M.I.A. has released two tense and charged new tracks, “MIA OLA” and “Foreign Friend,” her latest offerings as she continues to prep her new album, Matahdatah.
The two cuts appear on the same SoundCloud track, which opens with “MIA OLA” (the song originally premiered during Stella McCartney’s Winter 2016 runway show). The quick-footed, head-spinning pop cut boasts busy production — and a notable sample from The Lion King‘s “Circle of Life” — over which M.I.A. spits cheeky lines like “At the border, I see the patroller cruising past in their car / Hiding in my Toyota Corolla, everybody say, ‘YALA!'”
Regarding the Lion King sample, M.I.A. suggested on Twitter that it was unlicensed: “pirates! throw that shit on dj sites WORLDWIDE no borders — b 4 Disney shut it down!”
“Foreign Friends,” however, is a much more austere affair. Over a haunting, often-chopped vocal sample and sparse percussion, M.I.A. mulls issues of immigration in a near-monotone: “Better tell somebody, I’m an immigrant / When I jump that fence I’m gonna get a Benz / Then I leave my tent and I’m gonna be your foreign friend.”
It’s unclear if “MIA OLA” and “Foreign Friend” will appear on Matahdatah, M.I.A.’s impending follow-up to 2013’s Matangi. On Instagram, frequent producer Blaqstarr posted what was ostensibly the artwork for an OLA mixtape, though neither he nor M.I.A. confirmed such a release was coming.
“MIA OLA” and “Foreign Friend” follow M.I.A.’s “Boom ADD” — a reworking of Matangi‘s “Boom Skit” about her legal fight with the NFL — as well last year’s “Swords” and “Borders.” The musician also recently appeared alongside Korean pop idol G-Dragon on a new track from Baauer, “Temple.”