Iggy Azalea’s ‘The New Classic’: Album Review

Apr 22nd, 2014 // 6 Comments
Iggy's Clueless
iggy azalea charli xcx fancy clueless
She & Charli XCX pay tribute to the film in their "Fancy" video. Read More »
Iggy & Keyshia
The ladies resurrect "I'm Coming Out." Read More »
Iggy Gets Racy
iggy azalea gq top
Iggy strips down for a GQ shoot with her boyfriend. Read More »
Iggy Tour Dates
She's heading on a spring tour to celebrate her debut LP release. Read More »
Iggy Azalea The New Classic

Trials, tribulations, the desire to succeed — a rapper’s motivation is vital to their work, yet there’s seemingly little driving Iggy Azalea‘s “Fancy.” A breezy single featuring Charli XCX which charted as Azalea’s biggest hit yet, “Fancy” drops only a solitary hint in its Clueless-inspired video that the Aussie rapper gives a damn about street cred – a whiteboard listing candidates for GOAT emcee (Eminem, Andre 3000, Jay Z). And that’s fine. After the past few years of lackluster, unhelpful guest verses from male rappers (Rick Ross, Big Sean and, actually, Jay Z), Azalea’s “Fancy” reminds instead that, yes, rap can get along with BFF pop.

Unfortunately, the rest of Azalea’s major label debut The New Classic (out today, ) doesn’t have that spark.

Debut single “Work” comes closest to how Azalea described The New Classic‘s sound: “fairly electronic, like moombahton mixed with hip-hop.” This trendy sonic palette picks up where 2012 mixtape TrapGold (executive-produced by Diplo and FKi‘s 1stDown) left off, and even allows for a well-intentioned dancehall tribute (“Lady Patra”), but most of the album simply sounds stale.

“Work” stands out because it offers still-rare autobiographical details for curious critics: three jobs, years of saving, “No money, no family / 16 in the middle of Miami.” It’s an effective riposte to questions about her credibility sparked by her XXL Freshmen nod (Azalea was the first woman to be included), far more than the canned lyrical responses that crowd the rest of The New Classic: the Wyclef Jean-inspired “100,” the career-as-wedding-ceremony (“Walk the Line”), the rap game “busy” trap (“Don’t Need Y’all”). The tepid “Impossible Is Nothing” hints at “storms” and “goals” like posters in a school guidance counselor’s office.

Many Hot 100 rappers get away with just as little effort, though The New Classic disappoints because it has none of the personality seen in Azalea’s interview responses.

In those chats, critics usually point to the disconnect between real-world Iggy and her music, and how her Aussie accent and candor clash with her in-studio flow and braggadocio (cultivated by mentor T.I.). The New Classic shows that the trouble with Azalea’s adopted accent isn’t the thing itself, but that it leaves no room for variety. Whether she’s being encouraging (“Impossible”) or catty (“New Bitch”), detailing her breakup with A$AP Rocky (bonus track “Rolex”) or straight-up bragging (“Change Your Life”), Azalea has her perma-scowl on autopilot.

Azalea’s raps used to point out that she was white, beating detractors to the punch. She doesn’t go there on The New Classic, as if the album was a crowning achievement – proof of how she beat the odds as a seemingly unlikely Tupac fan who moved to the country where hip hop was born, and became a rapper desired by the biggest magazines in the worlds of rap and fashion. As off-the-wall as that sounds, The New Classic makes Azalea’s Cinderella story seem rather ordinary.

Idolator Score: 2.5/5

Christina Lee

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.

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  1. PJ

    2.5/5? are u kidding me. the album is AMAZING!!!!

  2. Pablo

    Damn, Idolator still throwing Shade Iggy’s way.

    They didn’t even do a
    “Best song” or “Best to listen to when”

    That’s how you know they’re mad at her.

  3. Lew

    How are you going to judge an album after one listen? Live with it for 2-6 weeks and then come back and judge. I hate reviewers that can’t live with an album that just came out and hasn’t been in the world for more than 60 hours.

  4. Sam

    I love how people get so offended on here when the reviewer gives an album from an artist they love middling remarks.
    As someone who listened to her work before “Work” was released, my anticipation was high for this album. “Work” was probably the best rap song I’ve heard in quite some time. But then “Bounce” was released and I started to get a little nervous.
    This album isn’t by any means terrible, but after the highs of “Work,” “Change Your Life,” and “Fancy,” it is a bit of a letdown.
    As far as female rap debuts go, I’d rate it lower than Lil Kim’s “Hardcore,” Foxy Brown’s “Ill Na Na,” MIssy Elliot’s “Supa Dupa Fly,” and Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday.” Sure the album has its moments, but for an album titled “The New Classic,” it’s anything but. Sorry to say, but it’s true.
    I think many of her fans are such in a high right now from “Fancy” and just loving Iggy period that of course immediately they’d jump to the conclusion that it’s the best album ever. That’s just what kids seem to do these days. They get defensive when someone else says otherwise.

  5. Allan

    I think you’ve written a good review here. Work and Fancy got me really excited about Iggy. Unfortunately, I’m a little upset at EVERY other song.

  6. Sean

    I mean it’s not the greatest work and it’s a far reach to be titled a “New Classic” but a 2.5/5? Really?

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