Get­ting with jiggy Iggy

Meet Iggy Aza­lea, the hottest act in mu­sic now.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By KENNETH CHAW en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

WHEN we say hip-hop phe­nom­e­non Iggy Aza­lea had to get dirty be­fore be­com­ing fa­mous, we mean it lit­er­ally.

“I had al­ready dropped out (of school) for about a year and I was clean­ing houses full-time,” Aza­lea, 24, shared can­didly last month on the Chelsea

Lately show. Asked about the most hor­rid thing she came across while work­ing as a cleaner and the Aus­tralian chart-top­per told host Chelsea Han­dler, “You’d be sur­prised. I found poo once on a door­mat ... which is not where poo be­longs. “It was one of those spiky door­mats that gets the dirt off the bot­tom of your shoes. And it was def­i­nitely hu­man.” Yikes! Thank­fully, those days are gone. The only thing she is clean­ing up these days are the top spots of ma­jor mu­sic charts. Aza­lea is only the sec­ond artiste to have a song ranked No.1 ( Fancy with Charli XCX) and No. 2 ( Prob­lem with Ari­ana Grande) at the same time on the Bill­board Hot 100 chart, match­ing a record made by the Bea­tles 50 years ago.

But how did the rap­per go from mop­ping floors to hit­ting the roof of mu­sic charts?

Amethyst Amelia Kelly, or bet­ter known by her stage name as Iggy Aza­lea, grew up in a mud brick house built by her fa­ther, a comic artist, in a lit­tle town called Mul­lumbimby in New South Wales. Not ex­actly the kind of en­vi­ron­ment one would imag­ine this fu­ture hip-hop “It” girl grow­ing up in.

“She al­ways had the am­bi­tion to be the fe­male equiv­a­lent of Eminem,” Aza­lea’s mother, Tanya, told Aus­tralian daily The North­ern

Star, adding her first ex­po­sure to hip-hop had been when a teacher taught her class to rap in pri­mary school.

Aza­lea started rap­ping at age 14, but knew if she wanted to chase af­ter her dreams, she had to leave.

“I did love grow­ing up there (in Mul­lumbimby), and I love be­ing from the coun­try. It was so hard to leave, but it was also hard to ad­mit you had as­pi­ra­tions. In small towns, es­pe­cially, you get laughed at and shut down,” she shared with The Aus­tralian.

And so it was to be. Us­ing the money she had saved up while clean­ing houses with her mother, Aza­lea left for the United States to pur­sue a mu­si­cal ca­reer at age 16.

But the road to suc­cess was a wind­ing and un­cer­tain one. She ar­rived first in Mi­ami on a tourist visa, stay­ing with a friend’s fam­ily.

“In Mi­ami, I had friends get me jobs un­der the ta­ble, be­cause I couldn’t work le­git­i­mately over here ... I’d be stay­ing with friends, mov­ing around to dif­fer­ent cities, try­ing to rap and find people that would let me record in stu­dios,” she told Com­plex mag­a­zine, adding that she did ev­ery­thing from sell­ing fake gift cards to start­ing up an on­line hair busi­ness to sus­tain her­self.

“It was hard for me (to rap in Mi­ami) be­cause I didn’t know any­one that did mu­sic. It’s like, ‘Where do I go? Who do I talk to for this?’” she shared.

Aza­lea even­tu­ally moved to Hous­ton, then At­lanta and fi­nally Los Angeles, each time in search of big­ger and bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Aza­lea kept knock­ing on doors and they fi­nally flung wide open in 2011 af­ter she

up­loaded a con­tro­ver­sial, sex­u­ally-ex­plicit mu­sic video (so much so that its ti­tle is deemed un­print­able) on YouTube.

The video, which sees the gor­geous, stat­uesque blonde clad in a tube top and bright yel­low pants rap­ping about the fe­male gen­i­talia, went vi­ral. Per­haps be­cause, for a change, it wasn’t an­other black male rap­per boast­ing about his “tool”. Crit­ics loved her, with even The New York

Times singing her praises, stat­ing, “If the white women of the world can pos­si­bly pro­duce one su­per­star rap­per, Iggy Aza­lea could be it.”

“I think that we are at a point where hiphop has evolved. Now we are at a time where a white girl can put a song out and people will start to say, ‘oh, maybe this can work’,” said Aza­lea, who along with white fe­male rap­pers Kreayshawn and K.Flay are push­ing the bound­aries of hip hop mu­sic.

“Hip-hop used to be black cul­ture, now it’s so much more. Hip-hop evolved and so did the people that lis­tened to it,” she said in

Com­plex mag­a­zine. Af­ter of­fers came “from nearly ev­ery la­bel” (as she stated in a Bill­board in­ter­view), Aza­lea re­leased her de­but al­bum, The New Clas­sic, un­der Is­land records (an im­print of Uni­ver­sal Mu­sic) April this year.

The al­bum peaked at No.1 on the Bill­board r&B/Hip-Hop Al­bums chart while Fancy has spent four weeks now on the Bill­board Hot 100. And to have a white fe­male rap­per equal The Bea­tles’ record, that says some­thing.

“I want younger gen­er­a­tions to look back on what we’re do­ing now and say, ‘I wish I was a teenager in 2014’. I come from an era of kids who are al­ways be­ing told that what we make is not clas­sic,” she ex­plained the mean­ing be­hind the al­bum’s ti­tle.

“But my al­bum says to people my age, ‘Don’t de­value that we can be cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant – be­cause we can be’.”

Game changer: ‘hip-hop used to be black cul­ture, now it’s so much more. hip-hop

evolved and so did the people who lis­tened to it,’

said Iggy aza­lea.

aza­lea has been dat­ing nBa star nick young for a year now.

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