Rapper Iggy Azalea seems to have come from nowhere, going from relative obscurity to having two singles in the top two spots on the Billboard Hot 100 before most of the world even knew her name and then going on to have massive success with her debut album The New Classic. “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX, and Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” on which Azalea has a verse, were two of the biggest songs of 2014. But it wasn’t long before controversy and backlash began to catch up with Azalea, as many accused her of appropriating black culture to make money and creating very inauthentic music. This controversy recently came to the forefront at the 2015 Soul Train Awards, where Erykah Badu cracked a joke about Azalea’s music being “definitely not rap.”
Here’s a list of things you might not know about the controversial Azalea. (Caution: The following article discusses a frank, outspoken rapper and contains some explicit content.)
1. She’s Australian
Iggy Azalea grew up in the small town of Mullumbimby, Australia, and speaks in an Aussie accent distinct from the Southern one in which she raps. She discovered hip-hop via the Internet in her early teens, being influenced by artists like Missy Elliot and Tupac, because there was no rap scene where she lived.
2. T.I. is her mentor
The rapper T.I. took Azalea under his wing and made her a part of his Grand Hustle crew. That relationship has not been without friction, but it has been highly beneficial for the young artist, over whom T.I. can be very protective. “I do take advice from T.I. … It sometimes gets frustrating to me … because people think that maybe he dictates my sound or how I make a song or what songs I do. And for any artist, that’s frustrating. Yeah, T.I.’s the big homie and I really respect him, and if he gives me an opinion of course I’m going to listen to it,” she said during a radio interview with The Breakfast Club.