“Paper Planes” is a song by British musician M.I.A. from her second studio album, Kala (2007). The song ignited wide acclaim upon its release, and contemporary critics complimented the musical direction as well as the subversive, unconventional subject matter of the piece, citing its chorus and lyrical humor in the promotion of globalization. The single peaked in the Top 20 in Belgium, Denmark, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. M.I.A has expressed surprise at the song’s wide commercial success, telling Rolling Stone in October 2008, “I always took pride in being a little underground – it really is a very unlikely record to cross over” (adpated from Wikipedia).
All I want to do is BANG BANG BANG
And CLICK KA-CHING
And take your money
Grammar: Zero Conditional
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 them all day.
I get one done in a second if you wait.
The song’s first verse has several examples of some grammar called the zero conditional. A conditional sentence usually contains the words if/when and then, and we use it to discuss the results of a situation, fact or idea. Use the zero conditional to discuss a result that is always true, such as simple, scientific facts. The result of the condition is 100% true, and the result never changes.
In order to make the zero conditional, use the simple present verb tense.
If + subject + simple present verb, subject + simple present verb.
- If you catch me at the border, I have visas in my name.
- If you come around here, I make them all day.
- If you wait, I get one done in a second.
In the above examples, the IF CONDITION is first, and the result is second. In this case, use COMMAS to separate the clauses. It is also possible to write/say the result first, but you do not need a comma.
- I get one done in a second if you wait.
- I have visas in my name if you catch me at the border.
- I make them all day if you come around here.
- paper planes (noun) – a slang expression for visas, which are legal documents for entering, residing and working in foreign countries. Paper planes might also be slang for joints/spliffs, which are cigarettes rolled with marijuana.
- bona fide (adjective) – A Latin phrase that means authentic or genuine. It is always used immediately before a noun.
- hustler (noun) – a person who earns money illegally.
- bong (noun) – a water pipe that is commonly used for smoking marijuana.
- swagger (noun) – If somebody has swagger, they are very sophisticated in fashion and behavior.
- burner (noun) – an inexpensive, pre-paid mobile phone. Criminals often use these phones and then throw them away to evade the police.
Biography from the Hip Hop Smithsonian
ESLhiphop is proud to be partners with the Hip Hop Smithsonian, which is an online, virtual museum that catalogs and preserves the birth and evolution of hip-hop. Learn more about the life and music of Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, a.k.a. M.I.A., in this exceptionally comprehensive biography. Click the picture below!