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On ‘Powa,’ M.I.A. Is ‘Not Rihanna’ (Or Madonna)

(Or Mariah. Or Ariana. Or a Spice Girl.)

By Hayden Wright

M.I.A. has pushed against pop’s status quo since the release of her debut album Arular in 2005. Along the way she’s been a study in contradictions: Rising to fame and fortune while rapping about the plight of the destitute, agreeing to join Madonna’s Super Bowl Halftime Show in 2012 but flipping the camera off. On her new single “Powa,” M.I.A. puts the pop establishment on notice.

Related: M.I.A. to Curate Border-Inspired Meltdown Festival

“I’m not Rihanna/ I’m not Madonna/ I’m not Mariah/ Or Ariana,” she sings. “I’ve been around in this world causing drama/ The real Spice Girl, hot girl power.”

M.I.A. shared a clip of the song via Twitter along with a full set of lyrics. She should be particularly proud of coining “Super-kala fascist, racist, espi-ala-tazors” like a Third World Mary Poppins. The song also references Osama bin Laden, Monsanto and the FBI.

See the full lyrics (and hear a teaser of “Powa” here):

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