Iggy Azalea has work, work, worked her way into the upper echelons of pop rap, so here’s a rundown of her 10 greatest hits to remind you, if nothing else, why we put up with her.
Iggy Azalea has caught flak for coming across as white privilege incarnate – her debut mixtape’s title, ‘Ignorant Art’, seemed amusingly perceptive to haters. Iggy was mimicking Atlanta accents, sending questionable Tweets and using black twerkers as props before radical cultural insensitivity was in fashion, and ‘Pu$$y’, taken from ‘Ignorant Art’, is the crux of her problematic pop allure. In a good way? You decide.
This ice-cold kiss-off to a heartless ex skitters uncertainly from “don’t give a fuck” to “could try this shit again”, but you can’t help feeling for Azalea. “You fucked her on my birthday and that’s what really hurt the most,” she spits at one point, which sounds like a fair quibble, really.
8 ‘Don’t Need Y’all’
Sure, it’s so Drake it’s running through the 6 clutching a bottle of Patron while its mum laughs at its love life, but ‘Don’t Need Y’all’ is a welcome moment of reflection on ‘The New Classic’, gifted with a mellow beat that sounds like heaven’s own bath music.
‘Goddess’ is typical self-hagiography from Azalea, its “Bow down to a Goddess” mantra sounding like a less charismatic Kanye. But its eerily chiming, Eastern-backalley vibes complement the verse-raps like a charm, and the chorus is genuinely epic. We’re less “bowing down” than “doffing caps”, but it’s something.
6 ‘Yo El Ray’
Azalea nabbed Diplo, appropriator-extraordinaire, for her ‘Trapgold’ mixtape. ‘Yo El Ray’ doesn’t let you forget it: “It’s pronounced ‘Iggy’, bitch, and he is Diplo,” goes the hook. Thankfully, her boasts here are earned, the song’s insistent, syncopated beat shuffling under a berserker flow that destroys any scepticism about the shaky wordplay.
This Sleigh Bells-sampling number might’ve endeared Azalea to the hipsters of the world, if she hadn’t spent the rest of her career doing all in her power to alienate them. Nonetheless, the song stands up as a certifiable banger, a perfect soundtrack for the kind of down-dirty club basements that leave your shoes covered in mysterious liquid.
4 ‘Trouble’ feat. Jennifer Hudson
This perky takedown of a tattooed troublemaker hits the sweet spot between craven soul-pop crossover and wind-the-windows-down anthem. The unfussy beat gets into your head, and Jennifer Hudson’s impassioned chorus ensures it sticks.
The intro to ‘Work’ sets an unpromising scene: its “tryin’ to let you know what I’ve been through” voiceover seems to herald a misguided feel-my-pain anthem. But from the opening verse, it proves alarmingly on-point: “Two feet in the red dirt, school skirt, sugar cane, back lanes,” she raps of her Australia youth, before toppling into hyperspeed over interstellar trap beats that border on cosmic bliss.
2 ‘1 800 Bone’
Consigned to the ‘TrapGold’ mixtape, ‘1 800 Bone’ is all the more impressive for its hidden-weapon status. The low-key track doesn’t fully take off till the 1m40 mark, when, out of nowhere, Azalea rolls into the firiest verse of her career over a subverted, through-the-floorboards party beat.
1 ‘Fancy’ feat. Charli XCX
Despite her malfunctioning moral compass, Azalea has rocketed through the airways and become one of the biggest rap stars on the planet. Listening to a song like ‘Fancy’, you sort of get it. Anchored by a brilliantly vacuous chorus from Charli XCX, the track ricochets from verse to verse with infectious bravado, swaggering from LA to Tokyo in one culture-crossing step. To quote Charli in the chorus, “Keep on turning it up”.