mon 24/07/2017

CD: Iggy Azalea - The New Classic | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Iggy Azalea - The New Classic

CD: Iggy Azalea - The New Classic

Aussie rapper writes her origin story on long-awaited debut

It’s clear that the draw is intended to be the persona that the rapper has crafted
Maybe not a New Classic, but Iggy Azalea's debut is at least pretty decent

She may only be 23, but Iggy Azalea got off to a good start with those of us a good decade older last month when the video accompanying her single “Fancy” - an homage to 90s teen comedy Clueless  - debuted online. Nostalgia sells, of course: any idiot with access to the nightwear department at Primark, where right now pyjamas featuring Alicia Silverstone and the rest share shelf space with My Little Pony, could tell you that. But fans of the film will know that its imagery, if not its heart, is the perfect accompaniment to the stylish swagger the Australian rapper brings to the verses, while Charli XCX’s cheerleader-esque hook wouldn’t sound out of place in any post-teenager decade.

Besides, if you’re going to give your long-awaited debut as vainglorious a title as The New Classic you can be forgiven the odd reinterpretation - especially since, for the most part, its 12 tracks are pure Iggy. That she was raised Amethyst Kelly in Mullumbimby, New South Wales before emigrating to the US to go it alone and graft her way to rap stardom at the age of 16 is already mythology thanks to her breakthrough hit “Work”; and with album tracks like “Don’t Need Y’all”, “Change Your Life” and “Impossible is Nothing” to fill in the blanks it’s clear that the draw is intended to be the persona that the rapper has crafted.

Sonically, the album is at its weakest when Azalea sings - it’s not that there’s anything wrong with her voice, but since it lacks the same ballsiness she brings to her rhymes the at times too perfect production takes the immediate edge off powerful tracks like “Change Your Life”. Sensibly, then, despite hints to the contrary in the tracklisting, the hooks get handed off to the likes of Rita Ora, TI and the aforementioned Charli XCX. Those big songs make no secret of their play for the pop charts (the Rita Ora-featuring “Black Widow”, co-written with Katy Perry, recycles enough of the latter’s “Dark Horse” that it sounds as if it has been there already), but it’s the sparse, dark beat behind the verse of “Impossible Is Nothing” and the breathless powerplay of the Boney M-sampling (seriously) “Goddess” that are the moments worth savouring.

Overleaf: watch the Clueless-aping "Fancy" video


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