M.I.A. Last Artist On Earth To Find Out About American MTV’s Squeamishness Regarding Firearms

Dec 17th, 2007 // 18 Comments


M.I.A.’s awesome day of topping critics’ polls was ruined early thanks to someone putting a version of the sandwich-filled video for her hazy single “Paper Planes”–which samples the Clash, a cash register, and some gunshots–with an altered audio track up on YouTube this morning. You can probably guess which sample of the above three was removed for the edited version, which happened to be the “MTV edit” of the clip (hint: it wasn’t the cash register). (The “official,” uncensored version is above.) That sleight of sound pissed off M.I.A. so much, she decided to take to her blog and call all-caps shenanigans on MTV, David Letterman, lazy bloggers (oh snap!), and anyone else who might get in her way:

1, I ORIGINALLY WANTED TO SHOOT THE VIDEO IN A FACTORY ON THE BORDER OF
EQUADOR, BUT COULDNT. I WAS TOURING THE U.S, I COULDA BEEN ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD RIGHT THEN BUT THERE I WAS IN AMERICA, IN NYC, IN BROOKLYN, IN BEDSTUY , I WAS TORN BETWEEN SCRAPIN SHOWS IN AMERICA AND MEETING AMERICAN FANS OR SHOOTING IN NYC ON MY ONLY DAY OFF I’D HAD IN 4 MONTHS AND GETTING ON WITH IT.

2, SO THAT WAS THAT! I NEVER MADE A VIDEO IN AMERICA AND HEY ITS STILL A PART OF WHAT I DO AND SAY, ITS WAS STILL VALID, SO I WAS READY TO ROLL WITH IT.

3, YOU ALL KNOW HOW THE SONG SOUNDS, THATS WHY WHEN U GO ON YOUTUBE 400, 000 PEOPLE WOULD RATHER LISTEN THE SONG AS IT IS AND STARE AT SOME PICTURE THEN TO ACTUALLY WATCH A VIDEO

4, WHEN LETTERMAN CENSORD ME IT WAS WAC OF COURSE!!!!!! , AND YES I FELT SOOOOOO BAD FOR WHAT THEY DID TO MY SOUND. I WAS ABEL TO SOUND CHECK FOR THAT SHOW AND THEY LET ME SOUND CHECK FINE, THEN ON THE ACTUAL TAPING MY SOUND WAS SOOO DIFFERENT FROM WHAT ID AGREED, AS SOON AS I OPENED MY MOUTH THE DIFFERENCE BLEW ME AWAY, I FELT I WAS GETTING BULLIED ON NATIONAL TELEVISON, AND I COULDNT EVEN REACH OUT TO MY LABELS OR MY MANAGEMENT TO HELP, SINCE THEY ARE NEW TO WHAT HAPPENS TO AN ARTIST LIKE ME IN MAINSTEAM AMERICAN CULTURE.

SO THEY TRIED TO SHUT ME DOWN AGAIN. I MADE THE PAPER PLANES VIDEO. I MADE IT HOW THEY WANTED. NO VIOLENCE. AMBIGUOUS. MTV – FRIENDLY. NOW TODAY, I CHECK YOUTUBE AND SEE THE LEAKED MTV PAPER PLANES VIDEO UP FOR THE FIRST TIME. I CLICKED ON IT AND OUT COMES THIS FUCKED UP MESS WITH DOUBLE-TRACKED BULLSHIT MESS

WHO THE THE FUCK IS DOING THIS TO ME?????

THE VIDEO WAS SABOTAGED FOR WHATEVER REASON AND IM DISAPPOINTED THAT MTV HAS HAD SUCH A MAJOR ROLE IN THIS. THE BLOGGERS WHO ARE LAZY ENOUGH TO FOLLOW THE MTV LINK AND POST UP AND COMMENT ON THE SOUND WHEN THAT HASNT BEEN COMPROMISED AND THE GUNSHOT ARENT REPLACED AND EDITED MAKES ME SAD. I DID FIGHT FOR THE SOUND , BECAUSE PUTTING MEANINGS IN YOUR VIDEOS, IN MY OPINION IS A DYING ART. I CAN FILM MY SELF ANYWHERE ANYTIME AND LET YOU KNOW THE TRUTH , BUT THE SONG IS WHAT I WANTED TO PRESERVE IN THIS CASE.

TO ALL MY FANS, LOOK, ITS LIKE THIS,
IM LEARNING THINGS ABOUT THIS WORLD WITH YOU, I WANT YOU TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO ME , I WANT YOU TO SEE HOW PEOPLE WILL SIT AND SPEND ALL SUNDAY TEARIN ME DOWN FOR SOMETHING I DIDNT EVEN MAKE OR PUT OUT, SO PEOPLE WELCOME TO MODERN DAY PROPAGANDA MESSAGE MANGLING.

