M.I.A. will release her fifth album, AIM, next month, and the rapper already presented us with its debut single “Go Off,” which features producer Blaqstarr. On top of that, the rapper announced that she collaborated with Diplo on the track “Bird Song” (out 8/12). That tidbit of info was especially surprising since M.I.A. and Diplo used to date around the time they worked on her 2010 album Maya together, and were feuding over Twitter just last year. Today, M.I.A. announced that she worked with another unlikely collaborator on AIM: the ex-One Directioner Zayn Malik. Entertainment Weekly reports that the two worked on a song titled “Freedun” over WhatsApp. Apparently M.I.A. and Malik have been acquainted ever since she considered writing songs on his debut solo LP Mind Of Mine. She told EW the following about their friendship:
We have the same publishers and they wanted me to demo some songs for Zayn… Before I started writing properly my own stuff [for AIM], 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.
Zayn’s vocals are featured on “Freedun,” and according to the interview, the song was just mastered over the weekend.