The monster that rap created….

Iggy-Azalea-008

I love Iggy Azalea. I think what she’s doing is brilliant. She has taken the rap industry and turned it on its head by coming out with a song, err rap, which highlights her ability to sound like a drowning kitten WHILE racking up over 135 million views on YouTube. That’s right, 135 MILLION YouTube views. You do the math. If only 10 percent of her fans went out and bought her single, she will have sold 13.5 million copies, on one song!

Get yo’ paper girl!

And after all, isn’t that what the rap game has turned into? Cash moves everything around me, CREAM, get the money, Iggy, Iggy, Iggy yawl. The ends justify the means, and if the ends are all about, well, ends (money for those of you less initiated in hip hop vernacular) then Iggy Azalea gets my vote as being the queen bee.

Still, there are the critics who are saying that there’s no way this white Australian should be rapping about the things she’s rapping about.

I believe that this is where her true genius shines. What she has done is pull the sheets off the façade that says this generation’s brand of rap has to have any nutritional value in it.  Today’s brand of salacious cellulose that is saturated in gross consumerism and passing itself off as rap music is audible crack. The first time you hear lyrics and a beat that you like, you’re hooked. Couple that with the visual stimuli of The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous meets ghetto-fabulous and voila, you have found the mixture that is sure to gain you a lot of customers.

And, just like crack, it’s equally as useless and destructive.

Growing up in New South Wales, far from the pot-holed riddled and drug infested southern neighborhoods that created the style of music she does, little Miss Amethyst Amelia Kelly heard her first rap song and decided “I want to be a rap star.” The pull must’ve been so strong that, along the way, she decided to trade in one form of white privilege (Australian heritage, long legs, thin waist, blonde hair, and opaque white skin) and morph herself into the object of overt male misogyny. She traded in one career, which was modeling for one of the top agencies in New York, for some butt injections and “swag-on-demand” when the studio producers yelled “spit” (with lyrics undoubtedly written for her).

One of her first hits to go viral was a song about a part of a woman’s anatomy that rhymes with the name Delores. Her audience was primarily comprised of hard living, what I call “catfish folks” who either don’t understand or appreciate the art of subtlety.  She put it all out there, and then capitalized on flaunting her “otherness” to a people programmed to be envious of the very physical traits that she was genetically pre-disposed to have.

Think about it. She already had the hair texture that she witnessed many of her rap contemporaries spend hours, and thousands of dollars, to get their hair to look like. She already had the white skin, sans skin bleaching creams and who knows whatever else many of her other women of color artist were doing. She learned how to rap with the inflection, and the swag, of a rapper from the “dirty-dirty”. She even started dating from what I am sure was a very willing, and eligible, pool of black men.

What Iggy Azalea has done, rather what rap music in its degenerated bastardized form has allowed her to do, is to become the face for a new kind of minstrel act. Like Dr. Frankenstein, she is the monster that rap has created.

In the earliest days of minstrel the performers were exclusively white. They performed in black face to white audiences who were very comfortable with seeing the buffoonery and racially insulting caricatures of black people. What Iggy Azalea has done is a hybrid of minstrel act and survival in a male dominated industry. I have no doubt that she is truly a fan of this style of rap music, and as a woman she is doing what she feels is necessary to succeed in this genre. But, what is most damaging now is that black people have a much greater degree of control over our image than we did back in the 1830’s and 1840’s. The best that we can do is to equate having a big booty and over-exaggerated sex appeal as a mark of approval for a woman rapper?

The repetitive message that most of today’s top rap artist broadcast is as healthy as the residue of a used crack pipe.

This is why I like Iggy Azalea. Her presence atop the charts right now is a mirror that this present rap industry should look into and see that they are the emperor who is wearing no clothes, that they are the evil mastermind that has gathered the parts of a thousand dead bodies and recreated something that has no soul. They’re the ones who have made it very easy for someone like her, and the multitudes that will surely follow, to become the maniacally unpredictable brute who roams the countryside.

So keep on doing it, and doing it and doing it well Miss Kelly.  Maybe one day someone in the rap “game” will wake up from their THC induced haze and realize that they’ve allowed one of the greatest musical art forms on the planet to degenerate into a watered down minstrel show.  But, until then, Iggy Azalea you really are fancy.

Advertisements

3 responses to “The monster that rap created….

  1. NextLevel

    Unfortunately, the vast majority of people posting comments under this article didn’t read it or aren’t smart enough to understand its intent. The overriding thesis of the article is that Iggy Azalea’s presence in rap shows just how contrived the musical genre/lifestyle has become. “They” only love Iggy in that she reinforces the ridiculousness of the industry. They not only want people to call her out for what she is -a fake, but rap to “return” to its roots. The first premise of this article is spot on. When I first saw the video “Fancy” and listened to her rap, I was furious; it was just a visceral reaction. I was “raised” on the SugarHill Gang, Rakim, EPMD, Public Enemy, KRS-1 (and so many more artists) during the 80′s. Regardless of race, the one thing you could say about most if not all of these rappers was that they were authentic. You knew the way they rapped was a product of their upbringing, their hood, their family, and their friends. When PAC raps on “To Live In Die In LA,” “cause would it be LA without Mexicans?/ Black love brown pride and the sets again /Pete Wilson trying to see us all broke, I’m on some bullshit / Out for everything they owe, remember K-DAY / Weekends, Crenshaw — MLK Automatics rang free, niggas lost they way/ Gang signs being showed, nigga love your hood, But recognize and it’s all good,” we know that PAC is rapping about what he actually felt, in the way he raps, about the real struggle of being both poor and black in the inner city. More importantly, in a few lines, he calls out a Republican Governor who was terrible for California, shows some love to other minorities in the struggle, and calls out some for losing their way. While PAC was himself an imperfect and complicated individual who was a product of the streets, in constant contradiction between how to be man, love women, live his life, the one thing that we can say is, he was authentic. When Iggy raps on “Murda Bizness” (precariously spelled to insinuate just how “gansta” she is) “Kill bitches dead, click clack bang bang/It’s a Murda Bizness” it is laughable hyperbole. More importantly, the way she raps with those “who dat, who dat?” on “Fancy” should be insulting. Unintended or not, Iggy is the Pat Boone of this generation, but not even ashamed enough to hide it. Iggy simply studied what she saw in popular rap and imitated it. I wouldn’t have an issue with her if she rapped using her real voice about real things. In her current iteration, she is simply nonsense. However, to put all of this on the back of some kid from Australia ignores the greater issue with rap. In an attempt to cash-in, rap, like all American pastimes, sold itself out. Everyone was looking to “get paid,” understandably, but not calling out wack rappers: 2Live Crew -black-face on black-face-these clowns were the West-coast Hip Hop of their time, selling out Urban stereotypes for profit, later rappers like Soulja Boy and Rick Ross, a prison guard turned “gangsta,” prove this has been happening for a long time.

    • Thanks for understanding the underlying message of my opinion piece. I thought I had made it clear that her ascendancy in rap music is an indictment against today’s rap music industry and not a greater statement about her skills or lack thereof. I can never be mad at someone who figures out the sweet spot and then works it. The problem, as you so aptly noted, is that rap has degenerated into a clown act with a bullseye that is the size of the state of Texas. Thanks for your feedback and your insight.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s