Iggy Azalea recently got scooped up by CNN for an interview. During her time with CNN, Iggy Azalea discussed listening to rap while growing up in Australia, being connected musically with T.I., whether her image is gimmicky, and more. Check out excerpts of the interview below.
CNN: When I think Australia, I think Kylie Minogue and Keith Urban. Where does rap come into play?
Iggy Azalea: There’s a small culture, and there are other Australian artists that rap that are popular in Australia, but they don’t make it over here – yet (laughs).
Growing up nobody liked the style of music [I liked]. I always felt really alone because no one wanted to talk about the things that I enjoyed, and that was really rap music and hip-hop as a culture. You know, having the shoes, using the words, buying the magazines, seeing the videos. And I had nobody to share it with, so I feel like I lived a lot online.
CNN: A lot of people when you signed with T.I.’s Grand Hustle were like, “Really?!”
Azalea: Because people think of T.I. as T.I. the artist, they don’t think of T.I. as T.I. the producer or the person getting it done.
When you think of T.I., you think of his brand, not my brand, and you try to associate his brand with mine – [but] that’s not what I have him for. He’s not there to make my songs for me, he’s there to help me make my music and help me with what I want to create and connect the dots because I don’t have the same outreach as him.
He has so much great advice, I’m a hothead and he’ll be like, “Listen!”
CNN: Some argue that in your lyrics you use sex as a weapon, while others argue it’s a gimmick. Your response?
Azalea: I think you can say anybody uses anything as a gimmick. Is Adele’s not having gimmicks her gimmick? It’s hard to say, isn’t it?
Really, I think that everybody has something that people like or that’s great about them. Is [the fact] that Chris Brown can dance his gimmick? I like to talk about sex. I’m a woman in a male-dominated industry, and this really big part of my life is having to deal with all those types of things. What’s sexy, what’s demeaning, what they want you to be, what the media wants you to be, what’s OK, what’s not, what people think you owe them to be sexy. It’s something that I think about a lot.
I don’t think, “Oh I want to put my vagina on a plate so I can sell you something.” It’s a big part of everybody’s existence, but especially in this industry. It’s hard to ignore it.
CNN: How have you seen race handled here as an artist as opposed to home?
Azalea: People get … emotional much more than they do in my country. And I’m not saying it’s to a fault because it’s your culture and it’s different. You have a different history. I think you guys love to label things with race, and I’m not used to that being where I’m from.
It’s different, it’s weird to say, “She’s a white rapper or she can’t do this because she’s this color – this color does THIS thing. These are the boxes we have, this is what it is, don’t try to change it.” And it’s crazy to me because I’m just not from that world, so I can’t really rock with it all the way. I said on Twitter the other day, “I’m cotton, you’re cashmere.” And they’re like “Don’t say cotton!” I was like, “Whoa! Cotton is a racist plant?!”
Honestly, Iggy makes a great point in referring to the backlash she receives in terms of being a white female rapper, but she must understand that she lacks a certain level of understanding of particular U.S. cultural issues simply because she comes from a different cultural environment. Some things that may be a non-issue in Australia may have huge implications in the U.S. and vice versa. Whether she likes it or not, she will have to be a bit more cognizant of what she says.
To read and listen to the entire interview, click here.