She’s been putting in graft for years, and she burst onto the scene with her first single Work way over a year ago now, but Australian rapper Iggy Azalea has only just dropped her highly anticipated debut album, The New Classic.
This might only be her debut, but Iggy’s not short of a few milestones under her belt; like playing the iconic Glastonbury Festival in 2013 and opening for the likes of Beyonce and Katy Perry. With this, and the success of current single Fancy, there were a lot of big expectations for the album release, but does it live it up to them?
The New Classic reels off 15 tracks, with collaborations from the likes of T.I., Charli XCX, Rita Ora, WatchTheDuck and Mavado. Iggy plasters her powerful and somewhat aggressive vocals over several genres throughout, from pop to hip-hop, and dancehall to soul.
With Clueless-inspired Fancy being one of the best music video releases in a long time, this instantly becomes a stand out track on the album, alongside opener Walk The Line, where Iggy dips her toes into singing, something we haven’t heard from the 23 year old rapper until now. Her distinctive style is picked up throughout, but it’s single Bounce and Fuck Love where her accent really makes it’s stand.
The biggest let down is Black Widow, the highly anticipated Rita Ora duet. The 3 and a half minute track feels like a lot of build up that doesn’t really go anywhere, and Rita’s vocals get lost amongst the production. Fancy aside, the best collaboration comes from Atlanta trio WatchTheDuck on the third song, 100. This guitar-infused entry lets Iggy explore a soulful R’n’B side to her career.
The problem is, besides the autobiographical Work (below), the album is pretty impersonal. With a life that consisted of dropping out of school, leaving a small town in Australia and going on a vacation to the US that she never came back from, you’d think Iggy, real name Amethyst Amelia Kelly, would maybe have some more stories to tell. Alas, the record relies heavily on good production and tracks that would be good for radio, rather than something personal and story-telling that we’re used to from rap artists.
Being a female rapper isn’t unheard of these days, but being a successful female rapper is a different story, and the album definitely lets this struggle known at times, and we don’t mean through her use of lyrics. Considering how long The New Classic took to create and release, we just can’t help but feel a little disappointed it wasn’t something more mind-blowing.
Iggy Azalea might be topping the iTunes charts across the world within first week of release, but we can’t help but feel fans might be a little let down by this album that definitely doesn’t live up to it’s title.
Review by Jayde Engledew