M.I.A – Kala [Review]

There’s something so attractive about M.I.A, be it her swagger (a word that she helped catapult in the rap game), her fashion (she was one of the first female rappers wearing cheetah print and leggings and colored wigs before it blew up for this generation/Bay Area rapper Kreayshawn flaunts baggy, non-name brand, almost hand-me-down clothes and titles it as “swag”, M.I.A was already doing this 5+ years prior. Rapper Nicki Minaj sports colored wigs and variant vibrant  colors, M.I.A was doing this many years before) or her seriously addictive music (you can hear her influence in singers like Lady Gaga) but it definitely comes full circle on this album.

The production is great, yes, there’s nothing else in the market that sounds like it (nor was there anything that sounded like it back in 2007). So maybe that’s why she blew up the way she did in the States after her single Paper Planes was featured on a trailer for the movie “Pineapple Express”. M.I.A’s international vernacular swang meshes crazily beautifully with her features and the production. This is an important album of the 00s, mainly because it put alternative hip-hop/dance/alternative dance/international music at a forefront that it hadn’t been at in years. Even though “Paper Planes” and “Boyz” are her only big singles, this album sold well and it not only put M.I.A the musician and fashionista in the spotlight, but also London, Africa, and the UK and meshed all of these cultures into one musical melting pot. And a result of that, we got Kala. A very important album in alternative hip-hop history.

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