M.I.A. Gets Fly Like Paper

You may have noticed that we have a weakness for well executed tales of earning a more … unconventional living (see: Clipse, Killer Mike). But M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” still catches us off guard every time. And now that it’s being featured in the Pineapple Express trailer, the Sri Lankan’s stock is rising even higher.

You’re probably already familiar with the hypnotic beat, courtesy of Diplo and a Clash sample. But M.I.A. also sports buttery delivery and a structure that is brilliant in its simplicity (every verse is exactly four bars, repeated twice over).

I fly like paper, get high like planes
If you catch me at the border, I got visas in my name
If you come around here, I make ’em all day
I’ll get one done in a second if you wait

In just four quick bars, M.I.A. gives an image with detail most coke rappers haven’t produced in their whole catalogs. The tropes are these: you’re a modern day Pablo Escobar, you supply kilos, you know different ways to work in yet another variant of the words “girl,” “white,” and “fishscale.” Our girl from Sri Lanka doesn’t waste breath on that, instead going for a picture that really sticks in your head. We bet even Pusha-T, a vivid writer in his own right, is kicking himself for not thinking of “visas in my name” first.

Even if bragging is your thing, and we’ll admit, we’re suckers for a clever boast, M.I.A. still handles it:

No one on the corner has swag like us
Hit me on my burner pre-paid wireless
We package and deliver like UPS trucks
Already going hell just pumping that gas

Again, here’s the specificity we crave is here — ask Omar or the Baltimore PD if you want to learn about “burner” phones and why they’re needed. And flooring the accelerator on the highway to hell? That’s brazen.

Finally M.I.A. leaves us with a punchline so good, it almost feels wrong to spoil it for you if you haven’t caught it yet. To close it out, she casually proclaims:

Yeah I got more records than the KGB
So uh, no funny business

That’s an exit worthy of some serious gunshot samples.

(Many thanks to hip-hop scholar and RNN co-founder R.T.D., who helped make this post possible.)

MP3: M.I.A. – “Paper Planes”


12 responses to “M.I.A. Gets Fly Like Paper

  1. what clash song?

  2. The sample’s from “Straight to Hell,” off of Combat Rock.

    Hear it here.

  3. I had a Sri Lankan roommate once who put aside her ethnic conflict (she was Sinhalese; MIA is Tamil) to embrace MIA’s counter (insurgency) culture message.

    Because all of us can identify with a girl who salt and peppers her mango.

  4. If I don’t listen to that song at least 4 times a day my head explodes.

  5. Speaking of explosions — I just saw this really shocking video related to M.I.A. and paper planes. I know what you mean by gunshot samples — I saw plenty in this video I’m gonna post here . There has been some buzz lately about M.I.A.’s connection to a terrorist group. Ceylon Records – the label handling Sri Lankan Rapper Delon has released this controversial viral video the link is below:


    What do you think guys? I’m pretty shocked.

  6. dang! that video’s a straight-up bust! why is this the first i’m hearing about her being tied in with terrorists? isn’t that something newsworthy to people!? seems pretty cut and dried in the video. like a ‘loose change 911’ rap-u-mentary :-)

  7. FYI – MIA supports a terrorist group called LTTE… most of her earnings by selling records goes to the accounts of this terrorist group..!

    Since the late 1980s, the LTTE has conducted approximately two hundred suicide attacks. Targets have included transit hubs, Buddhist shrines, and office buildings. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the LTTE invented the suicide belt and pioneered the use of women in suicide attacks. LTTE fighters wear cyanide capsules around their necks so they can commit suicide if they are captured.

    Beyond suicide bombings, the LTTE has used conventional bombs and Claymore mines to attack political and civilian targets, and has gunned down both Sri Lankan officials and civilians. In an April 2008 report, the U.S. State Department also accuses the LTTE of engaging in abductions and extortion. Most experts say they have murdered approximately 5,000 people since 2006.

    Many of the LTTE’s victims have been public officials and innocent Civilians including Children. Over the past twenty years, the LTTE has been accused of assassinating almost a dozen high-level figures, including two heads of state. Assassinations and attacks on officials allegedly committed by the LTTE include:

    * The May 1991 assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at a campaign rally in India;
    * the May 1993 assassination of Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa;
    * the July 1999 assassination of a Sri Lankan member of parliament, Neelan Thiruchelvam, an ethnic Tamil involved in a government-sponsored peace initiative;
    * a pair of December 1999 suicide bombings in Colombo that wounded Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga;
    * the June 2000 assassination of Sri Lankan Industry Minister C.V. Goonaratne;
    * the August 2005 assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar;
    * the January 2008 assassination of a member of parliament from the opposition United National Party (UNP), T. Maheswaran;
    * the January 2008 assassination of Sri Lankan Nation-Building Minister D. M. Dassanayake;
    * the February 2008 assassination of two cadres of the political party and paramilitary group Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP); and
    * the April 2008 assassination of Sri Lankan Highway Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle.


    p.s – google and listen to – ” M.I.A – Paper Planes (Diss By DeLon) “

  8. MIA is a fucking bith who supports LTTE (the terrorists group sril lanka). you must die you fucking bitch. count on it. keep ur fingers cross.

  9. I don;t really care! She’s sexy and that’s what matters! :)

    The point is that this video (http://srilankantube.com/item/72YJRHBK94YN1B8C) is exploding, but we have to be sure about the facts and them draw our conclusions!

  10. Universal Music Group pulled her song off the trailer of their new film Pineapple Express… is this the start of the end of MIA’s music career in the US?

    Rumor has it that Canada is strongly considering banning MIA from entering the country due to her possible terrorist connections.

    The US refused MIA’s visa numerous times, they need to yank it out of her hand on her way out of the country!

    And I just found this link to E-Entertainment TV’s website:

    E-Online has posted the article about MIA and we need to have 300 comments on their page BY THE END OF TODAY in order to get their attention and further featuring on their site.

    You can make a difference right now! Please go to this link right away and express your opinion, this is a pivotal time in this campaign to get the
    truth out about M.I.A. and her song “Paper Planes”!


    Get the truth out! Go out there and do your part!

  11. I’m going to try to help Delon! He’s a real fighter for the problems in Sri Lanka!

  12. All Good comments against M I A thanks guy for your truth!!!

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