It shouldn’t be so rough for Iggy Azalea. The hottest rapper in the country with the insanely fit body, pose-for-the-paps smile and an ability to make catchy songs should be well-liked.
Of course, you’d be wrong. Azalea has found a way to turn multiple hip hop fan bases against her while also having other artists say things to her that would make your mother blush. Jill Scott recently felt comfortable enough to talk crazy at Azalea while the latter was being nominated for multiple Grammy awards. Nicki Minaj felt bold enough to squabble with azalea for “lack of acknowledgement” towards her, which then turned into an epic back and forth conversation. Other artists haven’t been shy in letting Azalea know how they feel.
All of this happens even though Azalea’s collaborating peers have mostly positive things to say about her, yet it seems that Azalea’s image is tarnished by others who have prolonged exposure to rappers with successful pop hits.
Here’s the question: should people hate Iggy Azalea as much as they do?
Before we answer, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane:
The co-sign from T.I.
The southern fan base hates Iggy Azalea for lots of reasons. It started because the “KING” rapper called for other artists to “show some respect” to the Australian import. Remember this awkwardness? Um, yeah.
Of course, southern fans are more bitter due to the incessant flip-flopping that occurred in Azalea’s underground days before her rise to stardom. That only made things worse: Azalea held hip hop hostage by insisting her southern accent is real and she is a product of the underground. They haven’t been the same since.
Perception becomes reality
Maybe it’s the washboard body. Maybe it’s the incessant whining. Maybe it’s because Azalea has access to many big name rappers and still has yet to develop beyond a one-dimensional delivery. Maybe it’s the fact that Azalea carries herself like she’s the toughest rapper in the game (aren’t you supposed to?), but no one on Earth believes her. What’s worse is that Azalea isn’t the type to retaliate in any form or fashion that is usually accustomed to hip hop artists, which has earned her the worst label anyone could own in the music business: a cop out.
Is this fair to Azalea?
Azalea made me a believer when Beyonce called Iggy one of her favorite rappers and she even brought her on her tour. She took on the bullies like Snoop Dogg, upgraded from A.S.A.P. Rocky to NBA Guard Nick Young and took a maybe-cheesy 3 minutes in “Black Widow” with Rita Ora and turned it into a coming out party for 2 of music’s rising stars. That was the Iggy Azalea I enjoyed. That was the bar she set so high that made us believe in her in the first place.
For many others, those moments of high performance have been few and far between. Outside of a cool appearance on a non-urban show or modeling editorial shoot, the general public sadly doesn’t have much to say about Azalea’s performance.
But the truth is that Azalea has been a catalyst for careful image control as a recording artist, and that’s something worth loving as a music fan. Azalea’s still the hottest rapper in the business, and it’s not even a close debate no matter how hot Big Sean is becoming.
Yes, Azalea is annoying at times. But annoying isn’t a reason to trash one’s music reputation this much.*
*Though if you’re a hip hop purist or a constant accuser of cultural appropriation, you at least have your reasons.