M.I.A is one of the most watched and creative pop artists in the world right now, skillfully blending elements of dancehall, hip-hop, reggae, Baltimore club and electro in such an enjoyable way that fans in many countries are practically on their hands and knees begging her to play a concert in their hometown. Yet, when M.I.A tried to travel to the US to record her new album she was denied a visa. What makes M.I.A so hot that the United States refuse to allow her into the country? For starters, she is the daughter of a militant Sri-Lankan who was part of a movement attempting to overthrow the oppressive Sri-Lankan government. M.I.A, real name Maya Arulpragasm, was deeply affected by her father's life of activism, and she translates her political awareness into many of her songs. But, it is not only her politics that make her highly sought after-it is also the pumping rhythms and pulsing beats that each of her songs on her sophmore album Kala drum into the listener's head.
Instead of letting all the fame get to her head after the success of her first album, Arular, M.I.A went about recording her new album, out of hotels in Tokyo, and in the mean streets of Trinidad. The attitude that M.I.A held towards the recording process meant that her album reflected the beat of the street. It's got the sounds of roadside sound systems, taxicab transistors, DVD-wired dollar vans, motorbike couriers and parking lot pull-ups. On the first single "Boyz" she doesn't make any pretensions about it being a love song, it is a reflection of the fast-paced world in which attractions are formed and lost just as easily. "Bird Flu" has got a jumping drumbeat and a chorus of little kids singing something unintelligible. The album features guest singers including Afrikan Boy (a Nigerian rapper from London), The Wilcannia Mob (a group of rappers from Australia), Timbaland, as well as beats by Diplo. Kala is cool, catchy, and genuine. And you know you need it right now in your life.