Rebellion must run in the family. Just as her father joined the Tamil rebellion during the Sri Lankan civil war, Maya Arulpragasam (aka M.I.A.) is rebelling against the hip-hop scene with her distinctive vocals and danceable beats. At an early age, M.I.A. moved from her birthplace of London to Sri Lanka, where her father was politically involved with the freedom movement. Her family moved to India, London and back to Sri Lanka, but mid-'80s, at the height of the war, violence was claiming the lives of friends and relatives, and the family sought refuge in London. M.I.A.'s political encounters and outspokenness are showcased in much of her music. Her latest album, Bucky Done Gun was released in late June to rave reviews and lots of buzz.
-- Jessica Sidman