Paper planes

Some things just hit me in the face at full speed. I encounter them at face value, and no matter how foreign they are to me, I assimilate them instantly. It was like that with Shantaram. With the first word of the first sentence, I knew. when I finished the first page, I closed my eyes, took a breath and paid for it, left the store and went home.

It was the same thing with M.I.A. I’ve never been much of a hip-hop or dancehall fan, but I was scouring the World Cafe, my lingering nostalgia for the times when I could capture XPN live in Philly, and found this amazing, sexy, straight-to-the-gut interview with M.I.A. As soon as it ended, I bought Kala on iTunes and have been listening to it for a good three weeks straight.

I’m trying to write less in my posts, I feel like it makes them harder to get through, so I want to be articulate and succint about why her music affected me so instantly. She is a third-culture kid, she’s a child of the non-Western world, growing up in London, assimilated like a chameleon, she crashed into digital art, film, and finally found hip-hop, and expressed everything through it. Her childhood, globalization, human rights, child soldiers, abuse, consumerism. I understand everything she’s saying, it’s one of those musics that are completely in my head. I’ve tried to share it with a number of people who don’t get where it’s coming from, but for me, she’s prophesizing, she’s a kindred spirit, she’s my sister, my girlfriend, she’s the world. I hear the beats of Africa, the sex, the rain, I hear bollywood, I hear the beat of that real world.

Here’s a video of Paper Planes, one of my favorite tracks on Kala.


One thought on “Paper planes

  1. Oh, sweetheart, it’s so nice to return to you.

    When you think you could handle boring ol’ middle America for a bit, we’ll be here. It was so, so, so, so, so good to see you in October.

    And thank you for everything you’ve written.

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