Concert preview: Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea helping hip-hop “spread its wings”

  • Photo courtesy of Iggy Azalea
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From the July 31, 2014 edition

Though authenticity has become less of an anchor weighing down hip-hoppers (see: former Canadian soap star Drake’s start-from-the-bottom boasts and onetime prison guard Rick Ross reinventing himself as a criminal don), the debate still flares up from time to time.Such was the case with some of the recent criticisms surrounding “Fancy” singer/rapper Iggy Azalea, a blonde Aussie who has taken to slurring her rhymes in an affected Southern drawl — a tendency that had some critics crying cultural appropriation. No less than music aficionado and Roots drummer Questlove eventually stepped in to quash the debate, telling Time hip-hop is a “contagious culture” and it was time to accept the fact the genre had “spread its wings” and become a part of society at-large.

On Azalea’s debut, The New Classic, the Aussie acquits herself reasonably well in her adopted genre. She’s an adequate rapper, and songs like “Fancy” and the walk-a-mile-in-my-shoes tale “Work” are draped in lushly appointed pop hooks that have a way of burrowing under the skin like those worms on FX’s “The Strain.” It’s pretty far from a new classic, true, but it’s not some kind of signpost marking hip-hop end times, either.

Global Sound also performs.