It’s been four years since the Australian rapper topped the charts with her song “Fancy.” Since then, her career has stalled: She’s canceled a world tour, scrapped an entire album, and undergone an acrimonious public breakup. But most of all, she’s refused to reckon with her place as a white woman making hip-hop. So how does she explain herself?
Iggy Azalea is lost. Running behind schedule, the Australian rapper drove straight past the photoshoot off Sunset Boulevard and now has to re-route. She pulls into the lot in her black Rolls Royce. She’s alone. She climbs out of the car and walks straight through the studio. Her face looks beige and lifeless. Her eyes are truly, visibly sad. Not Bambi eyes sad, either: sad like the eyes of someone who is fed up. Too fed up to cry. She drags her feet along the floor in Balenciaga sliders. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
Re-positioning is hard for Iggy in 2018. Her career is not what it was. In 2014, she was the most successful female rapper to emerge since Nicki Minaj. Her debut album The New Classic (released on Def Jam) was nominated for four Grammys and enjoyed a hat-trick of hits: “Fancy” (featuring Charli XCX), “Black Widow” (with Rita Ora) and “Work.” She duetted with Ariana Grande on the pop star’s hit “Problem” and became the first act since the Beatles to hold both the Number 1 and 2 positions for debut entries on the Billboard 100. (Let’s note though, that’s not because they were good hip-hop records. They were accessible hip-hop records featuring mimicable Southern-aping rhymes and trap-lite production; dumb popular in the way that Kygo or Marshmello or G-Eazy are currently.) She was the protege of TI. He’s since distanced himself. Many have distanced themselves. Way back when, Iggy Azalea was selling more hip-hop records than Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and Jay Z. “Mm-hmm,” she nods. You wonder if it’s maybe a surprise that people don’t—
view more images from this album