The 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time

91

'Arular'

M.I.A.
Courtesy Interscope Records

M.I.A.
XL, 2005

"London calling, speak the slang now," crowed Anglo-Sri Lankan rapper Maya Arulpragasam, and no one could begrudge her the Clash reference. Arular was the sound of punk and agitprop meeting the 21st century – a protest march, a street riot, and a carnival, conducted over rousingly rackety beats.  The production, by M.I.A. and her then-beau Diplo, recast hip-hop as low-fi global party music. But it's M.I.A. who commands the spotlight, whether flirting ("My finger tips and the lips/Do the work, yeah/My hips do the flicks), sloganeering ("Pull up the people, pull up the poor"), needling ("You can be a follower but who's your leader?"), or talking glorious nonsense: "Purple Haze/Galang a lang a lang lang."

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