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M.I.A.: Vibrant Hip-Hop and Dancehall30:38

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Known for her eclectic range of hip-hop, dancehall and electronic music, M.I.A. makes albums as vibrantly colored as her clothes. In 2003, the British vocalist, songwriter and record producer released several of her songs on the Internet, including a runaway club hit called "Galang." She was immediately signed to a label, which released Arular (featuring hip-hip producer Diplo); the disc was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2005.

M.I.A.'s latest album, Kala, was recorded in several countries and reflects her unique political perspectives. While clearly an M.I.A. album in sound, she and her collaborators — including Diplo, Switch, Timbaland and Blaqstarr — use a wider variety of beats, as well as samples from Bollywood soundtracks and Jonathan Richman's "Roadrunner."

This segment originally aired Jan. 4, 2008.

Copyright NPR 2016.

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