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Music May, 23 2013

A Conversation with Iggy Azalea

Are you work-work-working on your shit? Because Iggy Azalea sure as hell is! She is the breakout star of 2013 and has the gigantic social media following to prove it. Part-Gwen Stefani, part-Tupac superfan, part female-Eminem, yet very much her OWN person; it’s no wonder that both sides of the Atlantic are going crazy for her. Azalea arrived in the U S of A looking for fame and fortune when she was just 16 years old. She chased and chased her hip-hop dream – and guess what? It only went and came true! Why? Because she worked on her shit!

You are very much from the YouTube generation and your songs such as “Pussy” and “Two Times” went viral there first. What would you have done if YouTube wasn’t around?

Well, I think I would have got the job done anyway. I probably would have mingled more with people. I’m not a very social person so I would have gone out and networked more than I usually prefer to.

Or maybe sold CDs or mixtapes out the back of your car trunk like Jay-Z did?

I don’t think I would have made a mixtape at all, actually. Because to get a CD in someone’s hands is one thing but then getting them to actually put it into a CD player and listen to it is another. The chance is slim to none. If the Internet isn’t available to you, just as a random bit of advice about what I believe, I don’t think you should spend any money or time printing CDs or mixtapes and passing them around – you need to do open mics and network. It’s better to sing or rap your own mixtape on the street and get known that way.

What do you think when you hear people calling you the female Eminem?

I don’t know, it’s happening more this year actually than last year. I think Eminem is great so it’s flattering I guess. I don’t take comparisons very seriously because I know I’m the female Iggy Azalea (laughs).

Do you think being a white female rapper is even an issue or not really anymore?

Is it an issue that I’m white? No it’s not because artists are artists and they don’t care if your purple, green, blue, whatever fucking color or race. And as far as consumers go I think they accept me because actually these days the vast majority of people buying rap music is white women.

Was I met with some hostility in some circles? Yes because I think a white female rapper is still relatively new in terms of big success and it was scary. I don’t think it was like ‘oh this is black culture you cant touch this,’ it was more just like ‘oh this is new, it’s a bit scary’ but now everything seems really cool.

Now it’s become more familiar. The consumers are the same as me really, though.

I know you’re a massive Tupac fan. Is ‘what would Tupac do?’ still your go-to question?

Maybe not anymore, I’ve not asked myself that question for a while.

Would you ever sing with a Tupac hologram?

No, never, I would never do anything with Tupac because he is too amazing to me for me to ever feel worthy enough. It’s like saying to someone who is extremely religious, would you dance or sing with a Jesus hologram? I don’t think they would. It’s like that! (laughs)

You have a kind of tough image and you rap some tough lyrics – how much of that is a front; a protective armor?

(Laughs) My mum is always like “oh my sweet girl! You’re so tough on the outside but so sweet on the inside.” I don’t know. Even when I was in Australia I’ve always been that way. Like my best friend used to say to me, “I always see you eat your smile. Like it pops out for a second then you eat it, why’d you do that?” Like I honestly don’t know. If I feel a smile coming on I’ll just eat it! (laughs)

Were you a tomboy growing up?

Oh yeah, massively. I’m from the country! So you have to be tough. But I always loved to dress up and would watch movies and pretend I was from some other place…some other place more fabulous I guess. The aggressive thing I guess comes because I had to fight for everything my whole life. But actually I think I’m nowhere near as aggressive as I was, I think I’ve just found smarter ways to get what I want.

How much do you miss Australia?

Zero. I don’t miss it. I just never felt like I came from there. I speak to my Australian fans on Twitter and they’re amazing but America is my home now. I have no friends in Australia, just a really small family, and of course I miss them but I don’t need to go back and see them all the time. Los Angeles is my home now.

You recently went to India to film your new video “Bounce” – tell me about that. What can fans expect?

It’s my second single called “Bounce,” it should be out on the 6th of May. I knew I wanted an Eastern influence because sonically that’s how it sounds a bit, so we decided to go for India. The directors wanted to shoot it in LA though and I was like “what? No way. Let’s go to India and do it properly.” I almost felt like it would be exploiting a culture to have that theme and borrow their culture and not go over there, and spend some money there and use an Indian film crew and do it really properly. So we went and it was amazing. I said “I want an elephant!” so we got one. I was also taught how to wear all the traditional costumes. So it was very respectful, I didn’t want to go over to India and like get my ass out and offend anyone. It was nice to do something different. I think it’s beautiful and can’t wait for people to see it.

Speaking of ass, I think those little yellow shorts you wear in the “Work” video have their own fanclub now!

(Laughs) I think they do! It’s never-ending.

Have you always had such great body confidence? You do seem so comfortable in your own skin!

As long as I can remember I’ve always been really confident in how I look. I’m weird, I’m strange I think. Because I got teased the entire time at school, there were these girls who just wanted to make my life miserable. I would get teased for anything, like what I would wear. I was just their target. But I didn’t get teased for how I look, I know I have a beautiful face, so I never went through an awkward phase. I was a good-looking kid and I knew that. But I still got teased mercilessly. I think they just felt I was different and they hated that. Also all their mothers were friends and mine wasn’t friends with them. Like their mums were early 40’s and my mum was a bit of a hippy and going to the beach in her G-string! (laughs)

Maybe that’s where you get it from?!

Oh yeah, she was and still is very confident. And that’s inspiring.

Be sure to check out Iggy Azalea’s FacebookTwitter and her official website for everything Iggy!!

This interview was done by Liz McGrath for Highsnobiety.com.

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