M.I.A. covers this month’s issue of Complex and, to her credit, give one of the most interesting quotes I’ve read this year so far. She discusses the career paths of Nas/Jay-Z as a possible metaphor for the future of hip-hop. She also talks about the Kanye tour she turned down. Check it out and look at some of the other photos from the shoot:
What do you like about hip-hop today?
M.I.A.: I think Kanye is trying to take it into a new realm and he’s sort of putting the artistry back into it and sort of taking it in that direction. I was having a conversation about Jay-Z and Nas and how it was really crazy how they were having this Nas vs. Jay-Z moment 10 years ago and no one really talks about it now.
You clearly haven’t been to complex.com!
M.I.A.: Jay became the biggest representation of rap music who’s still alive, started dating Beyoncé-everything was so much bigger and better with Jay-Z. I hope people don’t think that that wins. The fact that Nas didn’t become all this sort of stuff changes people’s perception about the music and the work he achieved in his lifetime. I don’t wanna say Jay-Z sold out, but I just feel like we have to wait another 10 years to see what happens. Jay-Z’s ambition was to become like Frank Sinatra, a household name all over the planet, and own a casino in Vegas and stuff like that. And I think Nas was really sticking to knowledge. I still think the biggest point about hip-hop is in there somewhere, what happens to those two artists.
Did you decline a tour with Kanye?
M.I.A.: Because I was pregnant. I know Kanye makes it out to be this big thing, like, “She dissed me when I asked her to do a song.” Then he was like, “Then you said no to me and my tour.” I was about to have a baby! But I love Kanye, I think he’s been super-consistent, everything he’s done has been good. I like his interaction with the media, too-he’s just him, and he’s living it.