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New Kid on the Block – Iggy Azalea

I was flicking through music channels during advertisement breaks a few weeks ago and came across Iggy Azalea’s music video for her debut single ‘Work’. Ever since then, she has fascinated me. The more this single was played on the radio, the more I wanted to find out about her and it seems she has a more interesting story than I anticipated.

Surprisingly, Iggy Azalea, real name Amethyst Amelia Kelly, wasn’t born in America as her accent in her songs would suggest but was actually born in Sydney, Australia. She started from extremely humble beginnings, growing up in rural New South Wales with her father, a painter and her mother who cleaned holiday houses. However just before her 16th birthday she realized if she was to fulfill her dream of being a rap/hip hop artist Australia wasn’t the place to be:

“I was drawn to America because I felt like an outsider in my own country, I was in love with hip hop, and America is the birthplace of that, so I figured the closer I was to the music, the happier I’d be. I was right.”

When she got there, she lived in Miami as she mentions in her single ‘Work’: ‘No money, no family, 16 in the middle of Miami’, later she moved to Houston and then to LA in 2010. Before she left Australia there were many sceptics telling her that being a white female rapper would never happen; especially one from Australia- a country more interested in electro-dance music than hip hop. Even when she dropped out of high school, they said ‘see you next semester’ expecting her to return within a few months. However this scepticism seemed to only fuel her further and it was when her ‘Pu$$y’ video went viral on Youtube that she was noticed.

Did You Know… She came up with her stage name ‘Iggy Azalea’ after her old dog, named Iggy and Azalea is the name of the street her family still live on.

It is true that her ‘Pu$$y’ video is quite controversial, however it does have its comic elements with shots of cats intermittently, giving it a more light hearted feel than you might expect. One thing that can be said in her favour is that you can tell she really cares about every video she makes and that the whole aesthetic, artistic side is done by her, how she wants it – watch her ‘My World’ video for a taste of her style.

Speaking of style, music isn’t the only string to her bow as at 5’10” and with an absolutely slammin’ figure she is also signed by Wilhemina Models and was named the new face of Levi Jeans in 2012. Fashion is obviously another passion of hers and her striking, brightly coloured outfits she wears in her videos are reflective of her fashion idols who she has said include Grace Kelly, Gwen Stefani and even the Spice Girls.

7 years on from moving to America it seems Azalea is on her way to becoming the hip hop star she dreamed of. She has been taken under the wing of T.I. and Grand Hustle Records who have also signed B.O.B and Travis Scott; was the opening act for Rita Ora on her RadioActive Tour and recently supported Nas. I still am not sure what to make of her music, it does seem that sometimes her lyrics are quite controversial just for the sake of shocking people. I however do respect how hard she’s worked and it is a promising sign for the future that white women are gradually being welcomed into the hip hop/rap domain.

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Esme Dee

Nottingham

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