I spent last year avoiding Iggy Azalea. She was a walking controversy, a hot topic that burned for an entire year and talking about her felt like stepping on a glob of gum, a momentary feeling of annoyance over something completely unavoidable. Her every tweet incited riots on the internet and fueled major publication thought pieces over every bicker and feud. Completely apart from the music she had multiple spats with Azealia Banks, went to war against Snoop, went back and forth with Q-Tip, arguing with trolls in her mentions, even ethered Papa John, and every word inspired another article and more discussions. Now in 2015, I’ve seen her name less and less, and a recent major tour cancellation has to be cause for concern in Iggy's camp. Could her controversial career already be fading away?
While Iggy's name spends a lot of time on rap blogs and in hip-hop discussions, we really aren’t her audience. Her fan base isn’t the hardcore hip-hop crowd but suburban teenagers and women in their early twenties, fans of pop-rap music and Ariana Grande. Iggy has the kind of image that moms will tolerate but with enough moxie to be a model of edge and swagger to their pre-teens. The industry discovered a model with a passion to rap and gave her a record deal, provided her with a popular sound yet wasn’t able to shield her from people reacting to an Australian wearing the mask of a southern, trap debutante. She was able to achieve Top 40 spots between One Direction and Justin Bieber, but the closer she got to hip-hop the more hip-hop fans were upset by the posing. And while her pop fanbase is strong, that demographic can also be quick to move on to the next artist sprinkled with a bit of starpower. In 2015 Iggy resembles a plant without water, without sun, slowly withering away.
Iggy's biggest problem is that she built a career on artifical inflation, not the strongest foundations when pursing longevity. The runaway success of "Fancy" was a systematic achievement, successful thanks to Clear Channel’s On The Verge program, which demanded stations play the record, and a career already based on radio singles was evident when her major label debut New Classic moved 52,000 copies, less than the independent underground rapper Joey Bada$$. The media continued to keep her relevant though, her words and mere existance opening up the discussion on cultural appropriation. We can live in those controversial moments when things tend to look bigger than they truly are. We amplify, maximize, and enlarge what should remain tiny and insignificant. Even the think-piecers have moved on, increasingly relegating Iggy to be nothing more than a glob of gum, our 2014 Mims.
Remember Mims? He had 15 minutes and not a second more, but inspired panic around the supposed death of hip-hop and arrival of ringtone rap. Remember Soulja Boy? Hip-hop was in an uproar over the kid that wrote his name on his sunglasses and danced like a superhero. He was supposed to bring the end of hip-hop as well, the same for the Shop Boyz. Remember Kreayshawn? When the rumor got around that Sony gave her 1.5 million, the internet thought we were living in the last days. Hip-hop and music history at large is filled with artists that find themselves suddenly in the spotlight, cause a bit of chaos and then disappear without a trace, fated to only being heard from again when VH1 decides to use them for reality television. Quick stardom doesn’t guarantee a lasting career, but we continue to make these temporary stars into premonitions that the world is ending. Only time will tell who lasts and until she proves otherwise, Iggy's still a one, maybe two, hit wonder trying to keep the hands on the clock moving.
It’s premature to assume that Iggy’s career is over, but she’s starting to show signs of drowning in this merciless business. She hasn’t touched the road since October and unless Clear Channel will be assisting her next hit she doesn't show any signs of recreating the magic of "Fancy." She has a declining following of supporters and is still dealing with another group of people chasing her with torches and pitchforks. I don’t see a world where hip-hop truly embraces Iggy Azalea, no amount of co-signs or accolades will change people’s perception of her as a rap caricature. She has to reinvent, or live out her musical endeavors overseas. Forget rap, she could achieve success and make money as an EDM-popstar that awkwardly twerks on stage. I call it the Cyrus.
Iggy had a moment, some very real and very huge success, she has the big backing, but she isn’t above disappearing into the same abyss that's swallowed so many aritsts before her. Only time will tell where she will end up in history, but regardless, it’s unlikely that I will care much. I’ve done a great job avoiding her existence so far, stepping over that gum on the sidewalk is becoming easier as I get older.
[By Yoh, aka Iggy Yohzalea, aka @Yoh31]