Iggy Azalea, the least likely female rapper since Lady Sovereign, has at last released her debut album, The New Classic (a somewhat overly confident title that lives up to its name). Intensely self-aware of her superficiality, Azalea transforms into an art. A perfect representation of music in a post-post-post modern world, Azalea encompasses all musical genres--which could also be due in part to the fact that she's Australian.
"Walk the Line" is a strong opener that establishes Azalea's sardonic sense of humor with an intro that states, "We don't wanna scare your children. That's the last thing we wanna do." Combining her singing vocals with rapping, Azalea lures us in and ensures that we'll listen to The New Classic in its entirety. Second is "Don't Need Y'all," one of the only slow paced songs on the album, allowing Azalea to turn us out gradually as she informs her detractors, "If you wasn't here when I was down/Then you won't be here when I'm up/I don't need y'all anyway." Next up is "100" with Watch the Duck, a guitar-friendly offering that empowers Azalea's femininity as Watch the Duck raps, "Got your mind on your money/And you ain't lookin' to settle down." Azalea confirms the type of classy broad she is with the assertion, "No Michael Kors, just Tom Ford."
"Change Your Life" is another glimpse into Azalea's cocksure lyrical style as she promises, "Ima change your life/Ima change it/Ima change your life." And it's true, with this album she does. With a contributing rap from T.I. (whose made a real resurgence since appearing on Britney Jean), "Change Your Life" is one of the catchiest and most likely songs to get in your head this summer.
"New Bitch" is an anthemic number you could easily picture listening to on a beach somewhere in Spain. Making snarky pop culture references like "y'all fell off like Mad Men," Azalea owns being the new bitch in a desirable man's life, asserting, "Who is this? Yeah I'm his new bitch." Another instant classic single, "Work" is Azalea in one of her most self-assured moments as she opens with, "Walk a mile in these Louboutins." Followed by the somewhat weaker "Impossible Is Nothing," Azalea is in one of her rare sing-songy moods, with occasional rapping that includes: "Promise to blaze a path and leave a trail for the next."
"Goddess" features a tribal sounding backbeat that escalates to an increasingly visceral tone. The intense guitar riff as the song comes to a close is the highlight of the piece. Following is "Black Widow" with Rita Ora to provide supportive vocals on the sentiment of wanting to kill someone after loving them too much (the old fine line between love and hate adage). Ora sings, "I'm gonna love ya until you hate me/I'm gonna show ya what's really crazy," while Azalea raps to a perfect complementary (and bloodlusting) pitch.
"Lady Patra" featuring Mavado goes for a more island motif with Azalea declaring, "Gotcha Lady Patra!" Mavado's Jamaican roots feature heavily into the song and fortify the notion that Azalea is merely a pastiche of every musical genre. "Fuck Love" is a chaotic track that showcases Azalea's modeling persona as she chants, "Fuck love give me diamonds/I'm already in love with myself," not to mention fortifies our belief that she's a pop star savant with references like, "What if I'm a material girl?/You can't blame me, I live in a material world" and "My love don't cost a thing."
"Bounce" is yet another single, and a song that indicates Azalea's Euro-friendly vibe. Equal parts Mortal Combat and Ibiza-inspired, this is clearly the track to listen to when the MDMA takes effect in your system. "Rolex" has a more laidback sound as Azalea makes the connection between time needing to be repaid with luxury. Demanding, "Dammit baby, my time is money/I need payback for all the time lost," "Rolex" is yet another example of her material predilections. The last song, "Just Askin'", is not quite the strongest closing for the bonus track edition of the album, but manages not to offset the rest of The New Classic's goodness. In a throwback to 90s rap albums, the song includes a segment with someone dialing into their voicemail to hear an angry message. So, in that regard, it makes "Just Askin'" worthwhile.
Azalea's buildup to The New Classic was well-established with her T.I.-produced EP Glory and Diplo-produced mixtape TrapGold. Proving herself in a gradual and controlled manner, Azalea has made all the right career moves thus far. And while her music is a part of that success, it is also the artful wielding of her image that will continue to affirm she's not just another drop in the pop/white female rap star bucket.