The State of Hip Hop: Iggy Azalea and the Authenticity Principle

Posted: July 21, 2014 in General, The State of Hip Hop
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



The Story

Ironically, I had heard the song but hadn’t paid much attention to Iggt Azalea. From listening to the song I expected it and the creator to fade into Rap oblivion too quickly to be worth the research. However, a few weekends ago I got into a discussion with a dude in my neighborhood, who is and indie rapper, and he says to me that Iggy Azalea is coming for Nicki Minaj’s spot. I bust out laughing and said “she can’t possibly. I don’t even know who the fuck that is.” He acts appalled and we rush over to my laptop and he pulls her up on YouTube. I can’t remember the first song he played but 30 seconds in I grabbed my drink and walked back to other side of the room. He stares waiting for my response and I ask “You like this shit??” He then adds that T.I. Is backing her (as if that means anything). I responded by saying “well shame on T.I.”

Keeping It Real

One of the major principles in Hip Hop is keeping it real. Hip Hop is a culture that was birthed from rebellion of inner city youth who were tired of being disregarded and lied to. Those youth challenged the society in which they lived and that status quo that oppressed them. Because of those forerunners Hip Hop has a legacy in truth telling that includes all aspects of life. If someone calls themselves a part of Hip Hop and gets caught fronting, it’s a serious offense.

On her single “Fancy,” Iggy Azalea raps “First things first. I’m the realest.” One does not simply make a statement like this and not expect to be investigated. But to add to the call for question is a line from Iggy’s song “D.R.U.G.S.” In which Iggy says “When the relay starts. I’m a runaway slave master.” Female rapper Azealia Banks took issue with the line tweeting:

I’m not anti white girl, but I’m also not here for any1 outside my culture trying to trivialize very serious aspects of it.
– Azealia Banks

Regardless of how Hip Hop Iggy may consider herself slavery pins from a White person is not only distasteful but appalling. Such carelessness makes one question how authentically Hip Hop she can be if she cannot understand and respect the deep connection between Hip Hop and Black culture that make such a reference more offensive than witty. The final stroke that most definitely brings Iggy to the chopping block of Hip Hop authenticity is the media hype that she is a contender for Nicki Minaj’s spot.

Iggy and Nicki

For the past few years Nicki Minaj has been the major mainstream representation for female rappers. That is not to say she has been the only female rapper making music, but she has one of the few to see large mainstream success and celebrity. When Nicki first hit the mainstream there were many comparisons between her and Lil Kim. The public discussion and fans and Hip Hop heads taking sides pitted the two against one another. The end result was a few studio disses and terse interview statements. However the two have now settled into their respective spaces and have their individual fan followings.iggy-azalea-nicki-minaj-mercy-remix-507x397

Enter Iggy Azalea. With her single “Fancy,” media attention, and the backing of T.I. (a respected established rapper) Iggy Azalea is beginning to contend with Nicki Minaj in terms of publicity and attention. The major concerns with Iggy are that she’s an Australian White girl who sounds Black. Her persona and the content of her material has left many Hip Hop heads questioning her authenticity, which is serious in the world of Hip Hop. Nicki Minaj recently made an offhanded reference to the fact that despite the popularity of “Fancy” and Iggy’s self proclaimed realness, she doesn’t have a writing credit on the song. Rumors have swarmed that it is possible that T.I. Is writing for her. THAT would be the nail in the coffin that would bury Iggy in the Hip Hop graveyard for posers.

The Point

The media favors Iggy – for some reason – and continue to defend her place as the new Nicki; however, the Hip Hop community who is and will always be the final jury still has their doubts. Personally, I can’t willingly sit through a whole song and when the visual is added I’m more repulsed than intrigued. Iggy Azalea may sell records and gain media attention but from the evidence I’ve seen she is little more than a gimmick for T.I. to make money.

I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,

An Angry Black Man

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nikki Minaj is neither black nor American. Pot, meet kettle

  2. Caleb Gee says:

    I cringe every time I hear the middle of that Iggy song where she goes into a bridge rapping (if you wanna call it that) something like, “Who dat who dat on the who dat who dat..” She’s worse than a parody!

  3. snsnightlifemagazine says:

    some straight bullshit, meet the angriest black woman #salute

  4. kola says:

    A: hip-hop isn’t about authenitcity, not anymore anyway. Drake’s a former child actor, yet he makes songs like Worst Behavior and spits about gangbanging on occasion. Rick Ross was a corrections officer, but from his music you’d guess he was a fat black Tony Montana. Eminem (and I’m not even gonna discuss the white part because he’s too far above that) sure as hell as wasn’t a serial killer/rapist/domestic abuser, yet he’s a legend. all that matters is if the music is good or not. if you can get both (i.e. Kendrick’s stuff) then all the better, but if you believe in authenticity then there are a lot of equally fake black rappers you should be discussing

    B: nicki and iggy are about the same level talent-wise, and no that’s not a compliment to Iggy

    C: the slave master thing was bad but c’mon man that’s soft

    • DesiBjorn says:

      A. Yes Hip Hop is about authenticity please remember there’s more to the culture than just rap music so quote all the “fake rappers” you want that’s not going to change the fundamentals of the culture. That’s like saying the economy ain’t about money cause so many people aren’t making any. And read up I have discussed several times and am writing another on the ongoing disparity between rappers lives and their musical content. It doesn’t make them fake because everyone who grew up around gangbanging and drug selling didn’t have to do it to know how it affects a person and/or a whole community. So if you think they’re fake that’s just your opinion cause nothing you stated serves as valid evidence for that claim.

      B. Nicki and Iggy are not the same level talent wise if one is writing her own music and the other is not…writing is a talent and an important one for a rapper.

      C. There’s nothing soft about being offended by the tasteless use of an entire people’s degradation just to make a rhyme. It’s that kind of apathy that has relegated the Black community to the level of disenfranchisement that we endure. Furthermore, my point was that it’s indicative of her lack of connection to the culture…so come again yo and bring substance on the next round.

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