Interview: Aussie rapper talks about homophobia, Glasto and her debut album
Samantha Goodwin

14:23 15th July 2013

Iggy Azalea managed to break her own set goal of breaking the top 10 in the iTunes midweeks chart with new single 'Bounce' reaching an amazing number 8 - in just one single day.

While also ruling the top spot of the iTunes hip-hop chart, the Aussie rap star is eager to release debut album, The New Classic, to her adoring fans (the 'Azaleans').

With a jam-packed schedule of shows and festival appearances in the UK alone, Gigwise caught up with the sky-rocketing 'Work' star - where we discuss  homophobia in hip-hop, her Glastonbury experience, breaking the mould of what it means to be a role model and how she'll never release a pop song.

How did it feel to perform at Glastonbury in an environment predominantly made up of guitar bands?

It was cool because I was on the hip-hop stage - well I don’t think they ever officially said it was a hip hop stage, but I was there for four acts before and two acts after and it was all rap music. So it didn't really feel like I was at a rock festival because I was sectioned off to that tent area, and it was it was all hip-hop fans so it felt like I was at a rap show. It was cool.

Do you think a female rapper will ever headline Glastonbury?

Erm, no because I don’t think Glastonbury supports rap music, actually.

What about when Jay-Z headlined Glasto in 2008?

I think that was with great drudgery that they let that happen to be honest with you.

To be a white female rapper, with an amazing figure and also to be the first international rap superstar to emerge from Australia must take an awful lot of confidence. Do you ever consider the pressure of that?

I feel comfortable about it. I think there’s pressure for me to succeed because I don’t want to let anyone down. I have a lot of people I know who look up to me and look up to my story especially and with it being a success story. I guess sometimes there not necessarily pressure but that thing at the back of your head ‘don’t fail’, because I don’t want to have a fail story for those people who are inspired by me, I don’t want to let them down. There’s that, but I don’t think there’s ever a pressure within my image and those sorts of things.

How do you deal with that inner 'don't fail' voice? How do you keep yourself ahead?

I don’t know, I know now when I'm doing it, if I'm doing it, I can tell. I can catch it now before my mind would wonder down that track a bit further. Now I can tell I can be like, nah you’re doing it. You train yourself I think. I think everybody has to do that, you have to train yourself to not get in a negative mind frame. People, we love to be worriers and procrastinate, and get anxious about things, everyone does it. So I think you just have to train your mind when you see you’re going down that path. And I think women we do it all that time with boys we date. I think lots of times we’ll over analyse and start to freak ourselves out when we really like someone. I think it’s the same with success because when you really want something that’s when you can be anxious and over-think things. So I just think about it as I think about with men, because with men as you get older you know when you’re starting to be a psycho, like ‘hold on, stop stalking his Instagram snap out of it!’ So now I just apply the same dating rules to career to now.

Have you experienced much prejudice in the hip hop world?

No I don’t think so, not directly. I know there are people who have hesitated to support me because of what I look like or where I'm from. I think it just gets better with time as you show and prove yourself, and more and more people raise there hands to show that they support me - or have come out of the woodwork and feel comfortable to do that, or are more accepting of me and something new. It just takes time.

Azalea performing at Wireless festival

Do you think you play a part of being a role model for young women around the world?

I think 'role model' is a weird idea, just because I think people associate ‘role model’ with something that’s like morally correct in societies version of right or wrong. I definitely think that I'm somebody that people look up to and I always acknowledge that, and I always try to make sure people are pushed in the right direction or feel inspired to do their thing. But in terms of 'don’t show your tits or don’t show your arse because you’re a role model', I sort of feel like well what of the reason I'm a role model is to inspire people to stick to whatever their guns are. So if you want to wear a pair of short shorts, I think being a role model shouldn't exclude someone from feeling OK to do that, you know what I mean?

We spoke to Eve earlier this year who said that more men in hip hop need to come out like Frank Ocean did. What's your view on sexuality in hip hop?

Yeah I agree. Just because I think that yeah we should. The gay community is a big part of hip hop and rap music not just necessary artists but they’re in there and they’re styling a lot of the rappers, doing creative stuff, creating the videos. Even if it’s not as an artist per say, even though I'm sure I know artists who are in the closet, I think that regardless of that they’re apart of the hip hop industry in a very big way. I think there should be less prejudice against homosexuality in rap music for sure.

What's your opinion on the new albums from Jay Z and Kanye?

I haven’t head Jay-Z’s yet, but everybody says it’s really good but I haven’t heard it yet because I've just been releasing my single so I've been doing this. Kanye's I've heard parts of, it’s very interesting.

For your next single 'Change Your Life, you sing - why was this important to you?

I don’t think it’s so important for me to sing, but everybody my whole life has always said, 'you can sing, you can sing, why don’t you sing?' And I've always been so against singing because I didn't want people to push me in the direction of doing that or making pop music, before I had a solidified fan base. I'm really passionate about rap music and  I wanted to make sure people knew that’s what I care about, thats what I am. I’ll never make a pop song where I just sing, that will never happen. So before I ever went into doing melodic things or singing or anything like that, I wanted to make sure I've established myself and I think it’s good to have surprises. I wanted to leave something for the album, where I'm giving you something new that you didn't know about me, that I could do or something about my story you didn't know. Just new things that make the album great and different from mix tapes. I'm two singles in now, I haven’t sung yet though I think it’s just nice to add another thing I can showcase that I can do. Having a nice melody in a song doesn't hurt either, that’s always good and also to just add something new and say 'hey, this is something new for the album that you haven’t heard before of me and here it is'. It’s interesting.

I know the album is ready, how excited are you to put it out in September and what can fans expect?

I can’t reveal anything yet I've got stuff and collaborations I'm working on seeing if they’ll end up on my album or other people's albums, things like that but I'm excited... I'm still anxious a little bit. I don’t know what to expect, other people don’t know what to expect and I don’t know what to expect. I know what expect from my album, but you just never know. I think it’s good, but will you think its good? Will this be better than what you expected? Do you expect more than what I think you do? Will it be bad? I don’t know, I don’t think it will be bad. I feel very good about it, everyone that’s heard it seems to be very impressed and surprised by it.


More about:

Photo: Press