Like many M.I.A. fans, I couldn’t have been happier last summer when her absolutely sublime single “Paper Planes” finally caught the public’s attention, more than six months after its release, largely thanks to its use in promos for Pineapple Express. Also, like many M.I.A. fans, I was less impressed with the subsequent string of hip-hop mixtapes that included a quick sample of the song as M.I.A. became the genre’s it girl for a minute. I’m sure she’s thrilled to be included in hop-hop’s cool kids club, and I’m not surprised she was elated to share the stage at the Grammys alongside royalty like Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, T.I., and Kanye West — and being nine-months pregnant, she probably appreciated the help. But personally, I’m disappointed that M.I.A. isn’t getting the spotlight to herself, and I was let down 30 seconds into last night’s performance (which, like most of those big-stage, all-star hip-hop performances, resulted in a whole less than the sum of its parts) when it turned out to be the Jay-Z-T.I. song “Swagga Like Us” and not the M.I.A. song used as the hook.
I’ve been an M.I.A. disciple since “Galang” and I’m stoked to see her uncompromising music (“All I wanna do is POP! POP! POP! POP!”) reaching the masses. But I still feel it’s too bad that the second she goes mainstream, she’s reduced to the sampled line “No one on the corner has swagger like us.” Don’t get me wrong — that is a sweet, sweet line. But I don’t need a celebrity endorsement to appreciate it.
Anyone else let a bit let down by the Grammy’s decision to drown M.I.A. and the REAL record of the year in a sea of A-List MCs last night? What other highlights and disappointments from the ceremony caught your attention?
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