AZALEA IS certainly one of the most singular pop success stories of recent years.
Seduced at 14 by the poetry and the passion of Tupac Shakur, she spent the following decade slowly but surely becoming one of the most feted and high-profile figures in US hip-hop despite the considerable handicap of being a white, middle-class Australian girl.
So, she has plenty of drive: original talent is another matter. Far from justifying its audacious title, The New Classic is a generic and far from unprecedented offering. It’s no disgrace, but nor does it remotely justify the reams of hype and hyperbole that have preceded its arrival.
Azalea’s lyrical concerns are obvious, and frequently fatuous. She is mostly concerned with celebrating her own financial and sexual magnificence. ‘100’ finds her boasting of her jewellery and globe-trotting; on ‘New Bitch’ she is sniffing “Better check my tax bracket”. Most tiresomely of all, ‘Don’t Need Y’All’ sees her already moaning that, “Fame is a curse” and hating on haters.
Thankfully, it’s not all so pallid. The ebullient, attitude-heavy singles ‘Work’ and ‘Change Your Life’ remain crossover pop-rap gems, and occasionally Azalea locates a spark of originality. It is burning bright on ‘Fancy’, a glorious tongue-in-cheek brat-rap collaboration with Charlie Xcx that could be Icona Pop doing hip-hop.
Sadly, this flash of pizzazz is the exception rather than the rule. Iggy Azalea needs to up her game sharpish if she is not to return to the obscurity from whence she came.
© Ian Gittins, Virgin Media Music, 21 April 2014