M.I.A. is back with another single from her forthcoming sixth studio album Mata, this time around teaming up with Diplo and Boaz van de Beatz for the empowering self-love anthem “Popular.”
“If you cut me, success I bleed / If you don’t know, I’m a queen (Queen) / Lovin’ myself like a dream (Dream) / Me (Me), a body / I body everybody in the party,” the boasts on the first verse on the track.
On the chorus, she sets the bar high for those hoping to get close to her, singing: “Yeah, love me like I love me, love me / Suddenly it’s about me, ‘bout me / Now you wanna be around me, ‘round me / ‘Cause I love myself, I’m livin’ my best life.”
“Popular” follows up Mata‘s lead single “The One,” which arrived in May and marked M.I.A.’s first release under her new deal with Island Records. While the record doesn’t currently have a release date, the Grammy Award-nominated artist spoke with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe to reveal details about what her first album since 2016’s AIM has on the horizon.
“I think there’s a bit of a battle on the record,” M.I.A. said. “There is a bit of a clash, but the clash is, like, your ego and spirituality. Those are the clashes because, as a musician, you need some ego, otherwise you can’t do it. Also the genre of music — genres I should say — is all very much like egocentric.”
For M.I.A., showing depth is also an important element of her artistry, adding: “It’s not like I’m an artist that came from gospel or something. For me, it was, like, to have that journey, and also, like, it was a significant time to discuss like Islamophobia… talking about wars in the Middle East and things like that.”
Expanding on her multi-dimensional approach to the record, M.I.A. explained that the album splits between multiple sides of herself. “I kind of couldn’t let go of the Tamil side. I think that’s why 50% of the record is sort of like that. Because I’m still me. Like, that’s still my language,” she siad. “And those are still my tools to be able to create beats like that or a sound like that, you know. But I think the message was just to get to a peaceful place.”