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M.I.A. @ Wiltern, 11/9/07

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There has been no one to hit the music scene in the past few years as original and refreshing as M.I.A. Her infectious blend or hip hop, dancehall, drum and bass and even a bit of electronic, has been getting crowds across the world shaking and moving to her grooves. Friday night she returned to Los Angeles, and after making the crowd wait a bit longer than expected she came through like a whirlwind and not a soul in the building was left standing still.

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After making the packed house at the Wiltern wait for what seemed forever, M.I.A. finally hit the stage clad in a holographic lycra outfit. From beat one, her intensity and energy made the crowd forget the extra wait as she breezed though hits off her debut Arular, “Galang”, “10 Dollar,” and “Bucky Done Gone” and newer tracks "XR2" and "Boyz" off this year's excellent Kala.

Another standout was "20 Dollar" a reworked cover of sorts of the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind?'

Her music is a international affair with her British-tinged accent on top of deep jungle beats, layered with sirens and gunshots, creating true atmosphere to her music.

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M.I.A. stands out from any of her counterparts due to her ingenuity and refreshing creativity. It is impossible to watch her or even listen to an album without dancing or grooving.

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Female hip-hop artists are so few and far between and they have generally remained shadowed by their male counterparts or are considered novelties. Part of this has been the efforts of female emcees to fit into the male game granted there have been exceptions to this (Salt n’ Pepa and a few others) but in the current state of the scene this is where M.I.A. is light-years ahead of any other female hip hop artist. Her aim seems not to fit into the "rap game" but rather carve her own niche among not just hip hop music but dance and pop music as well and let her creativity bring her to the top.

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All photos by Joey Maloney / LAist