What do you like about hip-hop today?
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.
I'm always going to travel. I want my son to have a firsthand experience and not just go to a really amazing posh school and learn it.
You clearly haven't been to complex.com!
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?
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.
How did you meet Ben?
I'd been touring the whole year and I was as fried as you can get. I thought I was just going to go and die. I was gonna do a song with the Beastie Boys as my last song and then go and completely change my life. So I walked in and Ben was there. I kind of spent the whole night bitching about the music industry, and he was a really good listener. And that's what happened!
Was it uncomfortable with him coming from money and you not?
Yeah. I think it's still sort of weird, but Ben is different from anyone I know, including his own family. He's really odd, and that's what I like about him. I think he's a little bit uncomfortable, and as long as it doesn't stop me being who I am, it doesn't affect me.
Are you worried about it changing you?
No, 'cause it's not like I've changed my lifestyle. It's more about Ikhyd; I don't want him to be comfortable. I'm always going to travel and be open to the world and people, and I want Ikhyd to have a firsthand experience of it all and not just go to a really amazing posh school and learn it. And Ben lets me do it how I want to do it.
Sounds like a good match.
When I first met him, I was like, "Oh my god, I don't think I can go out on a date with this person." A friend of mine was like, "Look, you being judgmental about him and his family is the same as someone being judgmental about yours." And that's probably the truth.
WATCH M.I.A.'S BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIDEO:
ADDITIONAL CREDITS: (STYLING) Anoma Ya Whittaker. (HAIR & MAKEUP) Benn Jae/Opus Beauty. COVER IMAGE: Dress by Henrik Vibskov / necklace worn as a headpiece by Dame Jewelry / Necklace by Subversive Jewelry / bracelets by Alexis Bittar / gold bracelets by Fenton/Fallon / rings by Matina Amanita / jeans by Tripp NYC. FIRST IMAGE: Earrings by Alexis Bittar / necklace by Subversive Jewelry / top by Derek Lam / shorts by Kova & T / bracelets by Fenton/Fallon. SECOND IMAGE: Sunglasses by Super / pants by Shelly Stefee / necklace worn as bracelet by Suversive Jewelry / ring by Laruicci / shoes by Ruthie Davis. THIRD IMAGE: Dress by Henrik Vibskov / necklace worn as headpiece by Dame Jewelry / necklace by Subversive Jewelry / bracelet by Alexis Bittar / gold bracelet by Fenton/Fallon. FOURTH IMAGE: Pants by Shelly Steffee / necklace worn as bracelet by Subversive Jewelry / ring by Laruicci. FIFTH IMAGE: Jacket by Obey / jeans by Kova & T / shoes by Suyoon. SIXTH IMAGE: Necklace worn as a headpiece by Dame Jewelry.