When bombshell MC Iggy Azalea invited listeners to “taste my skittles” in breakout video “Pu$$y”(a track whose chorus is solely the word “p*ssy” on loop), tongues wagged as she swagged out in a pumped-up technicolor suburban ‘hood. An Australian white girl (now L.A. based) with a raw, no-nonsense delivery, a penchant for dirty talk, and a string of stylized, provocative music videos, Azalea whizzed into Internet fame. But the 22 year-old also became cause for criticism: Is she authentic? Swinging her signature blonde-ambition ponytail along the way, Azalea ponytail-whips, rather than pistol-whips (glam, not guns), all her yak-happy haters in their collective face—she won’t crumble. After a much-publicized last-minute decision to not sign with Interscope Records in favor of T.I’s Grand Hustle Records earlier this year, the raunchy rapper is finally ready to share her highly anticipated debut EP Glory.
For a newcomer, it’s been a very public year: she released a free mixtape Ignorant Art last year, was the first female ever selected for XXL’s Freshman class of 2012, has been criticized by Azealia Banks, and is potentially involved in a hush-hush romantic relationship with it-boy rapper A$AP Rocky. All of this piled on top of preparing the several-time delayed Glory EP, a trap-electronic project Trap Gold, and her debut album, The New Classic (likely out early next year.)
Glory lauds the luxury of being fresh, rich, and sexy, spitting out anthems to the blissful sin of living-so-large. “Murda Business,” featuring T.I., is a southern, click-click, bang-bang club beat, where Azalea boasts being “the baddest bitch” in the club. The song comes hand-in-hand with aToddlers and Tiaras parody-themed video. “Flash” featuring Mike Posner, is an old school hip hop/ R&B jam, in which the fired up MC is sexin’ to Pandora radio. The rapstress shares the mic once again with T.I. and label-mate B.O.B. in “Million Dollar Misfit,” a commercial gangsta ode to being the hottest “anywhere they land”.
Interview spole on the phone with Azalea (real name: Amethyst) about how “Murda Business” could amp up your vocabulary, what nice skin T.I. has, and the underrated wardrobe of The Nanny's Fran Fine.
AIMEE O’NEILL: As a teenager growing up in Australia, how did rap speak to you?
IGGY AZALEA: I always thought that there was something in hip-hop culture that was the misfit of all the musical styles, where they didn’t really belong. They’re kind of like, “No, we’re a real culture! We’re not going anywhere, you can’t get rid of us!” I really liked that there was a rebelliousness about it. I connected with that. Also, I liked the flashiness of it and the way everybody dressed—all the crazy chains and crazy style. Everything about it, I was interested.
O’NEILL: Were you a tough girl growing up? Beating up everyone on the block?
AZALEA: There was never anyone to beat up. [Laughs.] I’m a pretty chill and easygoing person; most people in Australia are, as well. I don’t think I ever really saw a lot of fights growing up. I think it’s hard to get people in Australia angry and want to fight, minus one or two people in the media…but we won’t say any names. [Laughs.]
O’NEILL: I want to talk to you about “Murda Business.” First of all, I want to say “Stack of hunneds, bunch of fifties” all the daylong; I never want to say “hundred” ever again, strictly “hunned” from now on. Unfortunately, I rarely have the occasion.
AZALEA: [Laughs.] There’s always room for it in your vocabulary, you should shout it at a meeting. [laughs] It’s so funny because my friends and me always say “Murda Business” now. My friend bought a pair of shoes, she text me a picture, and it said: “Murda Business”. We say it how Tip [T.I.] says it, it’s so funny. We just say it for everything now, like it’s some kind of slogan or something. [Laughs.]
O’NEILL: The video is a Toddlers and Tiaras parody—what sparked the idea for that concept?
