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Freedun is a song by the English rapper M.I.A., and is released on her fifth studio album, A.I.M.. The album was released on September 9, 2016. Zayn Malik appears on the track as a featured artist.[1] The single premiered on the Annie Mac BBC Radio One show on 1 September 2016, and was officially released the next day.

Background

The song was co-written by M.I.A., alongside Keisha Hollins and Polow da Don. Production of the song was handled by Polow da Don. M.I.A. initially contacted Zayn via the instant messaging client WhatsApp. Levi Lennox, who produced "Borders" from AIM, also produced Zayn's debut single "Pillowtalk".

M.I.A. told EW, “We have the same publishers and they wanted me to demo some songs for Zayn. Before I started writing properly my own stuff [for A.I.M.], I was thinking maybe I’ll write for other people instead. I really wanted to write a song for Zayn….We had a couple people in common. And that’s how it came about. I didn’t really approach him for my own record until later on. First, I thought I wanted to try writing a song for him.”

Lyrics

[M.I.A.]
I'm a swagger man
Rolling in my swagger van
From the People's Republic Of Swagistan
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun
I'm M.I.A., ay

I don't need any audition
I just got my own little mission
A crew bigger than a politician
Yeah, history is just a competition
Do you wanna sign my petition?
It's for the people with dedication
Some people fuck it up take vacations
Refugee learn about patience
Sometimes I have many visions
I don't even need a religion
I'm a new frontier on horizons
Yeah, sail this ship to the thousands
Even aliens see the presentation
Yeah, tune up the dial on the station
And think of me sort of like Tarzan
And I'm swinging this beat, salvation

[Zayn]
All the stars are still shining
But you're the only one I see
I can feel when your heart beats, yeah
Babe, you can't keep your eyes off me

[M.I.A.]
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun

Download it on the DVD, download it on the phone
If you don't catch them, then baby I'm gone
Send me your money, and I will send you my song
What you get is perfect to turn me life-long
Lara Croft is soft when it comes my stuff
She’s made up, I’m real, that's enough
Dinosaurs died and I'm still strong
A little bit of fun, yeah, I don't see the wrong
This song is so good, yeah I waited too long
I rate that button just to play this song
Whose world is this?
The world is mine so bring it on

[Zayn]
All the stars are still shining
But you're the only one I see
I can feel when your heart beats, yeah
Babe, you can't keep your eyes off me

[M.I.A.]
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun

Free-da-da-dum, free-dun
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun
Free-da-da-dum, free-dun

[Zayn]
(Harmonizing)

[M.I.A.]
Are you gonna sing my song?
Are you gonna sing my song tonight?
Tonight, you’re gonna sing my song?
Are you gonna sing my song tonight?

Ee-ah-ah-ah, ee-ah-ah
Ee-ah-ah-ah-ah, ee-ah-ah, It’s M.I.A.
Ee-ah-ah-ah, ee-ah-ah
Ee-ah-ah-ah-ah, ee-ah-ah
Aah, oh, I’m M.I.A., ay
Are you gonna sing my song?
Oh, oh

Audio

M.I.A

M.I.A. - Freedun (Audio) ft ZAYN

Critical Response

The song has been met with mixed response from music critis. While some gave it favorable reviews, others called it "disappointingly generic" and a "misstep". Nonetheless, New Musical Express and The Independent picked the song as a highlight on the album.

Music Video

M.I.A. has filmed a music video for the song in the Himalayas in Nepal. During filming, she needed the aid of an oxygen tank because of the lack of oxygen in the mountains.[2] She was also not able to film it with Zayn because he could not leave the USA due to his commitments and she was denied visa to enter the country.[3]

Controversy

Fans had been left fuming over one particular line that is rapped by M.I.A. In the track, she raps: “I rate that button just to play this song.” The phrase is about hitting the replay button on YouTube, but many devotees misheard the word as “rape” and feared the stars were making light of sexual assault.

Fans have taken to Twitter to criticize Zayn over the song lyric, with one declaring she is “disgusted” with the pop star.

The user tweeted: “M.i.a used the word rape and I’m disgusted zayn agreed to collaborate on that song.. it’s trash anyway. Get him out!”

Another wrote: “Why would zayn agree to collaborate on a song where the word rape is used ew.”

One fan posted: “I can’t believe MIA used the phrase “rape the replay button” on Freedun.

“Mum, u r not in 2009. Get it together. Luv u and Zayn.”

M.I.A. eventually cleared out the controversy by sharing a picture of the lyrics on her official instagram.[4]

References