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Kala, M.I.A. (2007)

Oh, you know, just another British-born Sri Lankan fly girl rap star raised in the middle of a civil war listening to Eric B. & Rakim lighting ’em up through her headphones while the Tamil Tigers were blowing ’em up next door. Mathangi Arulpragasam, a.k.a. M.I.A., bewitches, bothers, and bewilders with her post-cultural mixes, sampling the Clash, which we probably could have predicted, but also the Modern Lovers, which we could not have; teaming with Timbaland, because hell, who doesn’t, but also with the Wilcannia Mob, a group of Australian aboriginal kids, because hell, who else could; and dressing in tattered tinfoil a like a futuristic Dickensian street urchin, because hell, why not?

Here’s the future of pop: genre exogamy so extreme it sounds like it could’ve come from anywhere on earth, or nowhere. Also: FUN.

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