Music

Iggy Azalea: The New Classic

This isn’t something new, or a classic, but Iggy has carved out a niche. And with some pretty smart tunes, she’s made her debut a beautifully mixed bag.


Iggy Azalea

The New Classic

Label: Virgin EMI
US Release Date: 2014-04-21
UK Release Date: 2014-04-21
Amazon
iTunes

Remember Gucci Gucci? Kreayshawn? Something About Kreay? I thought not. She wasn’t even a flash in the pan. I didn’t pay attention to anything she released and it wasn’t because she wasn’t a black rapper. It was because she was little more than a gimmick. I couldn’t take her seriously, and clearly nobody else did. Her label only paid her one cent (I doubt they earned anything from her only major label album), the critics were particularly harsh, and nobody bought it. Well, someone bought it. So for a minute, everyone thought that Kreayshawn was the end of emerging female rappers. Then a new wave of female rappers came along, amongst them Azealia Banks, Angel Haze, and Iggy Azalea. Iggy is probably never going to be as gimmicky as Kreayshawn, simply because she pitched herself as a serious musician from the get-go. The first time I heard Work, her first single, I could tell she put more effort into her lyrics and her instrumental choices, picking gritty Gangsta-Pop beats over EDM and dance music as well as deciding to rap about her life before her new-found fame as opposed to her fame. Even when she does choose to indulge herself into Hip-Pop, like on Fancy, the very catchy collaboration with Charlie XCX, she manages to sound rather gritty.

This may be due to her faux-American accent she seems to love rapping and singing (not-so-well) in. Clearly, the girl needs to get rid of the accent. It hinders her from delivering some of the most telling and revealing tracks on the album including the amazing opener "Walk the Line". One of the main reasons this track works so well is because of its placement at the beginning of the album. It easily tricks you into thinking she is going to trip up with a track that sounds so serious. But when she opens her mouth, all fears of messing up a perfect instrumental are allayed. Azalea manages to ease into the track and addresses her current state of mind by talking about how she feels about her new found success. The greatest thing about this track is the Drake-style approach she brings. Without overthinking it, she just talks. And that is when Iggy is at her best. When she decides to just rap, without trying to do anything special, she unveils a rapper that would easily be welcomed into a league not too far from the likes of Nicki Minaj, Eve, Lil’ Kim, and Missy Elliot.

Take, for example, "Don’t Need Y’all", which seems to carry on the sombre thought-processing that she executes so well on "Work". The track doesn’t sound horrific or cathartic at all. Rather, she does keep it fairly fresh by looking at the amount of fiends she has accumulated since increasing her fame. However, it sounds like album filler compared to the opener. Some of the tracks do not work on this album simply because they either force Iggy to exude too much personality or think too much about the lyrics. Tracks like "100", which take on a delayed acoustic guitar sample and adds a trap beat, and "Lady Patra", which throws Iggy into a dancehall-influenced pop production, force her to do too much in the way of braggadocio. Azalea doesn’t manage to keep the lyrics or her flow tight on either track and the features are respectively annoying ("Watch the Duck") and grating ("Movado"). The worst of all the tracks on the album fall between "Impossible Is Nothing", which has Iggy preaching – literally preaching – to youths, rather than relate to them, and" Black Widow" featuring the ever-so-average Rihanna (I mean Rita Ora) singing about how weaving a web means dying. No, I didn’t pay attention to feature, even with repeated listens.

However, when Iggy hits the spot, she hits bulls-eye. There three main things she raps about well: her struggle, which is executed best on "Walk the Line", her swag, which is presented best in the form of "Fancy", and her credibility, which exists in the form of "Goddess". "Goddess" is easily the best song on the entire record because she manages to show why she isn’t anything like many of the rappers that have gone before and ended falling to the wayside, male or female. She lays everything on the line, infusing her grittiest version of herself with a production that subtly fuses a drum pan and a trap beat along with an electric guitar and an upbeat choir. The entire track doesn’t have Iggy rest on her laurels; rather, she manages to impress so much that even the most skeptical would rate the track better than some of the efforts made by her contemporaries. It’s interesting to note that the track is also the only track apart from "Work" that seems to lift the second half of the album. Even though either half isn’t perfect, the first half is at least fairly diverse, whereas the second half is just downright boring for the most part.

But I wouldn’t blame Iggy for anything wrong with the album, per say. The entire album had several delays and suffered a couple of poorly performing singles before taking off. To make matters worse, her features were extremely lacking with the only saving grace being Charlie XCX. So to say Iggy will be written off within a year is practically a big no-no. The New Classic will never be a classic, but it isn’t anywhere as bad as anyone will expect it to be. In fact, Iggy Azalea has managed to create an album that exceeds any reasonable expectation and I hope that on her next album, she elevates her expectations and her game. Then she’ll be so much closer to a new classic.

6
Music
Music

All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger's Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop

Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.

Music

Folkie Eliza Gilkyson Turns Up the Heat on '2020'

Eliza Gilkyson aims to inspire the troops of resistance on her superb new album, 2020. The ten songs serve as a rallying cry for the long haul.

Music

Billy Corgan Brainwashed Me: '90s Alternative Rock and the Introspective Abyss

Once in its thrall, these days I find the overriding message of '90s alt-rock especially naïve and even dangerous.

Music

Human Impact Hit Home with a Seismic First Album From a Veteran Lineup

On their self-titled debut, Human Impact provide a soundtrack for this dislocated moment where both humanity and nature are crying out for relief.

