Of Course Iggy Azalea Became a Rapper; She’s Australian

Let me start by saying: I love you, White People. I’m going to say some things that make it seem like I don’t…but I do. I love you.

But let’s be honest. Y’all are the most thievingest people on the PLANET. Oh sure! Black people steal. Of course we do. We steal things like cigars and name brand clothing. Y’all, on the other hand, steal whole continents. You went to India and stole all their sapphires. You went to Asia and stole all its silk. You went to Africa and stole all its people. Is it any surprise that you would therefore go on to steal rap (and jazz, and blues, and crumping, and twerking, and collard greens)? I would compare you to the Borg, but I don’t think that’s quite accurate. The Borg assimilates cultures for the good of the Collective. You lot merely appropriate culture for the benefit of your legacy. And that brings us to today’s topic – Iggy Azalea, a child I had never even heard of until Snoop started some sort of social media spat with.

Iggy Azalea, for those who like me did/do not know, is a white female rapper from Australia.

Selah.

IggyAzalea-2014Hip-hop purists have been dismissive of Iggy for a litany of reasons, but primarily because she is in the same vanguard of entertainer as your Nicki Minaj and company. She is the latest flavor of the auto-tuned, pop tart Top 40 stew which has gobbled up every genre you can think of, making each almost indistinguishable from the other. Think of Iggy Azalea as the $0.99 box of Kraft Mac n’ Cheese trying to pass for your Big Momma’s mac: her music is commercial, accessible and heavily marketed, but it doesn’t mean it’s good. There. I believe you have the idea.

Iggy Azalea has been in the headlines for the last few weeks, first for getting into it with Rah Digga (another female rapper of historical note) and now for her conflict with Snoop. Of course, all the media attention surrounding these run-ins has been engineered, for what better way for a rapper to earn her “street cred” than to have a battle with some of hip-hop’s greatest names? Nonetheless, Black people aren’t really checking for Iggy Azalea. Her music is rarely (if ever) played on urban radio. Her support comes from the bubble gum Bieber-Believer crowd, which is the only reason she has grossed as much wealth as she has to date. And good for her! She is following in the tradition of a proper White Australian.

You historians may recall that before Australia – that country/continent sitting on the edge of the Earth – became the tourist destination that it is today, it was inhabited by some people now known as the Aborigines. They did some pretty cool things, those aboriginal folk, like making boomerangs, pipes and those long flute things that create a haunting sound. And then one day, a boat full of English people showed up on their shores and the rest was history. Literally. The aboriginal race was nearly wiped off the map in a near genocide. Australia was to be a penal colony, to be re-populated with crooks, thieves, sinners and debtors. And now, almost 250 years later, you all think the boomerang is some Western invention, possibly created in the Nerf Labs. That is appropriation…and it is from this stock that Iggy Azalea hails.

Some of the most famous “American” entertainers are actually Australian. This list includes, but is by no means limited to, Mel Gibson, Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger (RIP!) Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban and of course, Iggy Azalea. These people had to co-opt American culture in some form in order to gain any sort of international success. Let’s take Keith Urban for example. The dude is a country singer…from Australia. Fundamentally, there should be something wrong with that. Country’s roots are in the Appalachian foothills, a cross between Scottish melody and African instrumentation. (From the banjo.) The fact that Keith Urban – a man with NO ties to this art form’s roots – is country’s biggest artist is a head scratcher. I went online to find out how country music fans feel about a non-American leading the pack on this genre, and the response I found was that it “didn’t matter”. Keith Urban makes good music, even if it does swing towards pop. Of course, there is the possibility that this nonchalance towards an “outsider” taking over country music may have something to do with the fact that Mr. Urban looks and sounds a lot like his fan base and the majority adopters of his chosen genre.

Iggy Azalea don’t look nothing like original hip-hop. Could it be that the hostility towards her has something to do with her race? Or does the upward turning of the hip-hop community’s nose have everything to do with the fact that she’s a crap rapper? The answer to that will have to wait another 20 years, the test of truly good music’s staying power.

Selah.

I’m surprised we haven’t seen a White female of Iggy’s notoriety rapper before now. By this time in the rap game – when the genre had really exploded – Vanilla Ice had jumped on the scene and stolen (literally stolen!) MC Hammer’s entire act, right down to his baggy pants. Then of course there was Eminem who “saved” rap and now we have the faux depth of Macklemore. The last group of truly great female rappers was around the Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Lil Kim/Lauryn Hill era, which was about 20 years ago. And no, I don’t consider Nicki Minaj a great rapper. She’s good for a summer anthem or two, but like Iggy, she’s using a lot of words without saying much. I’m shocked that it’s taken a white woman this long to capitalize on this area of Black innovation. Shame on Iggy. She’s almost 30 years too late!