AZALEA: Watching it, I thought, Here are these moms and toddlers just taking this so seriously, this is the fiercest of competitions I’ve seen in awhile. They’re so flashy and they want crowns, rhinestones, diamonds, and bright outfits. The flashiness and competitiveness reminds me of rap. A lot of people heard “Murda Business” and thought it was about killing people, trying to be tough and hardcore. If you actually listen to the lyrics, it’s kind of silly and playful. It’s about being in the club, being a bad bitch. You have your outfit and you’re like, “You bitches should’ve stayed at home because I’m killin’ it!”—You’re in the murda business! [Laughs.] I don’t think people understood that. With the video, I wanted to have the juxtaposition and have people think, “Why would she put Toddlers & Tiaras in it, what’s the connection? What’s the song actually about?”
O’NEILL: The lyrics do spell it out for you: In the club, my outfit, murda business.
AZALEA: Yeah, exactly! I never said I’m from the hood and I have a gun. It’s not the message I’m trying to say. Sometimes people take art too literally, like, “How can you have all those toddlers in the video?” Even so, would you not say the word “murder” around your children? It’s not like they’ve never heard the word “murder” before. When we filmed, we played the clean version. If you look closely, you’ll never see us mouth any of the bad words, it’s always a shot of something else.
O’NEILL: Glory is a pretty bold word to title your first EP.
AZALEA: I was in this weird place where it felt like everyone was shitting on me, like, “She didn’t get that deal with Interscope. She got dropped! She won’t get another project!” making it so much worse then any of it really was. I felt like they wanted me to fail and I thought, I’m not going to go anywhere. I’m going to get my glory. I’m going to get my shine. So many people in the industry are like, “You can’t really write records.” It’s to prove to myself that I can write songs. It’s not easy to make a song that the whole world relates to, and to do it over and over again. When I got in the studio I realized this is really, really hard. It’s easy to do whatever the hell you want to do but everybody can’t connect to that. I was just trying to find a different way that I could do it with Glory. I don’t know if it’s successful but I did learn a lot about songwriting while I was doing it.
O’NEILL: It’s a growing process, right?
AZALEA: Yeah. People criticize you for trying new things. I think, “I’m new! I’m 22!” I don’t know exactly what my sound is or what I want my album to sound like so I’m not releasing it yet. While I’m experimenting, I’ll let you in on the journey and you can hear it for free.
O’NEILL: What was your first impression of T.I.? The first thing you noticed?
AZALEA: “What kind of face cream do you use? Because you have very good skin.”
O’NEILL: Did you ask him about his skincare regimen?
AZALEA: No, but I said it to my friend in the car. And she said, “I thought the same thing!” [Laughs.] At the time, I felt like I was just floating around in a big ocean. I got picked up and caught by a label [Interscope], and it was very impersonal. It felt like I was a product. When I met him and everybody else over at [Grand Hustle], it felt like I was with real people again. He cared about me as a friend, not just as a check. I want to know that when I make mistakes, I have a label and a family who won’t desert me. I think a lot of people looked at it like, “Why would you do that? It’s Interscope! It’s a giant!” but you also have to be happy in the place that you work. I was in a bunch of studios that cost way too much money and I was getting served warm cookies when I walked in the door. It was too far out of my comfort zone.
O’NEILL: When you hear or read negative comments, or you find yourself in a “beef” with another artist, does it fuel you to go harder?
AZALEA: You know, sometimes I have to catch myself. There are always days where you think, I’m going to show them. It’s like what T.I. always says, ” You can’t let others be motivation to do stuff. You can’t just go because everybody else is going. There’s a time that’s right for you.” When I look at other artists who came up at the same time as me, sometimes I wonder why I’m not [getting the same opportunities]. Everybody’s time doesn’t always occur at the same speed. I try to be more relaxed about it, and go when I feel like it’s the right time to go. It’s not a race.
O’NEILL: Your latest single “Flash” with Mike Posner is a straight-up sex jam. The press often focuses on and sometimes criticizes your sexually explicit lyrics—what’s your take on that?