IN 2007, AN OUTSIDER OPINION WILL BE CONFRONTED THIS WAY , AND THIS IS HOW THE BATTLE GOES, MY MESSAGES AND IDEAS AND MEANING WILL ALWAYS BE BROUGHT TO YOU WITH SLIGHTLY TAINTED CHANNELS. IF YOU SUPPORT ME BE SMART, AND KNOW THAT.

Now, I love “Paper Planes”–and the thrust of the song definitely does lose something with the gunshots taken out of it, as evidenced by a remix that I heard a few months back. But it’s kind of hard to believe that “Planes” really went through the process of becoming a single (or an “emphasis track” or whatever the few remaining people employed by majors call them these days) without M.I.A. being at least dimly aware of MTV’s heavy hand with the “cough” button. (Hello? They bleeped the word “shirt”!) I don’t mean to be dismissive here, but this just seems like either a) there was a communication breakdown somewhere between M.I.A. and Interscope and MTV, and the idea of it even being a big deal is odder to me because of MTV’s reticence to play videos at all (didn’t they think that using her songs in promos for The Hills would better serve to “break” her anyway?) or b) this is all a well-orchestrated publicity stunt to let people know that hey, “Paper Planes” is on YouTube–which is probably where most of M.I.A.’s target demo gets the majority of its music-video content these days anyway–and by the way M.I.A. is still fighting the man! It’s probably bad that option “b” was my first thought, isn’t it?

PAPER PLANES official video [YouTube]
PAPER PLANES VIDEO [M.I.A.'s MySpace blog]

  1. bcapirigi

    WHY do you think she wanted to shoot it in a factory on the border of, uh, Ecuador? that’s what i want to know.

    also, which border with ecuador do you think it was?

  2. rad_matter

    SOMEONE PLEASE TELL M.I.A. THAT LARGE BLOCKS OF TEXT IN ALL CAPS IS REALLY HARD TO READ.

  3. dana danger

    STOP YELLING AT ME I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING!!!!!

  4. Nicolars

    Call me a bitch, but it is hard to sympathize with anyone who writes in all caps.

  5. TheMojoPin

    The less MIA we hear, the better.

  6. Jess Harvell

    wait, wait…interscope is “new” to a rapper getting bleepwatched on national tv?

  7. pissy elliott

    SOMEONE TELL THAT GIRL WHO WAS A “ONE TO WATCH” VIDEO ARTIST IN LA AND LONDON (I THINK HER NAME WAS MAYA), WHO WORKED FOR JUSTINE FRISCHMANN FOR A LONG TIME THAT HER MOCK-SHOCK AT MTV IS JUST AS INSULTING AS HER “OF THE PEOPLE” BULLSHIT AND SLOGANEERING.

  8. Cam/ron

    So let me get this straight, MIA is up in arms over a “censored” video that will only ever appear as a 40-second clip on MTV?

  9. NotPop

    1, An artists work is pointlessly butchered and posted on a mainstream site.

    2, Artist feels this is unfair and says so on artists personal site (in caps).

    3, Artist is jeered by an unsympathetic blog commentary accusing artist of overreaction and worse, overreaction using caps.

    4, Lady Internet sheds another tear for the soul of humanity

  10. Ned Raggett

    5. Those of us who thought ‘For an artist who sampled the Clash, MIA seems to have missed out on the lyrics of “Complete Control”‘ think about other things.

  11. pissy elliott

    6. Artist who knows very well the commercial politics of producing art throws a mendacious pissy fit about it.

  12. Bob Loblaw

    7. Nothing constructive to add in this space, I just like lists.
    8. As long as her records stay this strong, she can type in bold,
    italicized, struckthrough caps with a wingdings font and a zubaz
    background.

  13. zaky

    So she can’t type. The album is still brilliant.

  14. Anonymous

    I agree; the “hip-to-be-snarky” crowd comes out again to feast on another artist. I swear no one actually LIKES music on this site.

  15. StarlingSlipstream

    She forgot to add “I AM ON THE INTERNETS!!!11!!!1″. Nice Beastie Boy cameo though.

    BUP BUP!

  16. SuperUnison

    All caps is reserved for 2 entites: ZODIAC MOTHERFUCKER on the onion AV club board and the LA band HEALTH.

  17. Swankster

    Myspace Internet rants from young, female, & British artists are just as interesting as all others, as in…not at all.

  18. NotPop

    People who like disliking music make me dislike liking music.

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