Pop Beefs: M.I.A vs Lady GaGa – Whose Side Are You On?
by Yvette Travillian
OK, so my final opinion on Lady GaGa is still sitting in the jury’s hands. Though relatively new to the game, I did like a couple of joints off of her first and second albums, The Fame and The Fame Monster, but it’s gonna take maybe one more full-length LP and at least another year in the industry under her belt before I can decide if I’m a fan or not. However, I’ve got to give it to her (or her stylist) with the… ummm bold(?) fashion statements she makes. It definitely helps to keep her relevant regardless of what the music may sound like.
Then there’s M.I.A. I’ve been a fan of hers since 2004 when I caught her “Sunshowers” video on the internet. I thought she was unique with a dope sense of style and a message behind her lyrics and her album Arular was a favorite of mine. During her early stages there wasn’t really anyone quite like her and therefore, she had a grip on the the alternative market without having to worry about too much competition. She “crossed-over” per se with her 2007 album Kala which earned her two Grammy nods (how bad-ass was that when she went on stage to perform knowing she was hours away from having a baby?) and is now gearing up to release her third album sometime this summer.
But now it appears that the claws are coming out and M.I.A is not feeling Lady GaGa (who is also her label-mate) and she ain’t afraid to voice it either. She recently did an interview with NME Magazine and had a few choice words about the new songstress. And I’m not sure if M.I.A is hating or just simply not feeling GaGa’s artistry. They’re both creatively talented and surely there’s enough space for both of them in everyone’s iPods, but the first shot has been fired and I can only wait to see what (if anything) will happen next. Peep M.I.A’s comments below:
NME: Do we still need record labels?
M.I.A: Are they even interested in making money from music anymore? Lady Gaga plugs 15 things in her new video. Dude, she even plugs a burger! That’s probably how they’re making money right now – buying up the burger joint, putting the burger in a music video and making loads of burger money.
NME: Do you think those programmes and the internet have destroyed the mythology around popstars?
M.I.A: I don’t know. Again, there’s Lady Gaga – people say we’re similar, that we both mix all these things in the pot and spit them out differently, but she spits it out exactly the same! None of her music’s reflective of how weird she wants to be or thinks she is. She models herself on Grace Jones and Madonna, but the music sounds like 20-year-old Ibiza music, you know? She’s not progressive, but she’s a good mimic. She sounds more like me than I f*cking do! That’s a talent and she’s got a great team behind her, but she’s the industry last stab at making itself important – saying, ‘You need our money behind you, the endorsements, the stadiums’ Respect to her, she’s keeping a hundred thousand people in work, but my belief is: Do It Yourself.
NME: How important are image and visuals to your music?
M.I.A: Very. But it’s not like “Haus of Gaga” (laughs). Me blindfolded with naked men feeding me apples and sh*t. Would you ever make a record for a Twilight soundtrack? They asked me. Luckily Jimmy [Iovine, chairmen of M.I.A.’s US label Interscope] had beef with the Twilight people, so he stepped in and told them to f*ck off.