Missing Out On America

Mercury-nominated British rapper M.I.A. said she’s been barred from the U.S. on account of her politically charged lyrics.

She posted a note on her Web site that claims she was planning to work on her new album with Timbaland, the American rapper who has also made a name for himself as a hip-hop and R&B producer.

Apparently, she was denied a visa to work in The States – or even visit the place – and suspects it’s because the U.S. authorities are less than impressed with her lyrics about freedom fighters and bombs and guns.

“They try shut my door! Roger, roger do you here me over! The U.S. immigration won’t let me in!” her Web note complained. “Now I’m strictly making my album outside the borders,” it continued.

M.I.A. (or Missing In Action) – whose real name is Maya Arulpragasam – asked fans to spread the story on the Internet.

Lyrics like “I’ve got the bombs to make you blow” on “Pull Up The People” and “Like PLO I don’t surrender” from “Sunflowers” might have had some bearing on the U.S. immigration authorities’ decision.

MTV banned “Sunflowers” because of its reference to suicide bombers. But controversial lyrics didn’t stop her debut album, Arular, from being nominated for last year’s Mercury Music Prize.

– John Gammon