AZALEA: I think its funny when people say a female rapper is too sexually charged, maybe the way we do it is a little more in your face but that’s because we have to be aggressive and masculine to make it in the industry. If I talk about sex blatantly, when [the mainstream media] says it metaphorically every day, it’s not okay? It’s hypocritical. To me, Britney Spears in a nude rhinestone bodysuit rolling around is just as sexual as me saying “pussy, pussy, pussy” sitting on a doorstep. If I dressed in a bedazzled bodysuit and sung basically the same message but sugared it up a bit, I’m sure people would let their kids watch it, and there would be toddlers in tiaras dressed up in it in the talent competition on TV.
O’NEILL: Your looks are often discussed, as well. Do you think they ever overshadow your music?
AZALEA: Yeah, I do. I guess it’s my fault. I guess I should make better music so it doesn’t overshadow it. [Laughs.]
O’NEILL: [Laughs] I hope you don’t think that’s what I was implying.
AZALEA: No, but that’s what I think. Shit. Maybe that’s what’s more interesting to people, maybe I should work on that. [Laughs.]
O’NEILL: Speaking of appearance, I read that Fran Drescher in The Nanny influences your style. Growing up I always thought she was such a beautiful, stylish lady. I was pleased to find I was not alone in this. [Laughsl]
AZALEA: [laughs] Me too! I feel like she gets so overlooked! I didn’t have cable television growing up; there were only six channels you could watch then. The only really good channel was channel 10, and they would play The Nanny Called Franevery night for years. I’ve seen every episode 100 times. I would get my Grandma to make me leopard skin dresses on her sewing machine. I would go with her to the fabric store, pick out the patterns out of the little bins, pick out the leopard skin fabric, and be like “Please, can you make me this?” [laughs] She would and I’d wear it around the house.
O’NEILL: I dressed as Fran for Halloween one time, sequins and big hair. I also got to live out my Nanny dream.
AZALEA: Oh my god! I don’t know why I’ve never done that for Halloween! I need to get somebody to make me a burgundy two-piece suit with a leopard skin fur collar and cuffs. I’m going to have this Halloween costume and probably will end up wearing it in one of my videos. [laughs]
Sometimes it’s not all about making $$ “GLORY” is free because as she’s said before she wants to give back to her fans. This is her gift to them. Once it comes time to release her actual album, then that’s a different story.
You are hands down the best Iggy blog on tumblr! You're always posting the latest pictures, news, and you're so nice to people unlike other fan pages for other artists. I'm sure Iggy appreciates you and this blog. .
Iggy Azalea has officially been a model for just a month (she signed a contract with Wilhemina Models in mid-June), and she’s already booked herself some time on the runway at the upcoming New York Fashion Week! Between starring in the music videos that have us dancing the hardest this summer, shooting about a zillion magazine spreads, and likely cooking up something amazing with House Of Holland, Iggy’s been on a roll ever since signing the deal, but this latest update has our heads spinning. There’s no word on who she’ll be walking for come September, but we have no doubt that whoever it is, it’s going to be good.
The amazonian blonde has been killing the fashion game like we’ve rarely seen before, and it’s not just because we’re totally jealous of her flawless ponytail. Between her sleek, leopard drenched pants suits, midriff-baring tips and that always-flawless cat eys, Iggy has a unique style that’s equal parts cray and amazing. Last night the rapper tweeted:
We can totally relate to her nerves, we would be worried about the same thing! Having seen Iggy strut around in sky high heels, however, we’re confident that she’s going to do just fine.
Checking In: Iggy Azalea Talks Controlling Her Creative Vision, Saving Cee-Lo And Pusha-T Collaborations For Her Album With Crunk + Disorderly
Iggy Azalea is more than just a pretty face that can spit a verse. She is a business woman, who despite what some might think, is in full control of her creative vision.
Azalea made a name for herself via her mixtape Ignorant Art. After label drama with Interscope records, Azalea signed with Grand Hustle Records in March and has been crafting her debut album.
