Iggy Azalea - The New Classic Review
Posted by Tony Acero on 04.23.2014
Iggy Azalea has gone out of her way in the past couple of years to prove to herself and the hip hop world that she is more than just someone from Down Under with a lot down under. Does her debut album The New Classic erase the hate or leave more doubt in peoples' minds? Check in with Tony Acero's full review!
1.Walk The Line
2. Don’t Need Y’all
3. 100 f. Watch The Duck
4. Change Your Life f. T.I.
5. Fancy f. Charli XCX
6. New Bitch
8. Impossible Is Nothing
10. Black Widow f. Rita Ora
11. Lady Patra f. Mavado
12. Fuck Love DELUXE EDITION
15. Just Askin'
Iggy Azalea has gone out of her way in the past couple of years to prove to herself and the hip hop world that she is more than just someone from Down Under with a lot down under. I remember the day the song “Pussy” was dropped on my radar and immediately, I was entranced on this girl whose skills were more than present, but content was lacking substance. With the backing of T.I., she dropped her mixtape Glory and continued to enhance her skills as an MC and really put a unique stamp on the idea of a female rap artist. With her debut album The New Classic, does she continue that trend, or become a flash in the pan that is more looks than rapper?
The first track of the album, “Walk the Line,” does just what it’s supposed to do, and sets the stage for an Iggy that is all too familiar yet a proper introduction to any new listeners. It’s hard for a white person alone to make it in the hip hop world, but a white woman brings forth a whole new string of issues in a heavily misogynistic arena. Iggy is quick to dispel the stigma that comes with lyrics like, “I been counted out, I been stepped on/I was wide awake, and got slept on/I had everything and then I lost it/Worked my ass off, I'm exhausted/All this talking about me, just talk about me/I'm here now, they can't walk around me.” Not profound by any means, but it’s the epitome of what The New Classic is for the most part. Taking a title directly from one of the most manly men, Johnny Cash, Iggy isn’t afraid to boast.
Speaking of boasting, her second track is a slower one that helps bring the forefront of Iggy and where she “came from” from her perspective. It almost screams for Drake’s crooning ass to be on the chorus, but thankfully she stays away from that. In fact, when there is a guest star on a track, it’s simply that – a guest – making this album strictly Iggy, an attribute that isn’t as common as one would think for a debut album. With this, however, there’s a definite sound that one hears once Iggy is on the mic, and it takes a while to get used to. If you’re listening with an experienced ear, you’ll most likely be looking for the Australian/Welsh accent that this girl is most likely supposed to have, and will either be surprised or annoyed at the heavy “rap sound” she gives off, coming off as artificial as Rick Ross’s persona. It brings about the questioning of how serious we are supposed to take her if she’s willing to alter her voice to the point of fitting “the game.” I can’t fault her, however, because it works for the most part. It is obviously T.I. inspired, and being a fan of T.I., there is an immediate draw towards the “southern drawl” that Iggy is attempting (and succeeding) at making her own.
The track “Fancy” is one that screams single, with the Gwen Stefani-lite Charli XCX on the side, and it’s not a bad song – just a bit more of the same, which is the staple of the album. Iggy truly only deviates from this particular brand of rap on the second half where she spreads her wings a bit more with some success. “Black Widow” with Rita Ora is a lady’s anthem that isn’t overbearing and requires a head nod for sure. “Just Askin’” is leaning into “Starship” territory, and that’s not a compliment, but at least it’s an attempt to be different.
The album isn’t perfect, and unfortunately, far from a classic; new or old. Iggy’s flow is impeccable and impressive. She has a firm grasp on what she has to say and how she says it, it’s just a matter of who wants to listen. The album’s strong point is also its failure in an ironic twist. Simply put, every song is some sort of “Started From the Bottom” ode, and only shines when she strays away from that. After all, one can only take so many attempts at listening to a success story before it becomes old hat. Iggy has a skill that is rare, yet she makes it seem uninspired after harping on the same things instead of doing something just a bit deeper. If she's looking for a party anthem with a few female anthems, she’s on the right track, but if she wants to be taken as seriously as she claims to want to be in numerous interviews, then she’s missing a key item – life experience. Once she has that, she’ll be something different.
If you’re looking for a spotlight, look no further than the production, which balances hip hop with a pop-like sound that never leans too much towards the pop genre. There’s a giddiness to it along with a grittiness to it. The production seems much more mature than the rapper who is lacing lyrics over it. But again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the long run, just in terms of an album and where it stands. Iggy has plenty of potential for growth, and that’s much more to say than most other female MCs out there. I’d go so far as to say that the second album she releases will be her rise or fall moreso than this one ever will be.
The 411: In a time when women empowerment is headed by the Beyonce’s of the world, the bling bling queen scream is more an ode to an image than an actual entity that could withstand the test of time, making the title of “classic” a bit of an over reach. Still, this album – and Iggy for that matter – is everything Nicki Minaj should have been. Essentially, there is potential here for someone stronger than that of her debut. The strength is in the lyricism, not necessarily the lyrics.