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.
Hip-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.
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
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.