Iggy Azalea and Taylor Swift are two musicians who have one thing in common: no one knows what genre to place them in. At last year’s American Music Awards, Swift took home top honors as Favorite Female Artist in the country and pop/rock categories. This year, Azalea is up for Favorite Artist in the pop/rock and rap/hip hop categories. Does this mean the AMA genre category choices are flawed or should fans accept the idea that an artist can dominate two completely different genres at the same time?
Country music and rap used to be two separate entities. In the past, a country artist put out a country album and had country fans. The same goes for rap. Today, it’s a lot harder to pin artists to one genre because they don’t feel the need to be restricted to just one. In the 2000s, Britney Spears was the undisputed queen of pop. But on her latest album Britney Jean, Spears dropped “Work B*tch”, a pop song with serious EDM overtones. Actually, many artists have successfully crossed over into EDM but does that mean Spears is no longer pop? No.
Azalea has received plenty of criticism for not embodying “real hip hop” with her music. But SoundClash executive producer and hip hop aficionado Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson had the perfect response when asked in an interview with Time if he was pro- or anti-Iggy Azalea. “You know, we as black people have to come to grips that hip hop is a contagious culture,” Thompson explains. “If you love something, you gotta set it free. I will say that ’Fancy,’ above any song that I’ve ever heard or dealt with, is a game-changer in that fact that we’re truly going to have to come to grips with the fact that hip-hop has spread its wings.” In other words, hip hop purists will always defend their genre from those who they deem unworthy of a “rapper” title but most fans understand that music is always evolving. Therefore, genres are becoming less structured and it’s very possible that an artist can win Favorite Artist in two completely different genre categories like Swift did in 2013 and Azalea may do on Sunday.
How will fellow Favorite Artist in rap/hip hop nominees Drake and Eminem react if they lose to Azalea? We can only imagine…Watch as Azalea explains the inspiration behind her hit “Fancy” featuring Charli XCX and check out this year’s American Music Awards on Sunday (November 23) at 8/7C on ABC.
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