy, exploiting her "exotic" status in order to appeal to the Che T-shirt wearing crowd.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:42 PM on May 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


What Mr. Six said and, ya know, the freakin' post title and song lyrics.
posted by bardic at 7:43 PM on May 22, 2006


Seriously, full time hating on mefi these days huh?

That show at summer stage was very good and fun, which is a rarity at summerstage these days (Anyone see Manu Chao a couple few years ago at summer stage? That was beyond amazing, they're a whole other band live.) I can't listen to the album all the way through, it's great party music though. She dances like a nut and has great costumes, Diplo was really good and uhhh, DJ Rekha,I think, Bangara stuff. Good times. I hope she comes back around soon. I'll tell you pissers all about it when you're back from the brow furrowing workshop at the Death of Fun con. Sheesh.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:47 PM on May 22, 2006


Lily Allen is pretty fucking cool yeah.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:48 PM on May 22, 2006


UbuRoivas, I made it clear that she's no The Coup so to speak, but even in a relatively up-tempo number like "Sunshowers," she riffs on someone (I presume a friend or acquiantance) who was murdered by the police for suspected ties to Muslim terrorists. I think that's sad and, well, interesting to say the least, and puts a spin on "pop" music that's different in kind than, say, American gangsta rap. The violence is still there, but the political issues are less overt, IMO.

That said, having politics mixed into pop music and culture is much more of a problem for American tastes and sensibilities than for the rest of the world, where it's commonplace to do so--especially in third world countires, or performers transplanted to first world countries from much poorer and/or politically unstable ones. Sure, it happens, but it's a freakin' big deal when the Dixie Chicks say they don't like the president (*gasp*!). If anything, the apolitical, downright sterile nature of most American pop strikes me as strange when compared to the rest of the planet.
posted by bardic at 7:50 PM on May 22, 2006


Word Bardic, I'm down for runnin' up on them crackers in they city hall, myself.

I suspect it is because TPTB are never too psyched to have Americans realize how much the personal and the political intertwine in the world, most of the power in America flows from people thinking politics is some boring, nasty shit that happens far away from them.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:54 PM on May 22, 2006


These days at least.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:58 PM on May 22, 2006


What Mr. Six said and, ya know, the freakin' post title and song lyrics.

While it may be marginalized and occasionally brutalized, I don't think the character of Sri Lanka's very small Muslim community can fairly be called fundamentalist. Does she have any other connection with Islamic fundamentalism besides using the word Muslims in a lyric? I'm not snarking, I'm honestly curious because I've never heard about it before.
posted by soiled cowboy at 8:04 PM on May 22, 2006


Signs of a growth in Muslim extremism:

"It is only recently that the people in the east adopted strict codes which are not common in Sri Lanka. Here the Muslims have a history of practicing their religion in a pious but moderate manner that did not alienate them from the Tamils or the Sinhalese, in the multi ethnic east.

Now there is a lot of influence from the Middle East with Maulavis (Muslim religious heads) given scholarships for those countries. Their influence, when they come back here, carries a lot of weight," a Muslim scholar in the area said.

"The Muslims in the east have suffered extensively due to the twenty year old war and they feel that they do not have a proper voice. In this context, resorting to extremism could be seen as a shield," he said, adding that the clashes last year had set a dangerous trend.

"We cannot speak openly. We may even have to face death threats," the moderate scholar said on condition of anonymity.

posted by Mr. Six at 8:14 PM on May 22, 2006


Semi-9 and snipered him
On that wall they posted him
They cornered him
And then just murdered him

He Told them he didn't know them
He wasn't there, they didn't know him
They showed him a picture then ;
"Ain't that you with the Muslims?"

He got Colgate on his teeth
And Reebok classics on his feet
At a factory he does Nike
And then he helps the family

posted by bardic at 8:20 PM on May 22, 2006


Okay, so within Sri Lanka's small Muslim minority (which is known for its moderate temperament in a violent and fractious society), a small minority is showing recent signs of religious extremism. I suppose there's a connection there, but I'd call it a tenuous one.

Bardic, I'm sorry but frankly I don't understand what she's saying with those lyrics. Can you explain them to me? Has she ever stated more clearly a position on Islamic fundamentalism?
posted by soiled cowboy at 8:40 PM on May 22, 2006


Nor do I disagree with those above who've accused her of milking the whole Tamil Tigers connection for publicity, or taken her to task over the Honda commercial (pretty much the definition of selling out.)

Caring about 'selling out' has got to be one of the defining features of rockism. Not only do hip-hop fans not care about such a concept, they actually *like* to see their heros getting paid and flaunting their wealth.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:19 PM on May 22, 2006


MIA is awesome.

And to anyone who thinks that quote in Sunshowers is about Muslim fundamentalists, read the newspaper. In the late 80s the Tigers kicked all the Muslims out of Jaffna. They did this because they felt the Muslim community as a whole was selling them out to the government. I think that's what the lyrics were about. This falling out that happened.

And as with all things brown, this was covered already at Sepia Mutiny.
posted by chunking express at 9:21 PM on May 22, 2006


Without the opinions of jonmc, this thread is pointless

What, you can't guess jonmc's take on this?

I'd lay money he thinks this is bad dumb, as opposed to the stuff he characterises as good dumb.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:26 PM on May 22, 2006


How are there 100+ posts in this thread? Why did bardic say my favorite sculptor sucks? NOOOOOOOOO!!!
posted by b_thinky at 9:43 PM on May 22, 2006


I listend to all 3 songs on myspace, she's not that bad. Beats are fun. Lyrics make no sense. "I salt and pepper my mango"? WTF is that? How many people come to the USA to "make a record" and overstay their visas - probably a huge % of people who enter for that purpose. There would be no political reason for denying her entry based on the lyrics. Good marketing by her though, I guess, seeing as some dopes believe it.
posted by b_thinky at 10:00 PM on May 22, 2006


I'll defer to PeterMcDermott, soiledcowboy--I think it's pretty clear the the song is directly sympathetic to someone who got murdered because the cops thought he was down with so-called Muslim radicals, and therefore indirectly sympathetic to the nuances (i.e., reality before the "with us or against us" rhetoric of Bush II) behind culture and religion, especially in a place as diverse as Sri Lanka.

