By Nadia Noir
Iggy Azalea is half old Hollywood starlet and half Dirty South hip-hop queen. She has the charm of Grace Kelly and the edgy attitude of personal inspirations like Missy Elliot–all fused into one beautiful package. When 23-year-old Azalea stepped onto the stage the Red Bull Sound Space at AMP Radio, she was wearing a satin-y one-piece bearing the face of Al Pacino in Scarface.
Shy in that classy, sweet girl kind of way, Iggy Azalea is America’s newest, freshest pop star and she has the star factor to go with it. At the time of her performance, the song “Problem” with Ariana Grande was sitting at the top of charts and her single “Fancy” was right under that. Despite people’s beliefs that Azalea came out of nowhere, the Australian-born rapper has been hustling stateside ever since she left home as a teenager and stepped off a plane in Miami in 2011. After spending five years in the South including Atlanta and Houston, Azalea picked up her signature rapping style, put up some banging Youtube videos, and eventually got noticed by the people that matter at major labels.
Booker asked Azalea if she knew her album would do so well. Azalea answered with humble sincerity, “I knew I had a lot of belief in the music that I made. And, I knew, that I think there was a lot of growth compared to a lot of other mixtapes that I had put out. But, I didn’t anticipate it to be discovered as quickly as it has. It’s hard to anticipate something like that, so it’s been very good.”
Part of Azalea’s massive growth in the last few years has been because of her connection with rapper T.I. and the undying support of her fans.
“There are a lot of them. Which is amazing,” says Azalea after Booker jokes that they are so many of them that they multiply like “ants.” “I think it’s always crazy to think about a number on the internet. And to actually see it in person or to know what 10,000 people at a Beyonce concert looks like and see that many physical people and imagine that that’s how many people are supporting me or following me is very mind-blowing.”
Booker mentions that Azalea is bound to get some Grammy nominations and the rapper quickly looks around for some wood to knock on. “You can’t jinx me,” she says before she explains that she tries not to “prepare” for big things like a song being huge or her winning an award. “Because if they don’t happen, I would hate to be disappointed. I think those are the sort of things in life that you have to just hope to be surprised by.”
“I’d heard of this song, ‘Black Widow,’ for months. That Katy Perry had written it. And then I finally met her at the EMAs in person and she said, ‘Oh, I’ve got to get your phone number. I really want you to get on this song.’ It was a few of us on the song and everybody else already had albums out and I said, ‘Why don’t you let me put this on mine because I’m the next girl of all these girls to have her album out, so I want this out ASAP. I don’t want to wait for another person’s album in a year or two. We should put this one mine.’ And thankfully she let me.”
“I put Rita on there. I think she’s a great singer. It just worked out,” continued Azalea. “I’ve been wanting to do a collaboration with Rita for so long but it was never the right thing. Oddly enough, I’ve never mentioned this, but she was supposed to be on ‘Bounce’ years ago but she never ended up on it. But now we have ‘Black Widow’ on the same album a year later, so it worked out.”
Has Azalea’s career been luck or straight hustle? Regardless of what has catapulted the star to the top, it’s clear that she’s put in “work.”