Iggy Azalea better watch out because up-and-coming emcee Chelsea Jane may be coming for her spot as the number one Australian emcee. Back in September 2014, former Flipmode Squad member, Rah Digga nearly broke the internet when she criticized Azalea for not being Hip hop and cited Chelsea Jane as a rapper from down under using her actual accent.
VH1 chatted with Chelsea about her relationship with Rah, the comparisons to Iggy, and how social media has played such an important part in her musical journey.
Rah Digga cosigned for you when she did an interview ThisIs50. What’s your relationship with her? How did she become a fan of your music?
Chelsea Jane: I actually met Digga in the studio prior to her interview and she wanted to hear some of my music. I tweeted some of my music and she really liked it and she invited me to one of her. I’d never seen a female emcee on stage before because back home there are so few female emcees, so when I saw her on stage I was just like, it was just like Christmas. Every Christmas, in one room. [Laughs] It was so amazing to see a female up there doing her thing and I thought she was just incredible. She shouted me out and she just started pushing my music and I really am privileged.
Do you think there is any possibility you and Digga might collaborate on any future projects?
Yes it’s quite possible. We’re still in the works of doing a project within the year so I don’t know just yet but I’m super appreciative of everything she’s done and all of her fans showing me love.
Do you feel the comparisons between you and Iggy are unfair because you’re both Australian women?
I mean, I think the debate is about the delivery and where she’s from and how she speaks and how she raps. I haven’t had any issues really. I spoke with a few people on Twitter who are Iggy fans that take her side because they think it’s their job to take a side. It’s art, it’s not a competition, more than one person can be on top but I haven’t had any people lash out at me or anything. I think that Iggy’s music isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea but neither is mine.
Have you met Iggy? Do you have mutual friends from the Australian hip hop scene?
No. I don’t know her at all.
So tell me about your upcoming album, how is going to be different about from the EP? How is your sound evolving?
My whole goal from the beginning has been to make a sound that is only hip hop and like waves the hip hop flag but in a different way. I can’t really explain it until you hear it. There are a lot more vocals, it’s not just rap, rap, rap. There’s a lot of vocals that I do on it and there is a lot of rapping but it’s a less abrasive sound. I think you guys hear Hip hop and it can be a bit too harsh on your ear and I’m trying to make a nice blend in a crossover sound.
Would you say it’s more pop than authentic Hip hop?
No, I definitely think it’s very Hip hop but I just think on my EP, we were just making rap songs, just rapping and rapping and rapping. Now I’m structuring songs that have a verse, a bridge, and a hook. I’m extending the sound and using my vocals as opposed to using more sampling and other artists.
So you’re going to be singing a little then?
Yes, definitely singing.
How long have you been making music? How did you find yourself in the world of Hip hop?
The Hip hop scene in Australia is actually really small and I had a few friends who were involved and they encouraged me to get into it. I didn’t actually start writing music until I was at university. I just got bored going to university and I was always just watching hip hop battles.
How did the EP happen?
I had a lot of friends in the battle scene and [rapper] Ness Lee introduced me to his producer. I met him on Twitter, he reached out when I complimented him. So we hung out and I was kind of freestyling in my room and he was like, we should do some stuff together like I literally had no recording experience or anything and he kind of took me underneath his wing and got me in the studio and we produced an EP.
I’m curious, how did the sampling of Connie Francis’ “Where The Boys Are?” come in to play? Where did that idea come from?
My producer was like hey I got this new beat and I think you would be cool for it and I listened to it and I wrote “Where The Boys At?” It took like 20 minutes and then it was done. He already had Connie Francis beat in there and it was perfect. I thought this song could be taken like two sort of ways: if you’re not listening to the song, it could sound a bit provocative but it’s actually “Where The Boys At?” in like, c’mon, what are you doing? Get your shit together. It was more an empowerment thing. I love that record, there’s nothing like it, definitely in Australia there’s nothing like it.
Is it tough being a woman in Hip hop? Is it different in the states opposed to Australia?
Since I’ve moved to LA? To be fair, I don’t think it is that different, I think it’s very hard to get on but it’s hard to get on everywhere. The community in Australia is a lot smaller but I don’t know I’ve been very lucky. I don’t think there’s a real difference, it’s pretty hard everywhere.
We’ve all excited for your next move, who would be a dream collaborator for your album?
I would say Missy Elliott! She’s great, and, my god this was the first Super Bowl I ever watched. I was like, what the hell, you guys? We don’t really have an event like that in Australia where you put in all this money and advertising and football and the performers. I think Missy stole the show to be honest. Like, I like Katy Perry but Missy Elliott was amazing.
I think everyone is just waiting for an explosive Missy Elliot comeback so you guys should definitely make some music together.
Absolutely, let’s make it happen!
[Photo Credit: Averie Harvey]