Is Beyoncé channeling her inner M.I.A. on a new album? According to the men themselves, M.I.A. producers Diplo, Switch and Derek E. Miller have been in the studio with B, working on new music.
Yesterday, Diplo—the prolific, Blackberry-selling, globe-trotting indie superproducer—spilled the beans on the blog for his record label Mad Decent. He was promoting a remix for last year’s thunderous electroclash indie breakout band Sleigh Bells. He wrote: “I like Sleigh Bells so much. Me and Switch was in studio in NYC tryin to make tracks with Derek and Beyonce last week after we played her team their album. Dunno if we gonna manage to finish, but was good times.”
Diplo and Switch, who have production credits on all of M.I.A.’s records—dating back to 2004’s Piracy Funds Terrorism and including the 2008 chart-topper "Paper Planes"—are known for their globalized, heavy, electronic dance beats that draw influences from Baltimore to New Delhi to Kingston. The two also produced hits for indie electro punk Santigold, and together form the neo-dancehall duo Major Lazer.
Derek Miller, who is one half of Sleigh Bells, produced parts of M.I.A’s last album. His band is also signed to the Sri Lankan pop star’s record label, N.E.E.T. Recordings. Corroborating Diplo’s blog post (with a bit of cautious optimism), the band tweeted (and since deleted): "Yeah, damn, Beyonce on it. Was intense track, may not get finished, but we finished the rum off at least.”
If Beyonce is looking for some fresh energy for the follow-up to her 2008 smash I Am: Sasha Fierce, we can certainly think of worse places to look. Let's just hope she doesn't accept any offerings of truffle fries from New York Times Magazine reporters.
Other rumored collaborators on the still-untitled new album include S1 (of Kanye’s “Power” fame), Jim Jonsin and frequent The-Dream producer Christopher “Tricky” Stewart.