14 Years, Cash, Tamils, and Casual Murder

Thor Benander
Thor Benander is the Editor-in-Chief of The Antagonist and a father of four. He’s a lover of ancient history, Greek food, and sports. He loves to travel and thinks that if libraries were the center of American society, many things would improve overnight. You can hit him up at hilordcastleton@gmail.com.

I was listening to M.I.A.’s ultra-catchy Paper Planes today when I realized that it’s 14 years old and still a banger.

It was originally released in 2007 but really hit the public consciousness when it was included on the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire the following year.

The song is super catchy, but the part of it that always haunts me is the bridge at the end when M.I.A. casually sings:

Some some some’a them I murder,

Some’a some I let go.

This is ostensibly a nod to her Tamil ethnicity and some visa problems she had because of that in the face of Sri Lankan crackdowns. But it’s so casual and singsongy about the cheapness of life that it low-key chills my bones when I hear it.

Even more than the refrain of children singing:

All I wanna do is (gunshot sounds)

And a- (cash register sound)

And take your money

Paper Planes was nominated for a Grammy as part of the best soundtrack category.

Here’s a great breakdown of the whole song:

Full lyrics

I fly like paper, get high like planes
If you catch me at the border I got visas in my name
If you come around here, I make ’em all day
I get one done in a second if you wait

I fly like paper, get high like planes
If you catch me at the border, I got visas in my name
If you come around here, I make ’em all day
I get one done in a second if you wait

Sometimes I think sittin’ on trains
Every stop I get to I’m clocking that game
Everyone’s a winner, we’re making our fame
Bona fide hustler making my name

Sometimes I think sittin’ on trains
Every stop I get to I’m clocking that game
Everyone’s a winner, we’re making our fame
Bona fide hustler making my name

All I wanna do is-
And a-
And take your money
All I wanna do is-
And a-
And take your money

All I wanna do is-
And a-
And take your money
All I wanna do is-
And a-
And take your money

Pirate skulls and bones
Sticks and stones and weed and bongs
Running when we hit ’em
Lethal poison for the system

Pirate skulls and bones
Sticks and stones and weed and bongs
Running when we hit ’em
Lethal poison for the system

No one on the corner has swagger like us
Hit me on my burner prepaid wireless
We pack and deliver like UPS trucks
Already going to hell, just pumping that gas

No one on the corner has swagger like us
Hit me on my burner prepaid wireless
We pack and deliver like UPS trucks
Already going to hell, just pumping that gas

All I wanna do is-
And a-
And take your money
All I wanna do is-
And a-
And take your money

All I wanna do is-
And a-
And take your money
All I wanna do is-
And a-
And take your money

M.I.A
Third world democracy
Yeah, I’ve got more records than the KGB
So, uh, no funny business (are you ready all?)

Some, some, some I, some I murder
Some, I some I let go
Some, some, some I, some I murder
Some I, some I let go

All I wanna do is-
And a-
And take your money
All I wanna do is-
And a-
And take your money

All I wanna do is-
And a-
And take your money
All I wanna do is-
And a-
And take your money

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