“A dope MC, is a dope MC.” -KRS One
It seems like every day there is a new headline about up-and-coming artist, Iggy Azalea. It was announced recently that she is nominated for several VMAs, will host MTV’s House of Style, and has a role in Fast & Furious 7. When an artist sits atop the charts (as Iggy has all summer), making headlines comes with the territory.
It was another headline though — that Iggy had broken Lil’ Kim’s record for longest running #1 song by a female rapper — that left me cold. How can a woman best-known for pop hits be the new hip-hop record holder?
Pardon me, but I grew up listening to female emcees like Monie Love, Queen Latifah, Yo-Yo, and MC Lyte. There was Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown and Lauryn Hill. Eve, Left Eye and Da Brat. I memorized their lyrics — not necessarily because I related to all of them — but because these ladies were skilled. Each possessed her own unique style of cadence and delivery. Their flows did more than just rhyme. They also made sense. They were witty, raunchy, and their bars rivaled those of their male counterparts. Their lyrics resonated because of their authenticity. And it was empowering to hear a woman stepping into her truth and owning it like that.
The song “Fancy,” which dethroned Lil’ Kim as rap’s reigning Billboard queen, doesn’t evoke those same feelings. The lyrics are catchy but there is a lack of authenticity. Iggy begins her “Fancy” flow with “first things first, I’m the realest.” An interesting declaration from an Australian woman who intentionally raps in an American accent. In another line she claims to be “bringing ‘88 back”? Bringing it back from where, I wonder? Iggy was born in 1990 so she’s “reminiscing” about a time when she wasn’t even born. Is that an era she is partial to? Does she have a thing for the number 8? Or is she just mimicking the sentiments of older, more established emcees?