Rapper talks debut album, female rappers - but dodges Azealia Banks question
Adam Tait

13:03 22nd May 2013

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Iggy Azalea is one of the most in demand new hip hop stars on the planet. Having recently signed a record deal, hip hop fans both sides of the Atlantic are eagerly awaiting the first full length album from one of rap's brightest shining stars. 

The media seem intent on depicting a rivalry between Azalea, Angel Haze and Azealia Banks, but when Gigwise caught up with her while she was in Brighton to perform at The Great Escape, the rapper was keen to explain that there's plenty of support in the scene, male or female.

We chatted with her about moving to the US, fellow female rappers and what she's got planned for the rest of 2013...

It seems like things are moving pretty quickly for you at the moment and you've got a busy summer ahead of you. How are you managing with everything?

It's the same as always, last year I did the same thing and the year before that, even though I didn't do the festivals over here. I was still on the road, so I think once you get on the road and you get going it doesn't really matter, it's just work as usual. It's good to be busy, I think if I wasn't it would drive me crazy.

The video for 'Work' went quite a way to explaining your story and how you ended up where you are. How important is it to you that people know your backstory?
It's very important. I think it's important for I anybody that's being influenced by somebody to know who they're being influenced by, so I think it's very important for anybody who's listening to my music to know where I come from.

Do you think knowing these things about your history changes the way people listen to your music, or the way they interpret it?
It made a lot more people not hate me [laughs] so...

It seems a bit that when you decided to leave Australia and go to the US you were risking being a small fish n a big pond, rather than a big fish in a small pond in Australia. That must have been scary?
Yea, but I was also an unhappy fish in a small pond in Australia, I'd rather be a happy fish than a sad fish.

Watch the video for 'Work' below

Were there times since you got to the US that you were worried it might not happen for you, or were you always confident you'd get there?
Erm, I dunno, I think everybody has moments when they wonder if they're lunatic, but I always thought it would happen. I never really felt like there was any other option so I think when you know that you've made sure there's no plan B you don't dare think about it not happening, because that's when it's really scary, you know?

Yourself, Angel Haze and Azealia Banks tend to get lumped together as a bit of a trio by the media. Is that a good thing or a bad thing in your mind? Or should people be considering you all separately?
It's a good thing because one of them's me [laughs]. I dunno, I can't really tell anyone what to do, it's up to you guys if you want to put us together or not.

It was great to see you onstage with Angel Haze at The Scala, how important was that collaboration for you?
It was important, I feel like I get asked all the time about female rap or not having industry peers and things like that and I feel that a lot of time we actually do support each other in silence and I just wanted to come out and show that I support someone and think someone else who does the same thing as me is great and the doesn't freak me out, you know what I mean? I think it was important that people saw in the public that there can be positive things as well

Watch Iggy on stage with Angel Haze performing 'Otis' at The Scala below

Does it worry you that the media try and impose a rivalry on the three of you? Is that something that concerns you?
Kind of, not really. It's something that annoys me, but I don't know if it's something that concerns me so much. I mean I don't think it really changes anything I think everybody knows, I mean the media can say 'oh, there's only room for one female rapper' - at the end of the day if somebody's good you'll make room for them and there's always been multiple girl rappers, it's happened before and it'll happen again. I won't be the last girl to rap and neither will Angel Haze or anybody else. so I don't know if it really matters if the media want to make out there's a rivalry. Do you know what I mean?

And would you ever be interested doing a similar onstage collaboration with Azealia banks if you found yourselves in the same city at some point?
Ahaha, next question...

Are there extra challenges to face when you are a woman in the rap game - or do you tend not to think about that?
If you're somebody who's going to go into this thinking about why it's going to be hard to be a girl, it's not for you. I've never felt like I had a problem if it was boys or girls I was working with, I've always gotten along with men or boys just as well as girls and I think support is support, if it's got a vagina or a penis it doesn't really matter. I think if you feel intimidated by being around a lot of men and that's the sort of thing that throws you off then it's probably not the right thing for you. I think most women that rap feel the same way that I do and are cool being around just people.

Watch the video for 'Bounce' below

What have you got planned for the future? You're gradually releasing more singles, is there an album on the way?
I've just released 'Bounce' in the UK, though it's not on iTunes yet. After that I'll release another song called 'Change Your Life' which will have T.I. on it, and that will be released in America and the rest of the world all at the same time. After that I'll release an album which will be early September. So it's there, it's happening and it's pretty much done, all I have left to do are interludes and things like that. As far as the actual songs go they're all done. It's just unfortunately now since i've only just got signed and been able to start working my singles I've kinda got to go through the motions releasing singles before I can drop an album. so people are like 'When is it coming?' and I'm like 'It's actually done!' but I've got to do the singles, and sell singles and do what labels like to do. So I've got to run through all that and then I'll finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief and release my album.

Obviously getting the album out there is going to be a massive thing for you this year, but what else are you really looking forward to this year?
You know, what I'm really looking forward to is simply releasing the song 'Change Your Life' because I feel like everybody needs to have 'that' track. I love 'Work', lyrically I love 'Work', but 'Change Your Life' is the song I genuinely believe in. I do believe the reason people group me and Angel Haze and Azealia Banks all in the same catagory, if we're going to be real about it, is that none of us have had a hit yet and once one of us has a hit we won't be in that same category and I want to be the first and I believe I will be with 'Change Your Life'. So I just want to hurry up and release that record and film an awesome video for it because I believe in it and I just want to see if my belief is correct.

Thank you very much, Iggy Azalea. Her single 'Work' is out now, and will be followed on 8 July with the follow-up, 'Bounce'.

Issue Four of the Gigwise Print magazine is on pre-order now! Order here.

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Photo: WENN.com