I've seen the salt and pepper thing done in Thailand. I'm far from an expert, but a lot of SE Asian cultures mix salty and sweet in ways that Western ones don't, usually.
posted by bardic at 10:20 PM on May 22, 2006


(soiledcowboy, only now do I see that you'd know more about this than me due to location. Just my amateur guesstimation.)
posted by bardic at 10:21 PM on May 22, 2006


I think it's pretty clear the the song is directly sympathetic to someone who got murdered because the cops thought he was down with so-called Muslim radicals, and therefore indirectly sympathetic to the nuances (i.e., reality before the "with us or against us" rhetoric of Bush II) behind culture and religion, especially in a place as diverse as Sri Lanka.

That's a fair interpretation, bardic. I didn't read it that way -- to be honest, I found the whole song baffling.
posted by soiled cowboy at 10:46 PM on May 22, 2006


How many people come to the USA to "make a record" and overstay their visas - probably a huge % of people who enter for that purpose.

Examples?
posted by funambulist at 12:51 AM on May 23, 2006


her music is a little too sparse for my taste ... i prefer to hear fuller arrangements than what she's doing ... and a little more melody

sunflowers had something, though
posted by pyramid termite at 1:41 AM on May 23, 2006


US artist visas are not a joke - extemely arbitrary and not subject to appeal.

Yep. The Hallé Orchestra had to cancel a couple of performances in the US because the consulate demanded they all travel down from Manchester to London for face-to-face interviews of indeterminate length and complexity. The cost would have been prohibitive. Artists, academics, freelance journalists, you name it: curious how the US is extremely good at enforcing somewhat arbitrary immigration laws for people who don't want to stay.

(The Hallé doesn't have a MySpace page, though.)
posted by holgate at 3:29 AM on May 23, 2006


MIA's been hanging around the UK and quite frankly you guys can have her.

She was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and then whined when she didn't win that they were being sexist. No matter that previous years winners included PJ Harvey, Portishead and Ms. Dynamite.
posted by Blip at 4:05 AM on May 23, 2006


Caring about 'selling out' has got to be one of the defining features of rockism. Not only do hip-hop fans not care about such a concept, they actually *like* to see their heros getting paid and flaunting their wealth.

"Being a fan of hip-hop" and "being a rockist" are not two sides of a coin.
posted by ludwig_van at 4:36 AM on May 23, 2006


I think it's pretty clear the the song is directly sympathetic to someone who got murdered because the cops thought he was down with so-called Muslim radicals, and therefore indirectly sympathetic to the nuances (i.e., reality before the "with us or against us" rhetoric of Bush II) behind culture and religion, especially in a place as diverse as Sri Lanka.

That's a fair interpretation, bardic. I didn't read it that way -- to be honest, I found the whole song baffling.
posted by soiled cowboy at 10:46 PM PST on May 22 [+fave] [!]


My first thought was to think of those lines in a British context, that it was British police interrogating an Asian person. But then as people pointed out here the history between Tamil Tigers and Tamil Muslims, I thought about it again, and realised it makes just as much sense to be about someone being interrogated by Tamil Tigers (the lyrics do imply that the character is not Muslim himself, but just associating with Muslims - which makes more sense in the Sri Lankan context).

Maybe I'm not just sensitive enough, but I find the lyrics and images very ambiguous - the images in the Galang video go from light and pretty to quite dark - the tanks roll in and the bombs go off and it's not good. But it's not clear always who is who - maybe it doesn't matter.

The mango thing? Maybe it's a metaphor (to a bomb perhaps, but that's also just the way you eat them.

This all said - both my husband and I liked her music, and neither of us like hiphop normally. Though we still prefer Cat Stevens.
posted by jb at 5:03 AM on May 23, 2006


Reading holgate's link, wow... how unbelievably stupid is that?

and I found the answer to my half-serious question: yes, it seems Norwegian rockers have been hit by the new visa policies too. Also.
posted by funambulist at 5:22 AM on May 23, 2006


""I salt and pepper my mango"? WTF is that?"

She prefers cunnilingus from older gentlemen.
posted by klangklangston at 6:45 AM on May 23, 2006


Damn, people. We had a thread a couple days ago about salting and peppering one's mango. Sheesh.
posted by piratebowling at 7:21 AM on May 23, 2006


I've spoken to several traditional Irish musicians who don't bother touring the states anymore because they can't afford the filing fees or the time it would take to get their visas approved. At least one small traditional music festival has shut down because they could not afford the staff it would take to coordinate visas for everyone.

As expected, once a large bureaucracy gets going common sense goes out the door. My wife is a lawyer involved with immigration law, and I'm amazed how many decisions come down to the type of day the immigration officer is having.
posted by beowulf573 at 7:54 AM on May 23, 2006


Lyrics make no sense. "I salt and pepper my mango"? WTF is that?

Uh... it's the way many Sri Lankans eat their mangoes.
posted by maxreax at 9:24 AM on May 23, 2006


I'm a 31 year old man and I like M.I.A. -- particularly after seeing her live. Should I turn myself in?
posted by ed at 4:34 PM on May 24, 2006


I really like this goofy music.
posted by delmoi at 2:07 AM on May 25, 2006


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