Four years ago, the Australian rapper became one of the biggest new stars in music. Now, she recounts her fall from pop’s heights, and the lessons she’s learned ahead of a comeback bid.
Iggy Azalea is worried that she’s about to get booed.
In a few hours, Azalea will head to Brooklyn for Demi Lovato’s performance at the Barclays Center on this freezing Friday in New York City. “I’m gonna come out and Demi’s gonna sing ‘Savior’ with me,” says Iggy, in between bites of a cheeseburger, as she sits at a boardroom table in a suite at the Mercer Hotel. She’ll ascend from beneath the stage as a surprise guest midway through the show to perform her new single, and Lovato will sing the vulnerable hook (“I’ve been looking for a savior/I’ve been looking for a hero in my corner”) as Azalea delivers verses about losing hope and trying to escape purgatory.
I tell Azalea that the arena crowd will go nuts when they see her. She isn’t so sure. “I hope so?” Azalea says, leaving a twinge on the final word. “You never really know.” She’s wearing a cropped black jacket over a printed tee and pink suede pants, and runs her right hand through her long, straight, taffy-colored hair. Her ring finger reads ‘Digital’ and her middle finger reads ‘Distortion,’ a tattoo dedicated to a planned sophomore album, Digital Distortion, that was never released.
Azalea, 27, explains that, a week earlier, she made a similar appearance in Australia, during Tyga’s set at a hip-hop festival in Melbourne. It was her first performance in her native country since 2013, when, poised to blow up in America, she opened for Beyonce on the Australian leg of the Mrs. Carter Show. Azalea’s stomach churned offstage as Tyga hyped up his mystery guest. “He says [to the crowd], ‘Okay, y’all know I couldn’t come out here without bringing out the queen of Australia,’” she recalls, her eyes widening. “I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know. That’s a big statement. Are they gonna be like, “Boo, fuck you, bitch!”?’”