In 2014 you couldn't turn around on the internet without encountering a new Iggy Azalea headline. Like Macklemore the year before, she catapulted out of relative obscurity (thank in large part to a very real mainstream radio conspiracy) to the top of the charts and accordingly became the focus of both intense popularity and criticism.
And then, suddenly, in 2015 she almost completely disappeared from the musical map. Her only new music the entire year was a Tinashe remix, and then she cancelled her Great Escape tour saying she simply needed a break, although rumors of low ticket sales circulated. But in a new interview with the magazine Schon, she reveals that she needed much more than a break. In fact, she claims to have had a psychotic breakdown triggered by the media's treatment of her.
"I had to have a psychotic breakdown last year. I felt tired and stressed out...Last year, I felt like I was definitely not in control of the media’s narrative of me. It made me feel very out of control of my own life or my ability to have my own perception of who I was. You don’t want someone else writing your narrative and making you the villain.”
I'm of two minds here. On the one hand, it's easy to forget that behind the think pieces and the memes is an actual person, and while Iggy certainly deserved to be criticized, especially for how tone deaf she was around racial issues, I don't want to see anyone personally destroyed. A psychotic breakdown is a terrible thing no matter how famous you are. And yes, while DJBooth may not report on every single Twitter beef Iggy has, mostly because then I'd hate my life, there's no doubt that the media, and the internet at large, can have a mob mentality that can suffocate their targets.
At the same time, it feels like Iggy's blaming the gun after shooting herself in the foot. No one made her engage in Twitter fights with celebrities, no one forced her to be so dismissive of legitimate concerns she was gentrifying hip-hop, the media didn't just release a painfully bad track like "Azillion."
Later in the interview Iggy says she's ready to come back and that her energy’s been renewed. If that energy is the same energy we saw in 2014 than I won't have any problem with continuing to criticize her. But if she can indeed find a way to reinvent herself, to put away all the facades and simply be her true self, there is a place for her in hip-hop, as there is for anyone who's real.
Internet or in real life, media or no media, it's all up to her.