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Album review: Iggy Azalea - The New Classic

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The debut from Australian rapper, Iggy Azalea, is a belated one. With a full touring schedule and strong single releases, all reaching the UK top 20, the album release just missed the huge bubble of fame that came from ‘Work’, much similar to Azealia Banks’ ’212′ hype.

The album itself is relatively unimpressive, losing any vague relation to Australia and becoming yet more manufactured American bullshit rap music, in the post-Macklemore era.

Iggy hasn’t adopted an American ‘heritage’ and that accent unscathed; accusations range from cultural/racial appropriation to white privilege, even naming herself a ‘runaway slave master’.

The lyrics themselves revolve around her money, power, and blonde ambition. When I say revolve, I mean every song contains these themes, an unoriginal take from a rapper I thought would attempt to break the stereotypical mould of female chart toppers. However, a few tracks do stand out, including: ‘Don’t Need Y’all’, ’100′ , ‘Fancy’, and ‘Lady Patra’.

Opener ‘Walk The Line’ is a poor intro. With the first verse slurred in a fake Miami accent, the line ‘never forgot my roots’ seems ironic. The hook itself is a welcome relief from the verses, and with the backing track sounding like a cheaper copy of Ryan Lewis’ work, the opening track is less than explosive.

‘Don’t Need Y’all’ is an improvement, with a less aggressive rap sound and a less intrusive backing track. Quoting that eternal line ‘No money, no family, 16 in the middle of Miami‘, it makes me wonder if Iggy actually took any time to write the lyrics or come up with an original idea.

’100′ is the first collaboration on the album, and one of my favourite tracks, containing the soulful vocals of WatchTheDuck, a group of trap-steppers based in Atlanta. This redeems Azalea to an extent, creating a musical originality not seen in the rest of the album. The lyrics, however, disappoint.

With such potential, from the strong vocals and backing track, Iggy’s verses are less than impressive, again reminding the listener of her wealth, high class, and also how desired but unattainable she is. Thanks Iggy, we nearly forgot.

Numerous well known tracks follow, such as ‘Work’, ‘Change Your Life’ and ‘Fancy’, as well as ‘New Bitch’; a song I can’t listen to without wanting to smash my laptop.

Rita Ora’s ‘Black Widow’ appearance is reminiscent of Katy Perry’s track ‘Dark Horse’. Basically, the entire middle section of the album should be skipped if you’re sick of chart songs and would rather leave your listening device unharmed.

The final two tracks on the album are little more than a Major Lazer rip off and contain the same lyrical content again.

The album as a whole doesn’t feel like Azalea’s at all. She doesn’t appear in control of the tracks, instead the songs are governed by the poorly produced backing music and the varying collaborators, who often bring stronger vocals, even Rita Ora. Whether this was Iggy’s own artistic direction, or (more likely) that of the record label’s is unclear.

The popularity of Iggy Azalea is undeniable, with her fame and chart success clear. Her willingness to change her accent to fit in with the standard American mainstream did her more commercial favours than harm, allowing her to gain more success than those rappers who keep their original accents.

However, her lyrical quality is below average and unoriginal, the backing track dominates most of the songs, and even though she raps about her power and control, she doesn’t appear to either possess or exert it.

This begs the question, is her fame about her music, or is it once again her body, appearance, and infamy that drives the record and ticket sales? 

 

‘The New Classic’ can be streamed and bought online

Originally published on The Edge




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