The daughter of a former member of Sri Lankan rebel group the Tamil Tigers, singer/rapper M.I.A. grew up in London where she was schooled on American hip-hop, U.K. club sounds, and world rhythms. With all these sounds in tow, M.I.A. went on to create an infectious, hyperactive, cross-cultural musical hybrid best represented by her ubiquitous 2004 single, "Galang." A stridently political performer (noticeable in everything from her visual art to her music), M.I.A.'s often controversial status as an activist came to a head in 2006 when she was denied a visa and entry into the United States.