Common Sense Media says

Sassy feminism mixed with some 4-letter words.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

This singer is all about being strong and not taking any grief from anyone.


A couple of references to guns and war, but nothing too graphic: "When you go Rwanda Congo/Take me on ya genocide tour/Take me on a truck to Darfur/Take me where you would go."


"So they selfish little roamers/Jumpin' girl to girl/Make us meat like burgers," "I was born out of dirt like I'm porn in a skirt," and "Indian tribesmen gamble spades/Indian chicks, they get men laid."


M.I.A. likes to use four-letter words, mostly "s--t."


Honda, Hummer, Cadillac, Versace, Heineken, Hershey, and Ray-Ban are all mentioned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

M.I.A. likes to talk about substances, but usually not in an abusive manner: "How many tequilas in the place/How many beers are in the case?" and "And I don't mean us in the bush making meth/Boys if you catch meth you catch your death."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Maya Arulpragasm (aka M.I.A.) delights in throwing the usual four-letter words around in these rich, multilayered sound tapestries. There are also references to violence, product brand names, sexual encounters, and drugs and alcohol, delivered with such a sense of gleeful, self-empowering fun (not to mention no-nonsense feminism) that many may choose to overlook (or not even catch) the explicit content just this once.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

On KALA, Maya Arulpragasam (aka M.I.A.) touches on street crime, religion, war, and all aspects of the party life. She's gleefully explicit and matter-of-factly feminist; raunchy and vulnerable. Her adventurous, \"play-with-the-big-boys\" attitude might be uncomfortable for some parents, but many families may find that this intense young artist delivers a welcome breath of fresh air -- despite her explicit (and sometimes violent) lyrics.

Is it any good?


Maya Arulpragasam's sophomore outing offers a layered tapestry of sound and rhythm. Recorded in several cities and continents, the album takes you on a rich, energetic world tour of international dance beats, while M.I.A skillfully weaves her lead vocals around lyrics that are poetic, imaginative, and visceral.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the concept of being multicultural, or "global." Maya is the daughter of British-based Sri Lankan refugees, and the album was recorded in India, Trinidad, Australia, London, New York, and Baltimore. What makes this CD sound "international"? Do you think that being raised in a different culture affects songwriting, musical arrangements, and social and political priorities? Can you guess which tracks were recorded in which cities or countries?

Music details

Release date:August 21, 2007
Label:Interscope Records
Parental advisory:Yes
Edited version available:Yes

This review of Kala was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byPambaMaster April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Mostly Clean Fun

Some bad stuff but I would consider it clean. You really can't hear what the exact lyrics are, so bad lyrics aren't a problem. The beats and sound effects are really cool and ethnic.
Teen, 17 years old Written bysweetbeat April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Something fresh and different!

Educator and Parent Written byJared Galczynski May 28, 2014

M.I.A. Forever

Long live M.I.A. Not only do I love her name of Mia, but she is also one of my favorite artists of all-time.


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