Forbes has pinpointed the new leader of Hip-Hop and she happens to be a “white blonde Australian woman,” who goes by the stage name of Iggy Azalea. The 23-year-old rapper is the game’s most exciting “new artist” who again, just so happens to be White.
The article, which was titled “Hip Hop Is Run By A White, Blonde, Australian Woman” has now been titled “Hip-Hop’s Unlikely New Star”, and is penned by contributor Hugh McIntrye. He hinges a hypothesis of Azalea’s reign over Hip-Hop on the success of her debut, The New Classic . The album pushed less than 55,000 units in week one, giving her the highest charting debut from a female rapper since Nicki Minaj’s 2010 Pink Friday debut sold 325,000 copies in seven days. The impressive, but far from earth-shattering sales feat is doubly notable “considering she is a brand new name in this country,” the articles states.
Unfortunately, Forbes has their facts wrong.
Azalea is hardly “brand new,” in America, and certainly not in Hip-Hop. In 2012 she became the first female rapper included among XXL’s annual Freshman class list, and over the last couple years she continued to release music, and kept her touring game strong. She hardly dropped out of the sky and into the Hip-Hop record books, and doesn’t own the genre as a result.
According to Forbes however, Azalea has been outfitted with the brave task of breaking color barriers, in addition to being a female rapper:
Making a name for yourself as a woman and hip hop is laudable enough, forget the fact that she is a white, blonde, Australian woman. In a genre dominated almost exclusively by African-American men she sticks out like a statuesque thumb.
In fact, women are so few and far between in the field that the Grammys had to discard their separate category, which many genres had up for years. For a few years there was a Best Female Rap Solo Performance and one for men, but it was discontinued after only two trophies were given out (both to Missy Elliott). After that, both rap and rock only gave out one trophy, and almost always to a man.
Azalea has indeed earned her stripes and is deserving of recognition, as the article points out. She stands as the first female rapper to simultaneously have two songs in the Top 5 on Billboard’s Hot 100, by way of “Fancy” her own single, and Ariana Grande’s “Problem” ( both pop records) of which she is featured. On the other hand, she’s doesn’t necessarily “stick out like a sore thumb.” For one, Hip-Hop embraces white rappers (shocking, we know), and Azalea was co-signed by T.I. She didn’t shoot to stardom out of nowhere, all while crossing such huge color lines in the process.
Later in the piece, Minaj is pitted against Azalea as if the two are competing. The Young Money Barbie has somehow already been defeated:
For the past several years, Nicki Minaj has been the prominent woman in hip hop, but it seems there has been a change. Not only has Minaj been oddly quiet for months, she has said she will no longer be releasing radio-ready pop/hip hop blends, instead going back to her pure rap roots, leaving a void to be filled by none other than Iggy.
Of course, Minaj hasn’t been “oddly quiet for months,” nor has she left a void that Azalea happily filled. She’s been heavily releasing new music, particularly in the last few months. Keeping her name, face, music, and curves in the public eye, is a big part of her promotional strategy— and a roadmap for Azalea to follow, should she choose to do so.
In short, Azalea’s hard work is paying off. This doesn’t mean she runs Hip-Hop.
Perhaps Forbes never got that memo.
Click below to see a few gratuitous flicks of Hip-Hop’s new queen!