M.I.A. is Back w/ New Track ‘Babylon’ + WikiLeaks Defense NFT Auction

She quit in 2008. She quit again in 2018. Maybe she’ll quit again in 2028.

But despite her frequent claims of censorship by the music industry, we all know full well no one is ever really going to be able to silence M.I.A., are they? And as it turns out, her latest return is again an ideological one.

Indeed, last week a hearing began in a British court on the question of whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to the US, on charges of espionage; he was arrested in 2019 after seven years of asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard released this October 25 statement in his defense:

“Assurances by the US government that they would not put Julian Assange in a maximum security prison or subject him to abusive Special Administrative Measures were discredited by their admission that they reserved the right to reverse those guarantees. Now, reports that the CIA considered kidnapping or killing Assange have cast even more doubt on the reliability of US promises and further expose the political motivation behind this case.”

To bring further attention to the case, M.I.A. – real name Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam – will auction her 2010, Assange-inspired 10-track 𝕍𝕀ℂ𝕂𝕀 𝕃𝔼𝔼𝕂𝕏 mixtape (she’s long been a vocal supporter of his free speech driven cause), with each song being packaged and sold as an NFT. Winning bidders will then fully own mastered audio and exclusive hi-res visuals directed by M.I.A, with the mixtape being made available on all other streaming platforms at a later date. (Bids can be placed at Foundation.app.)

To coincide with the auction, she has also released the exhilarating new single ‘Babylon’, which samples Meat Beat Manifesto’s dancefloor classic of the same name, which originally sampled Boney M’s ‘Rivers of Babylon’ and Cheryl Lynn’s ‘Encore’ – got that? With its jittery, galloping beat and Maya’s spectral, echo-drenched vocals, she lyrically makes her intentions clear:

“This war’s too big for the man dem
‘Cause God Satan moving in Tandem
You think everything is random
You fool, you fool, you fool”

And she definitely knows a fool when she spots one.

Profits from the NFT sale will go to the Courage Foundation, a legal defense trust supporting journalists and whistleblowers.

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