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The State of Hip Hop: Iggy Azalea and the Authenticity Principle

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The Story

Ironically, I had heard the song but hadn’t paid much attention to Iggt Azalea. From listening to the song I expected it and the creator to fade into Rap oblivion too quickly to be worth the research. However, a few weekends ago I got into a discussion with a dude in my neighborhood, who is and indie rapper, and he says to me that Iggy Azalea is coming for Nicki Minaj’s spot. I bust out laughing and said “she can’t possibly. I don’t even know who the fuck that is.” He acts appalled and we rush over to my laptop and he pulls her up on YouTube. I can’t remember the first song he played but 30 seconds in I grabbed my drink and walked back to other side of the room. He stares waiting for my response and I ask “You like this shit??” He then adds that T.I. Is backing her (as if that means anything). I responded by saying “well shame on T.I.”

Keeping It Real

One of the major principles in Hip Hop is keeping it real. Hip Hop is a culture that was birthed from rebellion of inner city youth who were tired of being disregarded and lied to. Those youth challenged the society in which they lived and that status quo that oppressed them. Because of those forerunners Hip Hop has a legacy in truth telling that includes all aspects of life. If someone calls themselves a part of Hip Hop and gets caught fronting, it’s a serious offense.

On her single “Fancy,” Iggy Azalea raps “First things first. I’m the realest.” One does not simply make a statement like this and not expect to be investigated. But to add to the call for question is a line from Iggy’s song “D.R.U.G.S.” In which Iggy says “When the relay starts. I’m a runaway slave master.” Female rapper Azealia Banks took issue with the line tweeting:

I’m not anti white girl, but I’m also not here for any1 outside my culture trying to trivialize very serious aspects of it.
– Azealia Banks

Regardless of how Hip Hop Iggy may consider herself slavery pins from a White person is not only distasteful but appalling. Such carelessness makes one question how authentically Hip Hop she can be if she cannot understand and respect the deep connection between Hip Hop and Black culture that make such a reference more offensive than witty. The final stroke that most definitely brings Iggy to the chopping block of Hip Hop authenticity is the media hype that she is a contender for Nicki Minaj’s spot.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQArzoZRATg]

Iggy and Nicki

For the past few years Nicki Minaj has been the major mainstream representation for female rappers. That is not to say she has been the only female rapper making music, but she has one of the few to see large mainstream success and celebrity. When Nicki first hit the mainstream there were many comparisons between her and Lil Kim. The public discussion and fans and Hip Hop heads taking sides pitted the two against one another. The end result was a few studio disses and terse interview statements. However the two have now settled into their respective spaces and have their individual fan followings.iggy-azalea-nicki-minaj-mercy-remix-507x397

Enter Iggy Azalea. With her single “Fancy,” media attention, and the backing of T.I. (a respected established rapper) Iggy Azalea is beginning to contend with Nicki Minaj in terms of publicity and attention. The major concerns with Iggy are that she’s an Australian White girl who sounds Black. Her persona and the content of her material has left many Hip Hop heads questioning her authenticity, which is serious in the world of Hip Hop. Nicki Minaj recently made an offhanded reference to the fact that despite the popularity of “Fancy” and Iggy’s self proclaimed realness, she doesn’t have a writing credit on the song. Rumors have swarmed that it is possible that T.I. Is writing for her. THAT would be the nail in the coffin that would bury Iggy in the Hip Hop graveyard for posers.

The Point

The media favors Iggy – for some reason – and continue to defend her place as the new Nicki; however, the Hip Hop community who is and will always be the final jury still has their doubts. Personally, I can’t willingly sit through a whole song and when the visual is added I’m more repulsed than intrigued. Iggy Azalea may sell records and gain media attention but from the evidence I’ve seen she is little more than a gimmick for T.I. to make money.

I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,

An Angry Black Man

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