Music

PopMatters Seeks Music Critics and Essayists

If you're a smart, historically-minded music critic or essayist, let your voice be heard by the quality readership of PopMatters.

Music

Monophonics Are an Ardent Blast of True Rock 'n' Soul on 'It's Only Us'

The third time's the charm as Bay Area soul sextet Monophonics release their shiniest record yet in It's Only Us.

Music

Bobby Previte / Jamie Saft / Nels Cline: Music from the Early 21st Century

A power-trio of electric guitar, keyboards, and drums takes on the challenge of free improvisation—but using primarily elements of rock and electronica as strongly as the usual creative music or jazz. The result is focused.

Music

JARV IS... - "House Music All Night Long" (Singles Going Steady)

"House Music All Night Long" is a song our inner, self-isolated freaks can jive to. JARV IS... cleverly captures how dazed and confused some of us may feel over the current pandemic, trapped in our homes.

Books
Books

Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

Books

Phuc Tran's Existential Trip of a Memoir, 'Sigh, Gone'

Phuc Tran's smart, tough memoir, Sigh, Gone, might launch a broken down kid to read 150 great books—for free, at the local library.

Books

Classic Shōjo Today: Moto Hagio's 'The Poe Clan'

Moto Hagio's The Poe Clan manga series a gender-fluid melodrama marked by deep psychological trauma.

Books

John Pham's ​J​&K​​ - It's a Matter of Perspective

In J&K, John Pham explores perspectives in the psychological sense. Like Picasso, he views things from more than one angle.

Film
Film

'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.

Film

The Road to Murder in Love and War: Three Films from Claude Chabrol

The character's in Claude Chabrol's The Third Lover, Line of Demarcation, and The Champagne Murders are obsessively doubled and mirrored, reflecting and refracting their hunger for sex, love, money, and power.

Film

'Memento' Is the Movie of the Attention Economy

We are afraid of time, and so like Leonard in Memento, we kill it, compulsively and indiscriminately.

Film

What Lurks Beneath: 'Jaws' and Political Leadership in the Time of COVID-19

Boris Johnson admires the Mayor in Spielberg's Jaws. Remember him? He was the guy who wouldn't close the beaches -- and sacrifice that revenue source -- during a public crisis.

Recent
Music

JARV IS... - "House Music All Night Long" (Singles Going Steady)

"House Music All Night Long" is a song our inner, self-isolated freaks can jive to. JARV IS... cleverly captures how dazed and confused some of us may feel over the current pandemic, trapped in our homes.

Music

All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger's Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop

Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.

Music

Folkie Eliza Gilkyson Turns Up the Heat on '2020'

Eliza Gilkyson aims to inspire the troops of resistance on her superb new album, 2020. The ten songs serve as a rallying cry for the long haul.

Music

Human Impact Hit Home with a Seismic First Album From a Veteran Lineup

On their self-titled debut, Human Impact provide a soundtrack for this dislocated moment where both humanity and nature are crying out for relief.

Music

Monophonics Are an Ardent Blast of True Rock 'n' Soul on 'It's Only Us'

The third time's the charm as Bay Area soul sextet Monophonics release their shiniest record yet in It's Only Us.

Film

'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.

Music

Bobby Previte / Jamie Saft / Nels Cline: Music from the Early 21st Century

A power-trio of electric guitar, keyboards, and drums takes on the challenge of free improvisation—but using primarily elements of rock and electronica as strongly as the usual creative music or jazz. The result is focused.

Books

Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

Music

The Killers - "Caution" (Singles Going Steady)

The Killers go for the big hooks and singable anthems on "Caution", but opinion is sharply divided about the song's merits amongst our Singles Going Steady panel.

Music

Lilly Hiatt - "Some Kind of Drug" (Singles Going Steady)

Lilly Hiatt sings about a different kind of love on "Some Kind of Drug". Hers is for a city and the impact gentrification has had its soul.

Music

There's Never Enough Time for Folk Music's James Elkington

The sometimes Wilco and Richard Thompson sideman, in-demand producer, and songwriter, James Elkington, muses on why it's taking longer than he expects to achieve more in a week than most of us get done in a lifetime.

Music

Billy Corgan Brainwashed Me: '90s Alternative Rock and the Introspective Abyss

Once in its thrall, these days I find the overriding message of '90s alt-rock especially naïve and even dangerous.

Books

Classic Shōjo Today: Moto Hagio's 'The Poe Clan'

Moto Hagio's The Poe Clan manga series a gender-fluid melodrama marked by deep psychological trauma.

Music

Salsa Band LPT Hints at the Genre's Future

LPT's debut album, Sin Parar, hits all the right notes for a contemporary salsa album.

Music

Jennah Barry Offers Up a Warm, Sublime Collection of Memorable Tunes on 'Holiday'

Canadian indie folkster Jennah Barry returns with her long-awaited sophomore album, Holiday, which takes on a looser, more relaxed approach.

Music

Fotocrime's '80s-Inspired Rock Is Often Half-Baked

Fotocrime's South of Heaven is interesting mostly in that it's one of the most mediocre rock records I've heard in a long time.

Music

Maria McKee Puts Down Her Electric Guitar and Picks up Dante on 'La Vita Nuova'

"Show Me Heaven" was another country. Maria McKee has moved to England, immersed herself in the Classics and turned away from the 21st century.

Books

Phuc Tran's Existential Trip of a Memoir, 'Sigh, Gone'

Phuc Tran's smart, tough memoir, Sigh, Gone, might launch a broken down kid to read 150 great books—for free, at the local library.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews
Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.