“Paper Planes” is a song by British rapper M.I.A. from her second studio album, Kala (2007). The song was written by M.I.A. and Diplo. The song’s backing track is a sample of the 1982 song “Straight to Hell” by The Clash, and the members of The Clash are credited as co-writers of the song. The chorus of “Paper Planes” was widely speculated to be based on the chorus to the 1992 song “Rump Shaker” by Wreckx-N-Effect, although that song’s writers are not credited. It was produced by Diplo with additional production by Switch. “Paper Planes” was released for download in August 2007 and as the album’s third single by XL Recordings and Interscope Records on 11 February 2008.
“Paper Planes” is a downtempo rap ballad, with a folk style melody considered less dance-influenced than the other songs on the album. The song ignited wide acclaim upon release, and contemporary critics complimented its music direction and the subversive, unconventional subject matter of the piece, citing its chorus and its lyrical humour in the promotion of globalization.