entertainment

How a girl from small town NSW dominated the world, one sexualised lyric at a time.

How much do you really know about the blonde-haired, native Australian rap goddess?

Let me tell you a story.

There were once these four sweet-looking, kinda daggy guys who played a bit of music together. They wrote a couple of tunes, which they cobbled together into an album in 1964 and then?

Within days, I Wanna Hold Your Hand and She Loves You
held the number one and two spots on the US Billboard Charts. The Beatles were the first artists to ever achieve this particular feat with their first album.

And after sharing that record only with a lucky few over the past 50 years, The Beatles’ achievement has been equaled once more by a blonde 23-year-old rapper from Mullumbimby, New South Wales.

By now, you’ve probably caught yourself singing along to her huge smash hit Fancy, but we suspect that like us – not many of you know a lot about Iggy Azalea.

Having bailed on Australia in her teens for the not-so-bright lights of Miami, Iggy Azalea’s fame has mostly existed only within the hip-hop scene and amongst the tail end of Gen Y. It’s only now that she’s flicking away international music records like burnt pieces of movie popcorn, that the rest of us are catching up.

Also, we Australians love a little parochialism and when one of our own is beating the yanks? Well, we’re going to step right up and claim her achievements for the nation. But before we all start chanting Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! in unison, let’s take a moment to get to know Iggy, shall we?

1. Who is Iggy Azalea?

She is a 23-year-old rapper who grew up in Mullumbimby, New South Wales. Born Amethyst Amelia Kelly, she left Australia at the age of 16 and moved to Miami, Florida. From there, she released a mixtape, titled ‘Ignorant Art’, and has just released her debut album, titled ‘The New Classic’.

Iggy also holds the title of the first ever non-American female rapper to appear in XXL magazine’s annual “Top 10 Freshman” cover issue in 2012. Not too shabby for a woman from a country town of 3,000 people.

2. Why should I care about her?

Iggy Azalea

Because she is redefining the stereotypes of rappers. Iggy is smart, articulate, and has a kickass-feminist-warrior vibe going on.

She recently had to ban crowd surfing from her concerts after the horrible experience of being physically violated by her own fans.

Talking to New York radio station Hot 97, Iggy explained her reasons for the ban: “Buying my album for $12 doesn’t mean you can finger me…” she said.

“They think I’m real slutty (because of my lyrics) and (they say) ‘I know what she wants’, why would I want a stranger to ever finger me? It’s a violation.”

3. What does her name mean?

The rapper may think her Australian upbringing hasn’t influenced her career, but we beg to differ.

The name ‘Iggy’ was her childhood dog’s name (an AUSTRALIAN dog you guys), and ‘Azalea’ is, in fact, the street she grew up on.

Her birth name is Amethyst. Yep, a name you’d be forgiven for thinking was pop-star-esque-diva-enough but Iggy’s reasoning for the switch to ‘Iggy’ is refreshingly honest.

ADVERTISEMENT

Speaking to UK’s Idol Mag, she said: “I really like my name, Amethyst Kelly, and people say it’s such a great name, but because it’s such a great name, that’s why I’ve changed it. It’s one thing that no one can take from me, that is special, that my mum gave to me when I was born. I don’t want people to be able to take it away from me.”

4. If she’s from Australia, why does she sound like she grew up with Miley Cyrus when she raps?

Iggy has lived in the US for eight years, and considers it home. She spent five years in the South but her thick accent is due more to the music she listened to and the people who taught her to rap.

Speaking of Miley, Iggy considers herself the original twerker (that’s bum wiggling at pace for those playing along at home and getting lost in confusion) and says Miley probably got the idea from her.

“I’ve been doing that onstage for two-and-a-half years. She probably… watched my videos online and decided to try it,” Iggy said, speaking to Papermag.

Iggy Azalea

5. Is her ass…et real?

Perhaps Iggy’s second most famous feature after her incredible talent the fact she’s super hot, which you kind of need to be to make it in this industry (sigh).

The 1.78m statuesque artist has a booty that envies Beyonce’s and abs flatter than a chopping board to match.

Her work out and diet regime? The singer credits burgers and fries, causing women everywhere to narrow their eyes ala the evil queen in Maleficent.

6. Did she just wake up one day and decide to be a rapper?

One thing Iggy can’t be called is an overnight success. The first few years after migrating to the US saw the rapper broke and struggling to live, but her perseverance ensured she pushed through and it’s clearly paid off.

7. Is she just another Gwen Stefani?

Nope. Nope. Nope.

Iggy is like nothing the rap world has ever seen before; her lyrics, her demeanour, her look and her rap style are all pretty different (although interestingly the Aussie hip-hop types aren’t her biggest fans). She’s already dominated the US, and you can’t turn on the radio without hearing her here at home.

Iggy’s also become only the third woman ever to have the top two spots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

There’s a reason she calls herself a ‘bad bitch’, after all.

8. Anything else I should know?

Aside from being a feminist, Iggy also stands up for gay rights and calls out males for misogynistic behavior, like cat-calling her in the street.

She is also huge on social media, especially amongst teenagers and her Instagram accounts gives fans a glimpse into her crazy celebrity life. From selfies with Katy Perry, photos of private jets, and cute snaps with her boyfriend, NBA star Nick Young, the new queen of rap seems to be adjusting to fame just fine thank you.

If you’ve reached the end of this post and still can’t get enough of Iggy, we’ve got you covered. Click through our comprehensive Iggy gallery to get your fix.

00:00 / ???