Woman Crush Wednesday: Iggy Azalea

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           She is Amethyst Amelia Kelly, better known by her stage name Iggy Azalea. She is an Australian rapper from Mullumbimby, New South Wales. She left for the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a career in hip hop music, first residing in Miami, Florida, and then other parts of the southern United States, including Houston, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia. She first gained recognition after the respective music videos for her controversial songs “Pu$$y” and “Two Times” went viral on YouTube. In September 2011, she released her debut mixtape Ignorant Art and subsequently aligned herself with Atlanta-based rapper T.I. In March 2012, T.I. announced Azalea‘s signing to his record label imprint Grand Hustle. In July 2012, she released an EP executive-produced by T.I., titled Glory. Later, she went into professional modeling, became represented by Wilhelmina Models and was announced as the “New Face of Levi Jeans“. Also in 2012, Azalea became both the first female and the first non-American rapper to be featured on XXL‘s annual Top 10 Freshmen cover issue.

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           After label conflicts, her debut studio album The New Classic was finally released on 21 April 2014, under Virgin EMI and Def Jam Recordings. The album debuted among the top five of several charts worldwide and received generally mixed reviews. The album was preceded by four singles, “Work“, “Bounce“, “Change Your Life” (featuring T.I.) and “Fancy” (featuring Charli XCX). “Fancy” went on to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, with Azalea becoming only the fourth solo female rapper ever to top the Hot 100. Additionally, with Azalea featured on Ariana Grande‘s single “Problem“, which rose to number two on the Hot 100, the same week “Fancy” topped the chart, Azalea joined The Beatles as the only acts to rank at numbers one and two simultaneously with their first two Hot 100 hits. Additionally, Azalea went on to pass Lil’ Kim as the female rapper with the longest-leading number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 and moved into a tie for fifth place, among lead women who have scored the longest commands on the Hot 100 this decade.

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           Although Azalea is Australian, she raps with a Southern American accent. When she first moved to America, she was involved in the Southern hip hop scene of Miami and later Atlanta, which made it easy for her to cultivate the Southern influence in her music: “I lived in the South for five years; you pick up things from your surroundings and teachers. The people who taught me to rap are all from the South and so was the music I had listened to as a teen.” While Azalea‘s debut extended play Glory was intended to focus on hardcore-rap, the EP also touched up on other genres including electronic dance music.

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           Although Azalea began rapping at the age of 14, she was infatuated with hip hop from age 11 when she heard Tupac Shakur‘s “Baby Don’t Cry (Keep Ya Head Up II)“: “It was the song that made me fall in love with music and also what sparked my Tupac fascination. That would later make me pick up my own pen and write songs”. In her early interviews, Azalea regularly mentioned Shakur‘s influence: “I was sickly obsessed. I had every picture of Tupac ever printed on my wall”. She has also mentioned Missy Elliott as the female rapper who she is influenced by and admires the most. Outside of music, her fashion sense is influenced by various people such as Grace Kelly, Lil’ Kim, Gwen Stefani, Spice Girls, Victoria Beckham, and Fran Drescher.

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           In late 2011, Iggy Azalea began dating American rapper ASAP Rocky, whom she met through American record producer Chase N. Cashe. She confirmed that they were dating in a January 2012 interview with Vibe. It was around this time that she got the title of Rocky‘s breakout mix tape Live. Love. A$AP, tattooed on her fingers. She had claimed she was not the only one with tattoos dedicated to the relationship, just Rocky‘s were not visible. In July 2012, Rocky stated they were no longer dating. In March 2013, Azalea revealed she had crossed out the “A$AP” part of the tattoo months previously. She has been in a relationship with Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Nick Young, an American, since November 2013. Azalea and Young were featured in the March 2014 issue of GQ magazine.

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To know more about Iggy Azalea, just go here: http://iggyazalea.com/

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