'Paper Planes' is the third single from artist M.I.A.'s second album 'Kala'. It is written by Maya Arulpragasam and Diplo, and samples the song 'Straight To Hell' by The Clash. Its chorus features gunshots and cash register sounds. M.I.A. worked on the song with Diplo in London.
The video was shot in New York City. It was originally planned to be shot in a factory on the border of Ecuador, but was not, due to M.I.A.'s time constraints while touring the U.S.A. In the video, M.I.A. appears as an immigrant that sells bread on a van to several other New Yorkers. At the sound of the gunshots, there appears quick shots of street signs, people, and restaurant signs. DMX as well as Mike D and Adrock of the Beastie Boys make cameo appearances in the video. M.I.A. performed a censored version of the song on the Late Show with David Letterman on September 21st 2007. The song's gunshots were replaced with "popping" sounds, which left her visibly surprised during the performance. The version released by MTV in December and this version differ greatly. In the MTV version, M.I.A.'s vocals are doubled, the gun sounds are replaced with ambiguous popping sounds, the gun loading sound is replaced with a cash register sound, and the word weed is removed. Following general fan disapproval of the leaked MTV version of the video, M.I.A. stated in a MySpace blog entry on December 16th 2007 that MTV's decision to change the sound disappointed and angered her; she felt that the video she had recorded for the song was already much more safe and mainstream than her regular videos. This copy is the uncensored version.