Lilian Min
July 13, 2015 3:44 pm

It’s finally here: The first official taste of pop provocateur M.I.A.’s upcoming album! We’d previously learned that 1) the Desi artist would be releasing a 12-minute video project and that 2) the project was probably titled Matahdatah, but both of those assumptions have been shattered via the singer/rapper’s Apple Music video drop.

As part of Apple Music’s new original video push, M.I.A. released Matahdatah Scroll 01 Broader Than a Border, and also announced that there are more Matahdatah scroll releases to come. All of these releases, each covering a different culture from around the world, will culminate in her fifth album Matahdatah. As M.I.A. herself puts it, “The concept for this LP is ‘broader then a border’ and MATAHDATAH is the journal of MATANGI. Sometimes I move vertical and sometimes I move horizontal.” (Explaining these Instagram shots.)

In Scrolls 01, M.I.A. self-directs two music videos and acts as a cultural tour guide. The first video, for her new track “Swords,” is all raw girl power: M.I.A. follows several groups of Indian girl performers, including those with swords (possibly practicing kalaripayattu?), those who spin metal staffs (on horseback!), and those who spin fire-tipped staffs. The video is equal parts fly-by amateur footage and more stylized shots; at one point, you can hear her scream-cheering while watching a group of girls perform. And, that metal clanging in the background? In a statement regarding the song, M.I.A. revealed that during filming, “[W]e recorded the clang of the metal to make the beat at the same time as shooting these incredible girls.”

The second video is for her Matangi song “Warrior,” and is actually something she’d hinted at before: The singer claimed that her label was holding a music video, featuring an African dancer, back because it could be considered cultural appropriation. We for one are glad she got to release it, and her statement regarding the video shows care and consideration in her decision to feature him:

So, Scroll 01 — how many more to come? And, how about a release date for Matahdatah?

Sadly, there’s no formal release date for album #5 yet, but M.I.A. is already hard at work filming Scroll 02. We’ll be watching and jamming to Scroll 01, which you can watch below, but we’ve got our ear to the ground for any new Matahdatah visuals, music, and news.

Related reading:

All we know (so far) about M.I.A.’s new video project

M.I.A.’s new vid takes a serious stand for Chinese girl power

(Image via Instagram)

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