Moms called early Friday morning and caught me off guard. Considering we talk less than she would like and I initiate most calls, the context of this conversation – in my paranoid mind – didn’t look good. When the confusion settled in and I finally answered, I was indeed startled by the topic my relatively dated mother was bringing up.
Apparently, I-GG-Y was performing on her Today Show staple that morning and my mom was feeling some type of way. However, considering her excitement, I was surprised when she finally unveiled her opinion on pop rap’s hottest female MC.
After reminded me how she basically grew up listening to rap when I did, from all the cars rides she used to give me and mix CDs I’ve given her in return, my fired up florist mother started talking about how T.I.’s leading lady had “no soul, no substance and no angst.” Somewhat caught off guard by her out of the box snap judgement, I couldn’t argue with her. Nail. Head. She’s spot on. Moreso, that’s really the problem with most of rap in 2014, period.
In an era when major label advertising dictates what’s hot in the streets and not vice versa, the genre has become more watered down than ever. Rappers are run of the mill. Artists bicker for publicity, rather than promote via collaboration. News gets more views than music. Dance skills mean more than talent. Brand building is fueled by publicity, not quality.
That being said, of course Iggy Azalea works. The Australian transport is white hot, literally and figuratively and with pun intended. Her production quality fits the industry standard, whether DJ Mustard produced her singles or not. Azalea’s tough girl style is slick, whether it’s natural or ghostwritten.
Maybe even more importantly, her Grand Hustle support system already knew how to capitalize on crossover markets and now have someone who doesn’t have prison stints in their past. Iggy should be winning. It was already in the cards, whether she got an extra push or not.
But, that doesn’t excuse her from not having substance.
Her album didn’t give any insight into who she is as a person – a trait that historically makes good artists great. Her singles all ring the same vein of tough confidence, which will eventually wear thin. In reality, people like my mom don’t like Iggy Azalea because they’ve seen so many artists come and go and know there’s no shelf life for someone who limits their humanity and ultimately their creativity. Growing up, I can attest, as half the rappers I used to love have fallen victim to their own lack of individuality.
Right now, Iggy Azalea is on top of the world. But, unless she starts to interject some of the soul my mom’s calling for, her reign atop the charts won’t last for long.
It’s so obvious, even a parent can see.