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Watch: M.I.A.’s new video features awesome female martial artists

AP Photo/Jim Cooper
The world’s most transnational artist is at it again.
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

“Matahdatah Scroll o1 Broader Than a Border” is technically an “audiovisual project”—but it also features two new songs by the British-Sri Lankan rapper and visual artist.

Set to footage shot in India and Côte d’Ivoire respectively, “Swords” and “Warrior” are the first singles off of M.I.A.’s upcoming album, Matahdatah. In a press release for the accompanying LP, M.I.A. described the album transnational concept as “broader than a border… sometimes I move vertical, sometimes I move horizontal.” The footage accompanying “Swords” features young women swinging machete-like blades, or twirling silambam, a staff used in a form of Tamil martial art.

What’s really fantastic about M.I.A.’s video projects—besides the fact that they’re visually stunning and chock-full of spot-on metaphor—is that they expose Western audiences to facets of cultures they might not otherwise come across. The video for 2012’s “Bad Girls” showcased Saudi tafheet, or “drifting” (choreographed stunt driving). It is one of the coolest, most visually striking music videos ever produced (featuring a Plexiglass car!)

“Matahdatah Scroll 01 Broader Than a Border” picks up where “Bad Girls” left off. And if it’s any indication of what’s to come, Matahdatah could be M.I.A.’s coolest album to date.

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