I can’t be mad at Iggy Azalea for her success, and I wish her more of it. She is just doing what an Australian was meant to do: steal from others. Quick! What original Australian music form can you think of? None. The only original Australian musician on the planet is worship singer Darlene Zschech, and her music isn’t ‘Australian’. It comes from

GOD

I am truly mystified by Iggy Azalea’s success, and I think more Black people should emulate her methods. We must seek out European art forms and hijack them. Perhaps we might look into river dance or the bagpipes? Ahh, now that would be something to see: A kente cloth wearing bagpipe player. You lot go and pay big bucks to see the White girl rap, and I’ll spend my wages to see Kofi get down with Celtic Thunder.

celtic

 

  • AM

    I know I keep gussing (sp?!?) you, but good Jesus our brother, heavenly Fada, this was a phakking good read! Like, you are a beast with the pen. Seriously. I couldn’t even formulate such a write up about Iggy, other than to write, “we should care because…” But, she is just on her grind. We can’t lay blame on the girl for thieving. We too, have to pontficate (is that even the correct HENGRISH?!) on why we continually allow them to eat. Guess, the answer is, we are not good at protecting ours. What we are great is allowing them to capitalize. By now, we should have been good at gatekeeping, but nah….Our response has always been, there is space for everyone to eat. True. But look at who are the biggest benefactors. Not us. There is also the issue of, culture being fluid. Mschewwww. The fluidity at which OUR culture has been capitalized on, and the rate at which again, we have not benefitted, does not correlate. But listen, me no know, I speak ling long lau.

  • Ahhh, you see AM? You see how you took the hammer and swung it on the nail again? By now we should have figured out a formula for better gatekeeping, no matter how fluid culture is! Look at Bollywood singers and dancers for example. You don’t see people appropriating their culture by heart like that! They have proper ownership of their culture. You need to be INVITED to participate in that thang. As for every art form we’ve ever created, they just feel free to co-opt and steal, why? Because we’re so desperate for acceptance. I blame MLK. If we had followed Malcolm’s gospel, we would have reached Asian success levels by now.

    And I am hembled by zyour compriments. 😀

  • Heuuu…ok! Everytime I read your blog, i am mesmerized or something like that. I should stop by more often. Well it has to be said!

  • David S.

    Wait she calls herself Azalea? You mean like the flowery bush thing? And I should take her seriously? Why? Are we in primary school? Maybe it is my science and tech background that has made me dismissive of the virtue of global domination via cultural domination but I am most certainly dismissive. From where I sit, Flowery bush woman is welcome to appropriate as much of our culture. If what these children call music these days is the definition of culture, then oyibo people are welcome to it. I certainly feel that we should emulate the Asians. By appropriating technology and leaving those people to their cultural appropriation.

    • Yes oooo. As in the flowery bush. I thought I was the only one to notice. Next there will be Iggy Proteas. That’s when I’ll get into the next cruise to Mars and give up on humanity.

  • HeyListen

    The Iggy Azalea problem isn’t really an Iggy Azalea problem (which you seemed to hit the nail on the head about). It’s a humanity problem. It’s not even a race problem – it is literally a humanity problem, and there are so many complex layers of issues with it that I think it’s wrong for people to just go after “Iggy” and dismiss the complexity of the discussion about modern society and culture.

    Americans are different from the rest of the world. The exact difference is difficult to explain to Americans. I am Asian-European, and I moved to Australia 3 years ago, but did previously live in Arizona. I’ll try to explain it, although I realize that for many it just won’t make any sense.

    Americans – of any descent, race, colour, culture – are obsessed with authenticity and origin. It is a culture wide ‘illness’ and though in some way it preserves (which is good after so much was lost to colonialism) it also conserves everything else. It stagnates. It stops and categorizes and uses these categories to inherently keep disadvantages alive. Disadvantages that are real and in turn need to be pointed out again – it is a vicious cycle. And it’s sad to watch.

    I say obsessed with authenticity and origin in the broadest sense. Everyone is overly aware of their ethnic and cultural heritage, and on a nationwide scale, everyone is obsessed with the origins of their own country (upholding laws and documents that no longer fit this day and age for the sake of clinging to historical identity).

    The truth is nothing belongs to anybody anymore. That is the world of today. Music genres don’t belong to ethnicities, countries don’t belong to born citizens. It is too late for that.

    And the sad part about that is that it was too early for that because racism and inequality were still very much implemented in the American culture and system before it was ready to be shared. But sharing is the world of today. It’s too late. And it’s sad to watch from across the ocean.