Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea review hip-hops bright blond star defies the haters

Iggy Azalea review hip-hops bright blond star defies the haters

Iggy Azalea had the crowd ‘erupting for every song’ at her one-off London show last week.

Tall, blond and radiating fame-glow by the kilowatt, rapper Iggy Azalea looks every inch the pop star of the moment. She also looks a tiny bit like a lightning rod, another job the 24-year-old Australian is currently working.

Azalea prances on stage for this one-off London show later than advertised, surrounded by half a dozen dancers, backed by her DJ, Wizz Kid, and two backup singers. In the wings are controversy and scandal. She performs for a dazzling hour, working her hips and her hits, as well as material from the mixtapes that first gained her notoriety. But it’s Azalea’s current hit single that really gets the rafters rising.

Midway through, Rita Ora turns up to sing the female revenge fantasy Black Widow alongside her, and the place erupts even more than it has already erupted for nearly every song, with Azalea’s every bum wiggle cranking the screeching louder. Rump-shaking turns into a major theme tonight; too major, perhaps, when a pole-dancing pole appears for the song Pu$$y and Azalea’s dancers take turns on it. Roughly a year ago, Azalea was in a tiny West London club. Now she’s packing glitter cannons, steam eruptions and a clever bubble machine that emits dry ice-filled bubbles during Rolex, a track that pre-dates her debut album The New Classic, released in April. It’s a deft lyric about a watch she gave an ex-lover, which riffs on time, love and timepieces.

Really, though, this date isn’t just a gig in which a new star showcases her wares. It’s also a perfect storm of pop in which a great many forces are swirling. If you don’t already have a stance on the Mullumbimby-born rapper, you haven’t really been paying attention.

Having made her name as an oddity – white female Australians not having previously been known for their flow – Azalea is now properly famous. She recently equalled the Beatles’ record by having her first two US singles place at Nos 1 and 2 in the Billboard Hot 100 charts simultaneously. (“I’d rather be the Rolling Stones,” Azalea quipped recently to Billboard about the Beatles comparison.)

Those singles were Fancy, her co-write with our own Charli XCX, the most-streamed song on Spotify ever, and Problem, with squeaky-clean Ariana Grande. Both sound on point tonight, despite some absenteeism. Problem is truncated, as Grande is not here. But, then, Grande lives in LA. The excellent Fancy is missing the Charli XCX guest appearance that everyone is hoping for.

Azalea’s ascendancy hasn’t come without static. Back in May, Forbes – that well-known music website – actually declared that Azalea was “running” hip-hop. It later changed its headline after outraged hip-hop fans pointed out that she wasn’t exactly runningit.

Ranged against Azalea’s being appointed CEO of hip-hop were rappers like Nicki Minaj, Tyler the Creator and Azealia Banks, plus incalculable numbers of online haters. To them, the woman born Amethyst Kelly in New South Wales is inauthentic, a shameless cultural appropriator and a racist to boot.

In Azalea’s corner, meanwhile, you find an unlikely coalition: her pop pal Charli XCX, august American rock critic Robert Christgau, who recently penned a gutsy appreciation of The New Classic, and, most significantly, Questlove of the Roots, a man who knows something about authenticity in hip-hop. “You know, we as black people have to come to grips that hip-hop is a contagious culture,” he recently told Time’s website. “If you love something, you gotta set it free. I will say that Fancy… is a game-changer; we’re truly going to have to come to grips with the fact that hip-hop has spread its wings.”

Everyone here tonight would probably concur with him. This is a pop show, in that the audience is young, but it’s a hip-hop show too. Azalea’s flow is literate and pacy; her lateness is merely hip-hop timekeeping. She has a sense of humour and a grasp of skits. Pu$$y is introduced by a video clip from Boomerang, the 1992 Eddie Murphy comedy about double standards in which co-star Grace Jones shouts about her pussy in a crowded restaurant.

This week the lightning rod has had to deal with another jolt too. The sex tape Azalea apparently made with her former manager-boyfriend, Hefe Wine, is on the verge of going public; Azalea has unleashed a lawsuit in response. Towards the set’s end, Azalea makes reference to her “awful, awful, terrible” week, and how performing makes it all better.

Many of Azalea’s tracks drum home the message that she is ambitious and independent – “Fuck love, gimme diamonds,” runs Fuck Love, a crass, curt and catchy track, “I’m already in love with myself”– but there is a now also a sense that she is a woman wronged. Whether this endears this star any more to all those haters remains to be seen.

DAY 2 – Wireless Festival in London (Pics)

DAY 2 – Wireless Festival in London (Pics)

SATURDAY 13TH JULY

Today Wireless had these artists rock London – JAY ZEmeli SandéRita OraKendrick LamarMiguelMacklemore & Ryan LewisDJ Fresh LiveEarth, Wind & FireCALVIN HARRISSpecial GuestFlux PavilionZeddIggy AzaleaNaughty BoyDevlinTaboo

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Beyonce Performs In London for Change With Jay Z, Ellie Goulding, Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek in Twickenham

Beyonce Performs In London for Change With Jay Z, Ellie Goulding, Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek in Twickenham

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130601-chime-for-change-beyonce-jayz-600-1370124278Beyoncé Performs At Chime For Change Concert
Beyoncé and her husband are joined by stars including Ellie Goulding, Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek at a concert at Twickenham. Video: Beyonce Sings For Women’s Rights
By Richard Suchet, Sky News reporter.
Beyoncé and rapper husband Jay-Z have performed together at a gig in London to raise awareness of a new campaign supporting girls and women across the globe.

Jennifer Lopez, Ellie Goulding, and Rita Ora were also among a host of stars at Twickenham singing in aid of Chime For Change, which promotes education, health and justice for women.

Crazy In Love singer Beyonce Knowles – who is mum to one-year-old Blue Ivy Carter – said: “Women’s rights have always been close to my heart.
The Sound of Change Live – London Ellie Goulding

“Being a mother, it’s really important that I do what I can and use my voice. There are many women around the world that don’t have one.

“We have to use our voices and raise awareness and be part of something where we can leave our legacy and help improve this world.”

Chime for Change was founded by Beyoncé, actress Salma Hayek, and Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini.
The Sound of Change Live – London The perfomer Timbaland

Its website will host information about 120 not-for-profit organisations that promote gender equality, which people can then choose to fund directly.

The concert was broadcast in 150 countries to an estimated audience of one billion people.

Pop queen Madonna was not among the performers at Twickenham, but she appeared in a short film about women.
The Sound of Change Live – London Jennifer Lopez

She told the crowd: “What happens when we educate girls? We empower them. They have jobs, they have opportunities, they know their rights, they have the ability to defend themselves, support their families and be an integral, productive part of the human race.”

The concert took place 100 years to the day since Emily Davison became a martyr for women’s rights, when she threw herself in front of a horse at the Epsom Derby.

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