If her calling out of Lady Gaga distracted you, try to remember M.I.A.‘s got an album coming out this year. Now that you’re back on track with the rest of us, get yourself amped up with a gem from 2004 as the MC born Maya Arulpragasam drops a few verses on British dance-pop act Cornershop’s track “Topknot”.
It’s sort of fitting M.I.A. made an appearance on this previously unheard song just as she was crafting her own debut, Arular. Ever since the late ’90s, Cornershop has been making dance-pop with a global feel via South Asian music. Tjinder Singh, the Cornershop lead, explained M.I.A.’s appearance is one of the finest of her careers.
“[The track] goes somewhere else with M.I.A.’s vocal rap, of course, one of the best she’s put to plastic,” Singh told Spin.com. “Me and [Cornershop partner] Benedict [Ayres] have checked out M.I.A’s releases from the very start. We particularly liked the early limited 12″ vinyl releases she put out with Steve Mackey at the controls. They’ve stood the test of time, and she is undeniable. The whole process was very natural and born out of a genuine love of the original track, which we found very encouraging — no rupees exchanged hands.”
As for the song itself, while it’s without the quirkiness of many of the songs we’ve grown to love from M.I.A., it’s the perfect place for her to have begun with, in retrospect of course. The danceable, pepped up Bollywood beat finds a younger M.I.A. before she was flying high with “Paper Planes”, with a flow like some hardened ne’er-do-well from the streets of Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte (that’s right, pop music and a geography lesson). It’s not the instant jam you’re used to, but it gets more danceable with each listen.
Cornershop drops their its album in eight years, Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast, on April 20th. More details and news on M.I.A.’s third album as they become available.