Isn’t it weird how this weekend’s New York Times Magazine is already online, basically. I mean, it’s like, come on, what am I going to read through my monacle on Sunday morning? At any rate, as has become the norm any time any semi-big artist puts out an album, the NY Times mag has a lengthy profile of M.I.A. in this week’s issue. The article is basically about the collision of M.I.A.’s life as a pop-star and her life as a political reactionary, which is known to anyone who has listened to any of her albums. Here’s a sampling:
“We went to the Grammys, we had the baby and we bought the house,” Maya said as she studied the menu, deciding on a glass of wine and French fries. “A month later, all this stuff was happening in Sri Lanka” — the Tamil insurgency was being defeated amid reports of thousands of civilian casualties — “and I started speaking up against it. And then, within a month, I found out my house was being bugged, my phones were being tapped and my e-mails were being hacked into. I was getting death threats, like ‘hope your baby dies.’ The biggest Sinhalese community is in Santa Monica, people who are sworn enemies of the Tamils, which is me.” She paused. “I live around the corner from Beverly Hills, and I feel semiprotected by Ben and, if anything happens to me, then Ben’s family will not take it. Jimmy Iovine, who runs Interscope, my record company, said, ‘Pick your battles carefully — don’t put your life at risk,’ but at the end of the day, I don’t see how you can shut up and just enjoy success when other people who don’t have the fame or the luxury to rent security guards are suffering. What the hell do they do? They just die.”
Here’s what Diplo said about her:
Diplo said, “I made her sing.” He was a producer of her first album as well as “Paper Planes” and was also Maya’s boyfriend for several years. “Maya is a big pop star now, and pop stars sing,” he said. “For me, making this record wasn’t easy. In the past, we were a team. But Maya wanted to show us how much she didn’t need us. In the end, Maya is postmodern: she can’t really make music or art that well, but she’s better than anyone at putting crazy ideas into motion. She knows how to manipulate, how to withhold, how to get what she wants.”
It’s a pretty good article, though the copious Madonna comparisons and the relentless description of what M.I.A. is wearing at all times are blegch. Read it here.