The 22-year-old Australian rapstress spoke with Crunk + Disorderly about her EP out Monday Glory, her highly anticipated debut album and addresses rumors that her mentor T.I. is taking over her career.
You surprised Azaleans this week by releasing the “Murda Bizness” video. It was very creative because unlike doing the standard in the club video, you brought your fans something unique. Could you describe where the concept from the video came from?
People heard “Murda Bizness” and associated all these negative things with it – killing people, etc – that the song just wasn’t about. I wanted to combat that and showcase the intended song meaning in a light hearted way. “Murda Bizness” is about killing your competition. It’s about when you step out of the house and feel like everyone else should’ve just stayed in bed because you’re killing it! To me, stage moms and their children live in this world filled with flashy dressing and fierce competition, which is what the song is about. So I wanted to base my video around pageants.
Fans are dying to hear your Glory EP where they will see you collaborations with Pusha T and Cee Lo Green. Explain the difference between what fans will hear onGlory EP versus your debut album The New Classic.
I release Glory on Monday, finally! But I’m saving the record with Pusha T and Cee Lo Green for the album because I think its better suited for The New Classic now that I’ve heard it all played together as a project.
The EP is much more traditional in its use of hip-hop drums, etc. It’s not something that I would say is experimental. It doesn’t have crossover appeal in the way that Ignorant Art does, or in the way that The New Classic will. The New Classic samples a lot more and experiments with song structure and sound. The New Classic is a part two to Ignorant Art in its feel and overall sound.
A lot of new artists have found success from being mentored by hip-hop heavyweights – Lil’ Wayne, Jay-Z, Kanye West to T.I. Being with Hustle Gang, how do you maintain your originality as an artist while being part of a faction?
I think people imagine Tiphovering over me and molding all my songs, but it’s not really like that. Most of the time I write and record in L.A.Tip is in Atlanta or away filming a movies so I have all the space I need to create on my own. If I feel like flying out to Atlanta, all I have to do is let him know. He will get me down there and we sit in the studio and go over what I’ve been working on. He never makes me do anything. All he does is suggest as a friend and it’s up to me what I’d like to take on board creatively.
One of our readers had a common question that many of your fans asked involving your creative control on your album. You said in an interview that you and T.I. are both executive producing The New Classic. Should fans be worried about your creative voice being overshadowed?
I think that’s a valid thing for fans to be worried about, but I’m the leader of my team. Someone has to produce the record. I am not not a producer. Why not Tip? I have my own vision and I think anyone who comes into contact with me in a work environment learns pretty quickly that I control the direction. Fans should worry about label censorship – not T.I.being a producer.
It has been almost a year since you released Ignorant Art. How would you compare the Iggy Azalea then to now as a person and an artist. Has much changed?
I hate to say this, but I do feel a lot more cautious now and guarded. In the last year, I feel like I’ve been misrepresented and burned in the media. That part of me has changed and now I think twice before i say anything to anyone or trust people’s intentions. But on a positive note, I traveled around the world and country and meet thousands of amazing people that have touched me and made all the bad things worth it. It’s been a roller coaster ride, but I am grateful.
What is your favorite part of the creative process: songwriting, recording, producing or performing your music live?
I love to create music videos. I love sitting in with the editor, thinking of the idea and seeing it from start to finish. That is my favorite thing because it’s like seeing a song come to life.
Your sound tends to shift between electronic to pure hip-hop. How do you find the perfect mixture between the two sounds and which do you prefer?
I think it’s hard to have a formula. You just put it in the blender and some days it’s shit. Other day it’s magic, trial and error. I like both sounds and I’ll keep making both. I like the fun of electronic music. I like the fans and festival culture. I enjoy making those records because you can say silly things and people don’t rip you to pieces for it. It’s party music.
At the same time I love rap and will always want to make records where I can practice my skills and tell stories.
Your freestyle videos and tracks like “Pu$$y” and “My World” really got the blogs and the Internet talking about you and those music videos went viral very quickly. You are also a force on social networking sites like Twitter. As an artist in 2012, how important is social media and staying connected to your fans and what the masses are talking about?
