Kala is the second studio album by British experimental rapper-songwriter/producer M.I.A. and was released in August 2007 . The album had an advanced release in Japan on August 8, 2007.
The album features collaborations with Afrikan Boy, The Wilcannia Mob, and Timbaland and production by M.I.A., Switch, Blaqstarr, Morganics, Diplo, and Timbaland. M.I.A. had also held recording sessions with Three 6 Mafia. M.I.A. has cited the album as "shapes, colours, Africa, street, power, bitch, nu world, and brave".
M.I.A. spoke in 2005 of her intention to work with producer Timbaland on a few tracks for her second album, including during her appearance on MuchMusic's Much on Demand music show in September 2005. She has been quoted as saying "[There was] a track I was working on with Three Six Mafia [that] didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make it...and one with Danjahandz, and Samir Debonair. Loads of things didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happen because I was having visa issues, but theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll probably work out in the future.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The song "Come Around" featured in the third season finale of Entourage and also appears as an UK and Japan bonus track on the album Timbaland Presents Shock Value (2007).
Kala is named after M.I.A.'s mother (her previous album, Arular, was named after her father). M.I.A. stated that "Arular...was a real masculine album." Regarding Kala, she says, "This one is about my mom and her struggleÃ¢â‚¬â€how do you work, feed your children, nurture them and give them the power of information?"
As with her previous album, Arulpragasam created the artwork for Kala, and was also involved in photography for the album. Kala debuted at number 22 on the World Albums Chart upon release. The album peaked at number three on the U.S. iTunes Music Store upon release. It debuted at number 18 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling about 29,000 copies in its first week. The album generally received a very positive reception from critics, scoring 87 on MetaCritic.
"Bamboo Banga"'s opening words sample lyrics of "Roadrunner", a song by Jonathan Richman from the 1976 album The Modern Lovers. Elements of the song "Kaattukkuyilu" from the 1991 Tamil film Dalapathi are also heard.
"Bird Flu" incorporates elements of "Thirvizha Na Vantha" from the Tamil film Jayam.
"Jimmy" is a reworked and rewritten cover of the song "Jimmy Jimmy Aaja" from the 1982 Bollywood film Disco Dancer.
"20 Dollar" features lyrics of the Pixies' song "Where Is My Mind?" as the song's chorus and has a bass line similar to that of New Order's "Blue Monday".
The chorus of the song "World Town" is based upon the Baltimore club track "Hands Up, Thumbs Down", written by Blaqstarr.
"Paper Planes" samples The Clash's 1982 song "Straight to Hell".
The chorus of "Paper Planes" incorporates elements of Wreckx-N-Effect's "Rump Shaker." A video Diplo posted on YouTube shows M.I.A rapping an early version of the song where the chorus is, "All I wanna do is zoom zoom zoom zoom and boom boom boom."
The first official single to be lifted from the album, "Boyz," premiered on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show on April 24, 2007. The song was released as a 12", a radio edit and in USB key format on June 11, 2007. The second official single will be "Jimmy", a disco-influenced single. "Hussel" has been speculated to be the next single.
On May 2, 2007, a new track, "Hit That", not intended for an appearance on the album, was made available for download on producer Bangladesh's MySpace. Parts of "Hit That" appear on the Japanese bonus track "What I Got" and a revision of the bridge is heard in "Paper Planes". Despite initial fears that fan favourite snippet "Talk About Moi", released in October 2006, would not appear on the album, it was discovered that the track is actually "20 Dollar". Arulpragasam uploaded the song "XR2 Turbo", a remixed version of "XR2", onto her MySpace in early October 2006 from Japan. She posted the video for "Bird Flu" on her MySpace in early February 2007. A remix of "Bird Flu" by Cavemen is available as a bonus track on the Best Buy edition of Kala.