Once a chart darling and on the cusp of mainstream domination, she became the subject of a backlash that was so rapid that the exact reason for its existence was almost impossible to pin down.
The truth arguably sits somewhere between the social climate, questions over authenticity, and mistakes Azalea herself made on her ascend.
Uniquely, she’s well aware of each of these aspects and addresses them head-on in a rivetting new interview with Paper magazine.
In the tell-all, the 25-year-old waxes honest about her journey, her missteps, and her upcoming album (which she says has a more back to basics feel and features production from Pharrell).
Iggy On Label Drama Before She Hit It Big [Picking A Label Only To Be Let Go]
“That was a Jimmy [Iovine] situation and it had a lot to do with Azealia Banks. They wanted to sign her and it became a conflict of interest. Once that happened, everyone wondered why I wasn’t signed, why Jimmy didn’t want it, and it brought into question my worth as an artist. No one wanted to ****ing touch me at all. I couldn’t get a deal anywhere after that. Before this I could’ve asked for a ****ing elephant, a Ferrari, four monkeys, and a million dollars — after there was nothing. People wondered, What was wrong with Iggy Azalea? That’s how it works with these things. I was done.
Iggy On ‘Fancy’ & Her Struggles To Deal With Its Impact (Being Commercially Compared To Michael Jackson & The Beatles):
“It was very strange. I never said I was the queen of rap, I’ve never even thought that. I truly think it was like a great white hope, similar to the film Rocky. All of these people were championing me and branding me these things because of their own projections and not only were they outlandish, they were all incredibly premature. I had just started and there was this influx of, “Queen of rap! Queen of the world! Best record ever! Song of the century!” And so everyone starts saying, “No she’s not, **** her! She has some ****ing nerve!” And all of those are things I never said.”
Iggy On Being Nominated For Grammys:
“I remember sitting at the Grammy’s praying to God I didn’t win, literally crossing my fingers, hoping there was no media frenzy. I didn’t ask to be nominated. I don’t even think I deserved nominations. People were so frustrated with those headlines and all those articles became attached to me personally. People assumed that’s how I saw myself, or how I thought of my music. It’s never been that. There was this element of trying to humble me, a moment where it seemed like, “Oh this bitch thinks she’s this? We’re gonna ****ing show her that she ain’t ****.”
Iggy On How She Dealt With The Backlash
“I wish that I would’ve handled criticism better in the beginning. I knew I was polarizing. I aim to be polarizing, sometimes too polarizing where I’ve pushed the limit too far. When I first got here, there was so much I thought I understood that I really didn’t. I’ve really had to learn a lot of things by being here and having friends and seeing things play out in real life. Especially in the last few years in culture and how far conversations have come, I look back and cringe.”
“Things like the Kendrick lyric, something I profusely apologized for and have learned from. That wasn’t okay. It was insanely ignorant. That wasn’t an experience to toy with. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way, specifically with that line, like ****, I hate that I said it. There was so much criticism that came with “Fancy” and I wish I would’ve handled it better, but it felt very thick.
Everything was coming from every angle. My success. Being worn out. Having lawsuits. I had five different court cases and all of that factored into my responses. It was hard to decipher what criticism was valid and what criticism was just hate.
Even with Azealia, we’ve since spoken and in retrospect, I’m sorry that I trivialized the way she felt about her experience as a black woman navigating the music industry. She and I have our own history and beef about other ****, but when she went on the radio and spoke there was validity to it. Those were her experiences that many others could relate to and I can’t take those away, but at the time I thought it was her saying ‘**** you’ and trying to hate on me.
Iggy On Drama With Former Label:
“They couldn’t understand it unless it fit into a radio format, but I knew I would never have success again unless I connected with my original fans. That’s what I knew I needed for me to have authenticity and for me to feel passionate. Not only that but for me to just endure life. Everything was falling apart and I need to love the music I’m making and truly believe in it. When I delivered the album, they wanted to know where the radio hits were. All they wanted to create were songs like “Switch.” And those songs are great, but pop records don’t work without a foundation. Those big songs are supposed to be cherries on top, not just a roof with no house. Pop records are like Skittles, they taste really good but if you eat too many you’ll feel sick. They’re not a creative meal. Here I am at the darkest period of my life, contemplating suicide, and I’m singing “Switch.”
Iggy On New Album ‘Surviving The Summer’:
“Releasing “Savior” [as lead single] was incredibly therapeutic for me. It felt good to have a record where I can talk about depression, and just let down all my cards. It’s completely different from a lot of the other tracks which are heavily rap.
I’m working with Detail. I’m working with Pharrell. There’s still going to be those unexpected Diplo elements like my early mixtapes. I’m really taking it back to that place. I started with Digital Distortion, but that was really aggressive and angry. I’m not in that place anymore. I’m happy. I know my fans want me to rap and I want to give them that. I want to give them the hard **** that they love, the **** that’s different, that moves the needle. I hope people will support it.” [Source]
A great, great read.
Iggy seems to have a self-awareness that eludes so many of her peers.
This, paired with the reality that she’s still churning out bops, has us rooting for her to sees some semblance of success again.