So by now everyone must have had the surreal experience of turning on commercial pop or hip hop radio over the past couple of months, only to hear M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” casually playing in between various mind-numbingly bad Pussycat Dolls and Rihanna tracks, as if it were perfectly normal to hear a song with lyrics like this:
Pirate skulls and bones
Sticks and stones and weed and bongs
Running when we hit ‘em
Lethal poison through their system
No one on the corner has swagger like us
Hit me on my Burner prepaid wireless
We pack and deliver like UPS trucks
Already going hell just pumping that gas
“Paper planes” peaked this summer at #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, which is truly remarkable for any piece of music that prominently features the phrase “third world democracy.”
We’ve had our debates about M.I.A. here over the years — including the most recent episode, with Cicatrix’s post on Delon Jayasingha’s remix, which tears apart M.I.A. for her appropriation of LTTE imagery, fairly or unfairly.
Whatever our thoughts on M.I.A. in general, I think we might all agree that the recent remixes of “Paper Planes” by mainstream rappers leave something to be desired. The one I’ve heard on hip hop radio in Philadelphia features Bun-B and Rich Boy:
Listening to this reminds me that, whatever her faults might be, I’d rather listen to M.I.A. than “Bun-B and Rich Boy,” any day. There’s also a Lil Wayne remix , which is so terrible to my ear that it makes the Bun-B and Rich Boy remix sound like a work of art. (What do people see in Lil Wayne, again?)
Not to be outdone, via Ultrabrown I learn that Jay-Z has gotten in on the remix game as well though not with “Paper Planes.” Rather, Jay-Z’s remix is of “Boys,” and someone has YouTubed it here. As usual with recent Jay-Z, it’s a cut above what his peers are doing. What do you think of it, or the various mainstream hip hop remixes of “Paper Planes”?