It’s been six years, but M.I.A. has returned. The artist has released her new studio album, MATA, for our listening pleasure. The new L.P. includes thirteen new tracks, coming in at just under 35 minutes. Along the way, M.I.A. holds things down on her own, except for one feature from Navz-42. Along the way, M.I.A. does her thing overtop of production from Skrillex, Rex Kudo, T-Minus, Diplo, Heavy Mellow, and more. She doesn’t disappoint on her first solo full-length effort since 2016’s A.I.M.
The album highlights the fight between “ego and spirituality.” She recently spoke with Apple Music 1’s Zane Lowe about the album and its inspiration. M.I.A. stated: “Because as a musician, you need some ego, otherwise, you can’t do it. Also, the genre of music that, genres I should say, is all very much like egocentric. It’s not like I’m an artist that came through gospel or something. For me, it was like to have that journey, and also, it was a significant time to discuss like Islamophobia…talking about wars in the Middle East, and things like that.” She also opened up about making her return to music, saying, “The album has that sort of, it has two sides to it. On the one hand, yes, I think it’s a great time to be reflective, and in your own zone, and in yourself, and be away. But at the same time, you have a responsibility. I feel like sort of responsibility with music, that even if you try to go away, things happen that keep you in the loop in some way.”
She further explained, “It’s not even, yeah, it’s not even that I intended it that way. It just happens. And I think with freedom of speech, and all of this stuff, and censorship, and all kinds of crazy things that’s happening in the world today, it’s like you’re the only artist that talked about it, so it kind of… It makes sense to come back and be here for it.”