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10 of M.I.A.'s Rarest, Best Deep Cuts

There's loads of hidden, lesser-known material from the singer-rapper to explore before she releases what might be last album ever 'A.I.M.' on Sept. 9

1 / 10


What Is It: A cut off M.I.A.'s Piracy Funds Terrorism mixtape and initially scrapped track from her 2005 debut album Arular

Probably one of the most carefree songs in her career, "U.R.A.Q.T." brought a super-saucy Maya delivering bold, tongue-in-cheek lyrics about a QT she's hot for ("Could it be that me and he / Are tighter than R. Kelly in his teens?") and making sure jealous ladies stay away. The song wasn't initially released on the U.S. version of Arular after her record label, XL Records, had trouble clearing the a sample from Quincy Jones' "Sanford and Son Theme (The Streetbeater)" song.

2 / 10

A.R. Rahman feat. M.I.A., 'O… Saya'

What Is It: The opening track to the Slumdog Millionaire: Music from the Motion Picture soundtrack

While everyone knew "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire, "O...Saya" was another stunning track off the landmark film. India's musical genius A.R. Rahman matched his Eastern classical music sound to M.I.A.'s bold delivery for a cut that is equal parts dynamic as it is haunting.

3 / 10

Missy Elliott feat. M.I.A. & Vybz Kartel, 'Bad Man'

What Is It: The final track on Missy Elliott's 2005 album The Cookbook 

M.I.A. has been a longtime lover of dancehall music, and her feature on the album closer to The Cookbook displays an appreciation for the culture without wrongly appropriating it. Her laid back accented flow pairs well with Vybz Kartel’s aggressive tone and Missy’s quirky nature.

4 / 10

'Big Branch'

What Is It: A bonus track off the U.S. iTunes version of 2007's Kala album

Kala is largely regarded as M.I.A.'s masterpiece and while "Big Branch" can't really hold a finger up to album cuts like "XR2" or "Hussel," it's still a bouncy, energetic track full of Maya 'tude.

5 / 10

Buraka Som Sistema feat. M.I.A., 'Buraka Som Sistema'

What Is It: M.I.A.'s 2008 collaboration with the Portuguese dance act

Buraka Som Sistema was Portugal's brilliant dance music collective that stood out for mixing techno, African beats and carnival music. M.I.A. was quick to find the group and make this blazing banger before they won a MTV Europe Music Award later that year. 

6 / 10

'You My Love' feat. Rosaly

What Is It: Track No. 18 on the Vicki Leekx mixtape

Maya's Vicki Leekx mixtape was released on the final day of 2010 and, boy, did it end the year with a bang. There were loads of exciting sonic lanes explored on the tape, particularly with "You My Love." The hypnotic chant of a track seemed to hint into the singer-rapper's personal life ("Every time I see you, I'm on the rebound" she slurs) that gets mixed with her metaphors about the Internet and technology.

7 / 10

The Partysquad feat. M.I.A., 'Gold'

What Is It: A cut off The Partysquad Summer Mixtape from 2014

This track is a melting pot of wacky synths, ragga-tinged beats, vibrant horns and sharp whistles that will make your booty bounce as soon as the bass drops. M.I.A’s woozy and carefree feature where she boasts “I’m queen of the east" is the perfect accompaniment to the Dutch DJ’s club track. It’s yet another example that she can ride any beat thrown at her, no matter how wild they are.

8 / 10

'Lady Killa'

What Is It: A cut off her 2004 mixtape Piracy Funds Terrorism and bonus track off Arular

Piracy Funds Terrorism was M.I.A.'s initial musical breakout moment with the hour-long mix that she created alongside Diplo, marking the initial beginnings of what would become her debut album Arular. "Lady Killa" was one of those initial tracks with a beat that still knocks more than a decade later.

9 / 10

M.I.A & Rye Rye, 'Tic Toc'

What Is It: A leaked collaboration track between M.I.A. and former protégé Rye Rye 

Maya signed Baltimore rapper Rye Rye and brought her under wing to be the next big rapper to compete with Nicki Minaj. While the two collaborated multiple times, one of the special gems if "Tic Toc," which leaked as Rye was recording her debut album. It was never officially released, but remains a quirky, internationally-minded cut between the daring divas.

10 / 10

'Gen N-E-Y'

What Is It: Track 11 on 2010’s Vicki Leekx mixtape

A lot of sounds get lost in the rapper’s Vicki Leekx mixtape since its filled with 20 dizzying tracks, but one of the standouts is “Gen N-E-Y.” The lead-up to “Bad Girls” is an AutoTune-heavy trip where M.I.A. Shows once again that she has zero fucks to give. "Generation N E Y we're already dead / If you don't give a fuck then I don't give a damn / But down with the scene that makes it so numb,” she warbles over maddening, industrial beats.

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Photo of the day

Apr 2: Basket-Bros

Currently on his 'The Man of the Woods' tourJustin Timberlake brought out a special guest for his Cleveland show. LeBron James surprised concertgoers by showing up alongside Timberlake and taking a shot on stage. On Friday, the singer was also seen cheering on LeBron during the Pelicans and Cavaliers game. James gave a shout out on Instagram, "My brother @justintimberlake showed up and showed out last night at the Q! One of the greatest to ever do it in my lifetime and still going strong."