Dec 7, 2014

Iggy Azalea’s strange year: What her latest Twitter feud reveals about the character she’s created

All year, the bizarre collection of affected mannerisms that is Iggy Azalea has been slowly gaining in momentum—first dropping the single “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX, that became the song of the summer, sort of, as well as contributing rhymes to Ariana Grande’s “Problem” and teaming up with Rita Ora on “Black Widow.” Her fame has come hand-in-hand with notoriety; rumors fly that Azalea does not write her own lyrics, her live performances have been less than dazzling, and last but not least, her entire career seems to be built on shameless cultural appropriation.

Azalea, born Amethyst Amelia Kelly, is a white blonde girl from Australia, who illegally immigrated to America at 16 and worked as a hotel maid while trying to establish a music career for herself. The pathway she found was rap—and not just any rap, but as Brittany Cooper explains, Southern, ATL-style hip-hop. While black female rappers are marginalized or ignored, Azalea’s image has proved to be lucrative, and that has nothing to do with her talent. As numerous critics have observed, including Chris Molanphy at Slate and Molly Lambert at Grantland, Azalea is a mediocre artist using the toehold of her novelty for success. (This is what her voice actually sounds like, by the way; even her off-air persona is a carefully pruned minstrel show.)

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