There’s been a great deal of incessant chatter about rap newcomer Iggy Azalea. While some question the 21-year-old Australian rapper’s authenticity, others know all the words to her latest single “Murda Bizness.” Iggy first made a few splashes on the Internet after the release of her video “Pu$$y.” To date, “Pu$$y” has over 835,000 YouTube visits. In September 2011 Ignorant Art dropped as her first official mixtape. “My World” directed by Alex/2Tone was the next video released that garnered Iggy the much needed attention to get the ball rolling on her career. Her high fashion look and undetectable accent was captivating. People wanted to know who the latest white female rapper to hit scene was. She wasn’t anything like Kreayshawn. Her southern influence, apparent in her sound, set her apart from the competition–if there ever was any. People quickly wondered if she had the chops to break through the genre dominated by black males.
This year, Iggy’s career hit big. In January, she was signed to Interscope Records by none other than Jimmy Iovine himself. According to Iggy, she restructured her deal so she could sign with Grand Hustle, T.I.’s label, having the best of both worlds. In April, XXL featured her on their Freshman Class list. With a nod from the self-proclaimed King of the South, coupled with XXL’s stamp of approval, Iggy seems to be on her way to a skyrocketing career. But what about longevity? Does she have what it takes to weather the ever-evolving world of hip-hop?
One could argue that Iggy’s success is already signed, sealed, and delivered. In other words, a done deal. She’s a white female that raps, therefore making her an anomaly. Her body is bananas, she’s attractive and her style game turns heads. Simply put: she has the “it” factor.
Then there’s the musical aspect. The day she made the XXL Freshman List, Azealia Banks took to Twitter to express her disapproval of that choice. She was the first person to call Iggy out for her controversial “runaway slave master” lyrics in “D.R.U.G.S.” The backlash was damaging. Some music lovers claimed they would not support a rapper who chose their rhymes as carelessly as Iggy admittedly had. Iggy released an apology statement admitting it was a poor choice of words, but it was too little too late for some fans. Those who already questioned her skills went into overdrive attacking her talent and authenticity.
It didn’t help that in a recent interview Eve said she wasn’t feeling Iggy’s music: “I’m not really into the Iggy Azalea chick. I can’t really f*ck with her music, but her look is crazy. I just can’t believe [her music].”
On the flip side, there’s her performance in an ATL club where the crowd is going nuts to the somewhat catchy “Murda Bizness,” (the beat is sick!) rapping bar for bar.
Iggy is still a newbie to the music business. The case can be made either way on whether or not she has what it takes. Perhaps a better question is why has it taken so long for there to be a dope white female emcee? Certainly they exist in the form of Invincible, Eternia and Lady Sovereign. But without the nod of a huge male rapper, they’ve gone almost unnoticed.
Hip-hop has always been about telling a story. That doesn’t mean fun dance tracks or bling bling songs haven’t slipped through the cracks and even become hits. But we’ve yet to figure out what story Iggy is trying to tell. Who is she? At the end of the day it’s about the music. If it’s good, she’ll succeed. If no one is talking about her in a year, then the people have spoken.
[Photo: Getty Images]