"That's why everyone says hip-hop died, not because everyone started rapping about whatever they were rapping about, but because they found a formula and stuck to it, and we ate it so much we got fucking sick of the taste." - Iggy
Get to know the 'Next Big Thing' Australian rapper Iggy Azalea (Interview)
Kazemi: You hail from Australia and moved to America at a young age with intentions to record genuine Hip-Hop/Rap music, what artists were you listening to back home that really inspired you to make this move? Would you say it was the genre itself?
Iggy Azalea: Back home I was listening to a lot of 2pac, Outkast & Dungeon Family stuff, Jay, Common.. Any artist who I felt was really authentic and had a unique character. I was catching trains to the city to rhyme on open mic nights but I never felt like Australia had its own artists in that genre… We as a youth culture aspired to be like all the big american artists and legends. I’ve always dreamed big and thought if I was ever going to be truly respected, then I’d have to go to America where Hip-Hop was birthed and learn from the best of them… I wanted to be surrounded by this music in its most raw form, to understand embody it. So, I moved…
Kazemi: What is the story behind your stage-name Iggy Azalea, is it an ego or government approved?
Iggy: Iggy was my dog growing up as a child, he was just a bad ass mutt dog. He’d fight all the time, he’d bite people and runaway/get stolen.. The whole town had a price on this dogs head but he seemed to have 100 lives and always came out on top. My dad bought him the day I was born and we had to have him put down on my 18th birthday - he wouldn’t die! To me Iggy was someone that just had that fight in them and he never ever let that die, you don’t see that a lot these days.. In people or animals. To me, he was an underdog and I feel like my story makes me an underdog too.. I took his name and made it mine.
Kazemi: What was your recording situation like before you started posting freestyles on your YouTube account?
Iggy: Before I started posting freestyles, people didn’t see my vision. They would tell me I couldn’t perform a certain type of music because my skin was a different colour and that my looks were model like- they said all of that without knowing my story. People have told me that I have to sing first or people won’t be able to accept me. I made that YouTube account to freestyle and rap, to show people the public isn’t as close-minded as you think it is.
Kazemi: Your debut mixtape Ignorant Art was produced with Its Drugs Productions, why did you choose to work with them over in the know producers?
Iggy: A lot of times I find when you work with a bag name producer the music ends up sounding like you on THAT persons beat, I don’t need a “Timbaland” or “Pharrell” record.. I want and need an Iggy Azalea record, understandably when you’ve sold a lot of albums you want to stick to the formula; you know the one that works or sells, and I respect that but I want my own formula. I choose to work with Drugs because I think they are underdogs like myself! They feel the same way I do about music and creating original content, so we clicked.
Kazemi: Do you think that with the culture and formula of today’s Top 40 dance radio, you as a rap artist will have to resort to some type of pop production in order to get that “hit” or recognition?
Iggy: No, I don’t think my music has to do anything in order to achieve mainstream success. Did Eminem ever have to do an 8 count of Dance or sing with an auto tune mic to win a grammy? No? So, I won’t be either.
Kazemi: Are a lot of hip-hop artists battering hip-hop/rap as a genre by mixing it with this new found huge pop production? Nothing, is a real raw hip-hop beat with a genuinely good spit.
Iggy: Yes and no.. I think the true problem is agents and executives thinking that the “pop” formula is the “better”, right” or “only way” of doing things within the Hip-Hop & Rap genre. Everything has its place and time and I feel that people are ready to start using there knives and forks again because they are sick and tired of being fed “formula music”.
Kazemi: What makes a rap verse have soul and meaning? Does it all have to stem from a certain mood or feeling?
Iggy: A real rap verse has soul and meaning when it comes from your true character. I don’t think it has to be “deep” to have soul.. It could honestly be about anything, but you can’t think too hard about it or it will end up being contrived. I am more comfortable recording verses in a closet or someones bedroom then a huge studio… You just have to do it, personally to me a rap verse has soul when I know the person’s original thought.[Laughs] I see a lot of artists reading Billboard mag taking their notes on what songs are hot and after they take their notes, they are going to copy the same ideas from the “hottest” songs… NOT SOULFUL!
Kazemi: A lot of the greatest rap artists are dead, is there a certain legend that you’d really like to fuck/record with?
Iggy: I’d fuck Tupac’s bones, he’s a Gemini just like me and I completely get him.. Also Pimp C! Who by the way, does not get my panties wet but could definitely bless me with some heaven sent 16 (bars).. He had so much swag.