Sunday, 11 May 2014
''The New Classic'' Iggy Azalea - A Review
Iggy Azalea gave us plenty of reasons to listen to The New Classic before its eventual release this year; there was her extraordinary background story, a duo of mixtapes released over the past 2 years featuring input from an impressive set of producers including mentor TI and Diplo, and then this year came a pair of fantastic charting singles in ''Work'' and especially ''Fancy'', a number one worldwide smash hit that has demanded mainstream attention over the past month. All of this points to the possible introduction of a new female hip-hop talent with crossover appeal to boot, so does Azalea's debut album deliver star quality?
Not quite. The New Classic has its moments for sure, but they're too few and far between to ever really provide a coherent product. Those moments come mainly in the form of songs we've already heard, such as the two lead singles, which boast excellent production skills and real vocal talent from Azalea. ''Fancy'' in particular is comfortably the album highlight one of the singles of 2014 thus far, making great use of another like minded artist in Charli XCX to compliment Iggy's bars. And that itself is one of the standout features of Azalea's repertoire; she can really rap. Unlike other similar female rap stars, Azalea is a real, passionate hip-hop head and this serves to make the stunning Australian stand out from a large crowd of female talent in her genre at the moment.
Other highlights include electro tinged, rap heavy album opener ''Walk The Line'', smooth R'n'B jam ''Don't Need Y'all'' and a solid run of braggadoccio tracks toward the end of proceedings from ''Impossible Is Nothing'' to ''Lady Patra'', but there are a number of problems with the remainder of the tracklist that drag The New Classic down. ''Fuck Love'' closes the album on a bad note with a repetitive, empty hook that Azalea should look to avoid in the future if she wants to be a credible artist rather than merely a loud/controversial one, while other tracks like ''100'' and ''Change Your Life'' are no more than weak chart bait with underwhelming production that Iggy responds badly too. Conversely, ''New Bitch'' is only saved by the cool synths that distract the listener from a lyrically woeful track.
If we're to focus on the positive aspects of The New Classic for a moment, credit is due to Iggy for bringing across a typically male style rap persona (with the ego, brash style and delivery) with absolutely no fear or reproach of herself, an element that deserves praise in itself- Azalea executes a style that could so easily have gone laughably wrong with a comfortable and assured personality. In addition to this, it certainly wouldn't be crazy to suggest that the Australian has learned a thing or two from ex-boyfriend A$AP Rocky regarding choice of production style, with several areas of Classic recalling Rocky's debut early last year due to their cold, dreamy synth style.
With that said it's also true that the producers here are guilty of making and breaking some tracks as Watch The Duck and The Messengers create the most average beats here and in turn the most average tunes- when Iggy is backed up correctly here, she usually responds well. It's a real shame too that the potential of the album is never realized either; the industry could really use some strong female rappers, so it's hard not to think of The New Classic as a missed opportunity.
At the end of it all, The New Classic is an inconsistent debut, but one with some great pop rap moments that make the experience worthwhile and give us reason to believe that Azalea can sharpen up and focus on her abilities while ignoring her impulse to lean toward the limelight with superficial chart fillers. While not as impressive as recent debuts like True Romance and No Mythologies To Follow, The New Classic shouldn't be dismissed; Iggy has a style that will keep her interesting and relevant for a while yet, let's just hope she uses that time to hone herself into a more adept, conclusive artist.