Iggy Azalea’s The New Classic: What You Need To Know
What’s the background?
Since bursting onto the scene in 2011 when the video for her controversial song ‘Pu$$y’ went viral, Iggy Azalea has been making some considerable waves in the hip hop world. In the two and a half years that have elapsed since then, the Australian rapper with the distinctly un-Caucasian derriere has released two mixtapes, 2011’s acclaimed Ignorant Art and 2012’s TrapGold, as well as an EP entitled Glory. In addition to that she’s appeared as a guest on tracks by a pretty broad range of artists including Deadmau5, Sean Paul and Katy B, but only now is she finally releasing her first proper studio album on a big label, with The New Classic finally due to hit the shelves next week after a series of delays. So why all the hold-ups?
Well, in a tale that has many parallels with M.I.A.’s most recent album, Matangi, Azalea had reportedly been involved in a series of wrangles with Interscope Records, who were due to release the album last year before a disagreement over the Aussie’s management deal with rapper T.I.’s Grand Hustle Records imprint eventually saw them part ways. Instead, she signed to Island Def Jam and now it’s all systems go.
Who’s producing it?
The production roster includes trapsteppers Watch The Duck, Canadian production duo The Messengers, Norwegian songwriting team StarGate and Virginia-born producer Benny Blanco, among others.
Any special guests?
Recent single ‘Fancy’ features vocals from Charli XCX, while the aforementioned T.I. puts in a guest appearance on the Messengers-produced ‘Change Your Life’. Elsewhere there is an appearance from Rita Ora – who Azalea has been touring with – on ‘Black Widow’, with the final guest slot being filled by Mavado, fresh from his recent appearance on the latest Rick Ross album, Mastermind.
What are the standout tracks?
‘Fancy’ is undoubtedly one of the album’s highlights, featuring a big fat Juno-like synth bassline and Charli XCX’s soulful chorus hook complemented by Iggy’s lyrics: “First things first, I’m the realest / Drop this and let the whole world feel it / And I’m still in the murder business / I can hold you down like I’m giving lessons in physics”. Other standouts include ‘Black Widow’, a co-write with Rita Ora and Katy Perry that is rumoured to be slated as the next single, and ‘Impossible is Nothing’ with its twinkling but slightly spooky backing track.
Does it deliver?
Long waits for albums can lead to a heightened sense of anticipation, the drawback being that this can, in turn, lead to a sense of disappointment. Luckily, The New Classic has benefited from the extra time taken to complete and release it, and it is accomplished enough that it doesn’t really sound like a debut at all. In a way, it isn’t – if you count the mixtapes you could call this album no.3 – but Iggy has taken the work she’s done on these earlier outings and built on it. If you’ve been a fan her output so far, you’ll find plenty to like about this album.