I think it’s important to know what’s going on around you, but I don’t think that means you have to soak everything up. See all that you can and take in the things that you feel are worthy of being retained.
“Million Dollar Misfits” was released in late June and it is definitely a commonly played song on my iPod. How is it working with B.o.B and is there talks of giving the song the proper single treatment with a music video?
I would love to do a video to that song. I really enjoy working with B.o.B. He’s one of the nicest people I know. We have four other songs together that are great too so I may use a new song and film a video to it as well. I will be opening for B.o.B. this summer for select dates during his tour so perhaps we can film something while we are on the road together. I think that’d be cool.
Rumors are you’ve worked with Trey Songz on The New Classic. Is this true and if so, what was that collaboration like working with Trey?
I have worked with him on some stuff. I actually send a lot of records back and forth with him, but we’ve haven’t picked which song will end up on my album. Every time I write something I think his voice would be great on I send it his way.
You are also signed with Wilhelmina Models. Wondering how that fits into the Iggy Azalea brand?
I like to align myself with fashion and this is just another way that I can learn about that and be involved in another industry. It’s a welcomed break. I like doing shoots and getting to play a different character. Being someone else for a day is a welcomed break at times. It’s fun.
TYGA ANNOUNCES ‘CLOSER TO MY DREAMS’ TOUR WITH IGGY AZALEA, CA$H OUT
Tyga is bringing back his “Closer to My Dreams” tour for the second year in a row. Fresh off his “Careless World” tour, the Young Money rapper will be joined by some fresh faces on the road this September.
The 15-date trek kicks off September 4 in Los Angeles, stopping in Houston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Philadelphia, before wrapping in Boston on September 23.
Iggy Azalea, Ca$h Out, Kirko Bangz, and Sterling Simms will serve as supporting acts in select markets.
Tickets go on sale July 27 at Ticketmaster. See an itinerary below.
MTV Jams Presents “Closer to My Dreams” Tour
September 4 – Los Angeles, CA – Club Nokia September 7 – Corpus Christi, TX – Concrete Street Amphitheatre September 8 – Houston, TX – Bayou Music Center September 9 – Dallas, TX – Palladium Ballroom September 11 – Fargo, ND – The Venue September 12 – Milwaukee, WI – Eagles Ballroom September 13 – Des Moines, IA – Val Air Ballroom September 14 – Minneapolis, MN – Epic September 16 – Chicago, IL – Congress Theatre September 17 – Detroit, MI Detroit – The Fillmore September 18 – Columbus, OH – LC Pavilion September 19 – Washington DC – The Fillmore September 20 – New York, NY – Best Buy Theatre September 21 – Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory September 23 – Boston, MA – House of Blues
What are your thoughts on the Iggy and Azealia Banks beef?
I normally don’t like to get into shit like this but ….
1. Iggy had no ‘beef” with Azealia. She made that clear in a recent interview, how she had no problem with her, Banks was the one with the problem.
2. I honestly feel it’s stupid. I feel like nowadays it’s so hard for some women to be happy for the next who’s on the come up. They’re both women who obviously want the same thing, and like Iggy said the people make it seem like there can only be one dominant female rapper in the game which is far from the truth. I personally feel like female rappers should embrace each other, because compared to male rappers there clearly isn’t alot of them out there. But it doesn’t seem like that’s gonna happen anytime soon so ……
Ok so it seems alot of you are confused about the concept of the "Murda Bizness" video. I’ll explain. According to Iggy, Murda Bizness to her means : "Being dressed to kill" So with that being said, she chose the "Toddlers and Tiara’s" theme because, beauty pageants are obviously a fierce competition. Alot of you took the title of the song so literal, that’s why you’re not understanding why she chose to do a video like this. So now after knowing her thought process of the song, re-watch it, maybe now it’ll all make sense ;)