LOS ANGELES — She might not be nominated for any VMAs this year, but [artist id="1803648"]M.I.A.[/artist] is still one of the hardest-working female artists in the music biz. After her swaggering performance with Jay-Z, Kanye, Lil Wayne and T.I. at the Grammy Awards in February, M.I.A. has since had a baby boy, headlined the massive Coachella Music Festival, broke her first signed artist, Rye Rye, into the scene on her brand-new indie label, N.E.E.T., and is also rumored to be writing tracks for Christina Aguilera's upcoming album.
And as if it weren't enough to headline two major West Coast festivals this week — Street Scene in San Diego and Outside Lands in San Francisco — M.I.A. somehow found time to do a semi-secret show at a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday night for 500 eager fans who scurried to buy tickets only days prior.
Local promoters' last-minute Facebook and Twitter blasts were the only advance notice fans received about the show, yet tickets still sold out within three hours of going on sale Monday. As showtime neared, the line wrapped around the block of the venue, but fans waited patiently to see their favorite Sri Lankan rapper up close and personal.
M.I.A. came out as stylish as ever, with her signature sunglasses and a white, one-piece leotard with a huge smiley face painted across the butt. She ran through popular songs off both her albums, including "Boyz," "10 Dolla" and of course, last year's summer jam, "Paper Planes." In between songs, her DJ would throw in new bass-thumping beats, but M.I.A. merely teased the audience with hints of new tracks.
"I was gonna play a new song, but I decided not to," M.I.A. called out toward the end of her set. The crowd did not seem to mind, though, as they jumped and pumped fists to each of her popular anthems.
"I really just want to throw out money and buy everyone a drink," she said as she finished her set. Cash never actually made it to the crowd and no rounds were bought, but the show ended with happy fans just satisfied to see her in a small, intimate venue versus the large festivals she has most recently been conquering. But the question remains whether she'll break out a new track or two at one of this weekend's huge gigs.