This summer, I could not help but be annoyed with entertainment journalism. If we were not talking about Beyoncé for the umpteenth time, we were talking about Iggy Azalea. And while there were a few articles that had legitimate concerns about the reigning musical superstar, most were just repetitive banter that went nowhere.
By now, we get it, old-school hip-hop connoisseurs: you think Ms. Azalea is an untalented white rapper that doesn't fit your conventional idea of what the genre should be. And to my generation who constantly jump on the bandwagon of trashing her and acting as though race is the only thing giving her the upper advantage of knocking out other female MCs, guess again.
I place the blame on the current state of female hip-hop, the forever growing resistance for music taste to evolve and us, the consumers.
First, I am not at all saying that Iggy Azalea is a saint. She obviously hascommitted some grave offenses in some of her lyrics and does indeed deserve to be called out like any other rapper who does such. However, perhaps she is receiving more shade for being the Little Red Riding Hood who stepped into the hip-hop woods of pre-defined blackness. Because, you know... people now feel they have the authority to accuse others of inserting an entire subculture of race dialect into music.
People are mad that Iggy Azalea has a #1 Billboard Hot 100 record, something that Nicki Minaj has never had and only been the runner up to twice with such hits as "Super Bass" and "Starships." It was those mainstream appeals that took Nicki Minaj away from giving us her mixtape rawness in replacement for a more popish sound.
Which brings me to my next point: if it was okay for Nicki to leave hip-hop and take a quick visit to pop... why are we so mad that Iggy Azalea has done the same? I hope her being white isn't the only real cause for it.
The current state of female hip-hop edge has declined due to the evolution of them crossing over the pop sound bridge... and that was before Azalea stepped in the studio. We would be hypocrites if we are to badger Iggy for not coming hard enough in her lyricism and not put Nicki in check for turning her back on redefining the genre that she so now feels the audacity to make judgment calls for.
No, no, no shade, Ms. Minaj, but when we are talking about "authenticity," I think Lil Kim is somewhere having a legitimate reason to raise an eyebrow. Which only heightens the issue when outside of Iggy, the rest of the black female MCs are beefing or taking shots at one another while she is able to focus on solidifying her presence.
While Lil Kim continues to go after Nicki Minaj and the former still feels the need to throw jabs as well, are they not recognizing that they are hurting the unity of the very genre they hold so high in regard against Ms. Azalea?
Which brings me to my next point: music is an art form that no one truly has the agency to control its evolution. What annoys me about many of the music critics out here criticizing Iggy Azalea's success is that they have yet to talk about the other times in music when artists mixed it up.
Let's instead spend more time discussing how R&B has seriously taken a different turn with Chris Brown trying to rap more in songs than sing or how Trey Songz latest album really was more of a soft hip-hop record than a more vocal-filled sound piece. Music changes with the fads and trends of what an artist and society wants. I still stand by the belief that it wouldn't be hot if people weren't buying it.
That takes me to my final point: consumers, if we want better music... we have to actually buy it. I'm not making a judgment call on whether or not Iggy Azalea is "real hip-hop" or not. I personally enjoy "Fancy" and when I jam out to it, I don't necessary place the taste in whether or not she is conventionally rapping like the great MCs of the past or not. I just find the song to be a fun tune to bop to. For those out there who disagree, how about consume more of the artist that you like instead of constantly bashing the young MC.
New Rule: for every time you see someone on social media post a link to an Iggy Azalea song, instead of commenting, just promote the artist you think is better and hopefully enlighten those who don't know about them. Because all of this press about her is only going to cement her presence in an industry that you feel she doesn't belong in.
And that is why all these articles about Iggy Azalea are pointless. The song is personally catchy and while others will hate me for saying this... it will also not be the downfall as to why hip-hop will decline.
It will be in the constant petty beefs and disappointing pop transformations of hip-hop heavyweights. It will be in the resistance not to embrace new sounds and recognize that it does not necessarily speak to the relevance of another. It will be in how consumers choose what is hot and what is not by spending more time bashing one artist while not supporting their personal favorite.
It will not be Iggy Azalea, for although I do personally enjoy the fun she brings to music, I know she most likely won't last too long unless she mixes it up. But once she takes that step outside the limelight, it will still not fix the overarching problem. We will need to do more instead of finding another scapegoat as for why hip-hop is in the mess that it is now.
It's time for a real intervention.