Musical Heroes: Iggy Azalea

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Queen Iggy

Sometimes you gonna think that it’s too much on ya/But think, “What I’d be doing if this wasn’t going on?”/So I just keep pushing when I’m being pulled in every direction.” These lesser-known lyrics from an album track of Iggy’s are my favourite, though it was a very tough choice. Whenever university work gets on top of me and I start panicking that I’m not going to graduate, I remember these lyrics and the importance of persistence; having the tenacity to keep going, no matter what.

I personally struggle with depression and anxiety, and although I’m sure that’s not what she had in mind when she wrote ‘Don’t Need Y’all’, I feel like she is speaking to me, about my struggles. And isn’t that the beauty of music – the interpretive qualities? That it means something to you and keeps you going. Being able to relate to a song so strongly it could have been written for, or even by, you. That’s the feeling I get whenever I hear any Iggy song, including her upbeat party tunes, because I feel her deeper songs so acutely, it means I appreciate the fun ones even more. I don’t know if she has personally experienced depression, but she knows what it is to struggle and keep going when it feels like the world is against you, and her back catalogue up to now totally demonstrates this in its entirety. Sometimes you’re up, accompanied with songs like ‘Bounce’ and ‘Iggy SZN’, and sometimes you’re down, and will need to hear ‘Walk the Line’ instead. That’s what life is and it’s how Iggy tells it. She knows life is a struggle, and so writes what she knows – rule number one for any writer. It just so happens, thanks to the interpretation of her lyrics through her delivery and performance, that these songs depict feelings, emotions and experiences we can all relate to.

A quick Google search should tell you all you think you know about my role model for life – butt implants, rumours of further cosmetic surgeries complete with before and after shots, her label dropping her (actually, she dropped them, which she addresses in ‘Glory’), break ups, leaving her native Australia to pursue her dream of being a rapper. Thanks to this oft-repeated (and thus, tired) trajectory and the controversy surrounding her changing shape, it would be easy to write her off – as many already undoubtedly have – as just another vain celebrity, embroiled in scandal. But her attitude and lyrics attest to her strength of character and determined, dogged dignity throughout the media circus which is her life.

On top of her song writing talent and ear for an addictive hook, you may call Ms. Amethyst Amelia Kelly many things, but a quitter she ain’t – and whatever you do call her, I can guarantee she won’t give a shit. This along with her presence, lyrics, confidence, and perseverance, is what I find most inspiring. Thanks to the release of ‘Fancy’ hitting the number 1 spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and her collaboration with Ariana Grande (‘Problem’, becoming number 2 in the same chart in the same week) she holds a record that only one other artist can make claim to. Who might that be? The Beatles. That’s right, The motherfucking Beatles. Her success encourages and inspires, the fact that she does so in a male-dominated industry through rap (a genre not exactly known for its lack of misogyny) makes these chart achievements all the more impressive. Whether you like her or loathe her (I feel she divides people, much like Marmite), it’s an amazing step in the right direction for females everywhere.

As a white female artist striking out on her own in a black and almost exclusively male industry, Iggy was the first female artist to be granted a much sought-after spot on the XXL Freshmen List and featured on the cover – this just further cements her status as an idol and trailblazer. Her bravery and insistence to truly follow her dreams is epitomised in the unusually touching ‘Impossible Is Nothing’. This strength of mind is nothing short of heroic, establishing her position as the poster girl for the phrase ‘hard graft pays dividends’.

You may see her as superficial but warning, if so, you’re only skimming the surface. Being a beautiful woman, scantily clad, just like every other over-sexualised image of femininity in our society, you may think that she is part of the problem, rather than the solution. The opposite is true. She worked hard to get to the top, and now that she’s reached it, there is a serious lack of competition, which she resents – “My prayers for you is that you hit all them goals you trynna reach/I even hope at one point you take it farther then me.” Basically, she hopes females everywhere can be inspired to reach their goals and start giving her some competition. Her assertive delivery renders her message authentic and not cheesy at all, despite its inspirational appeal. It is genuine, hard, real, gritty – you know she means every statement she puts her name to.

She radiates strength, but she’s also not afraid to admit to vulnerability, as showcased on ‘Rolex’, which documents her breakup with her ex-boyfriend, the producer A$AP Rocky: “I got you tatted/ You took off before the ink dried on my hand”. Admitting this only works to widen her appeal, demonstrating her capacity for pain and lack of shame in sharing that experience with the world.

Azalea’s backstory and true determination for the pursuance of her dreams – which is captured in the brutal reality of her lyrics – marks her out as something, and someone. As she puts it best, “And what I do can’t be compared/You well-done, and bitch, I’m rare.” “You used to dealing with basic bitches/Basic shit, all the time/I’m a new classic.”

You better accept her, because she’s not going anywhere.

[Alice Crook]

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