- Iggy Azalea’s 10 best songs ranked
- 10 ‘Pu$$y’
- 9 ‘Slo.’
- 8 ‘Don’t Need Y’all’
- 7 ‘Goddess’
- 6 ‘Yo El Ray’
- 5 ‘Demons’
- 4 ‘Trouble’ feat. Jennifer Hudson
- 3 ‘Work’
- 2 ‘1 800 Bone’
- 1 ‘Fancy’ feat. Charli XCX
- Biography Newsletters
- Who Is Iggy Azalea?
- Hip Hop Fan With Australian Beginnings
- Iggy Moves to America, Learns Southern Rap Style
- Iggy’s ‘The New Classic’ Album Soars, Grammy Nominations
- Love Life, Plastic Surgery and ‘Survive the Summer’
- ‘In My Defense’ and Nude Photo Leak
- Why Lizzo Dethroning Iggy Azalea Is So Damn Important
- The Top 10 Workout Songs from Iggy Azalea
- Iggy Azalea Has The Worst Song on the Top 10 Pop Charts
Iggy Azalea’s 10 best songs ranked
Iggy Azalea has work, work, worked her way into the upper echelons of pop rap, so here’s a rundown of her 10 greatest hits to remind you, if nothing else, why we put up with her.
Iggy Azalea has caught flak for coming across as white privilege incarnate – her debut mixtape’s title, ‘Ignorant Art’, seemed amusingly perceptive to haters. Iggy was mimicking Atlanta accents, sending questionable Tweets and using black twerkers as props before radical cultural insensitivity was in fashion, and ‘Pu$$y’, taken from ‘Ignorant Art’, is the crux of her problematic pop allure. In a good way? You decide.
This ice-cold kiss-off to a heartless ex skitters uncertainly from “don’t give a fuck” to “could try this shit again”, but you can’t help feeling for Azalea. “You fucked her on my birthday and that’s what really hurt the most,” she spits at one point, which sounds like a fair quibble, really.
8 ‘Don’t Need Y’all’
Sure, it’s so Drake it’s running through the 6 clutching a bottle of Patron while its mum laughs at its love life, but ‘Don’t Need Y’all’ is a welcome moment of reflection on ‘The New Classic’, gifted with a mellow beat that sounds like heaven’s own bath music.
‘Goddess’ is typical self-hagiography from Azalea, its “Bow down to a Goddess” mantra sounding like a less charismatic Kanye. But its eerily chiming, Eastern-backalley vibes complement the verse-raps like a charm, and the chorus is genuinely epic. We’re less “bowing down” than “doffing caps”, but it’s something.
6 ‘Yo El Ray’
Azalea nabbed Diplo, appropriator-extraordinaire, for her ‘Trapgold’ mixtape. ‘Yo El Ray’ doesn’t let you forget it: “It’s pronounced ‘Iggy’, bitch, and he is Diplo,” goes the hook. Thankfully, her boasts here are earned, the song’s insistent, syncopated beat shuffling under a berserker flow that destroys any scepticism about the shaky wordplay.
This Sleigh Bells-sampling number might’ve endeared Azalea to the hipsters of the world, if she hadn’t spent the rest of her career doing all in her power to alienate them. Nonetheless, the song stands up as a certifiable banger, a perfect soundtrack for the kind of down-dirty club basements that leave your shoes covered in mysterious liquid.
4 ‘Trouble’ feat. Jennifer Hudson
This perky takedown of a tattooed troublemaker hits the sweet spot between craven soul-pop crossover and wind-the-windows-down anthem. The unfussy beat gets into your head, and Jennifer Hudson’s impassioned chorus ensures it sticks.
The intro to ‘Work’ sets an unpromising scene: its “tryin’ to let you know what I’ve been through” voiceover seems to herald a misguided feel-my-pain anthem. But from the opening verse, it proves alarmingly on-point: “Two feet in the red dirt, school skirt, sugar cane, back lanes,” she raps of her Australia youth, before toppling into hyperspeed over interstellar trap beats that border on cosmic bliss.
2 ‘1 800 Bone’
Consigned to the ‘TrapGold’ mixtape, ‘1 800 Bone’ is all the more impressive for its hidden-weapon status. The low-key track doesn’t fully take off till the 1m40 mark, when, out of nowhere, Azalea rolls into the firiest verse of her career over a subverted, through-the-floorboards party beat.
1 ‘Fancy’ feat. Charli XCX
Despite her malfunctioning moral compass, Azalea has rocketed through the airways and become one of the biggest rap stars on the planet. Listening to a song like ‘Fancy’, you sort of get it. Anchored by a brilliantly vacuous chorus from Charli XCX, the track ricochets from verse to verse with infectious bravado, swaggering from LA to Tokyo in one culture-crossing step. To quote Charli in the chorus, “Keep on turning it up”.
Who Is Iggy Azalea?
Iggy Azalea is a hip hop anomaly, a rank outsider who gained acceptance in the world of urban music before conquering the pop mainstream. A sassy blonde white Australian who raps in an incongruous Southern drawl, she has nevertheless become one of the most successful rappers of recent times. In 2014 she followed in the footsteps of the Beatles as the only artist to rank at No. 1 and 2 simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. That same year her debut album, The New Classic, went to No. 3, yielding four Grammy nominations. Azalea went on to make headlines for non-musical reasons, including her high-profile relationships, Instagram twerking clips and candid admissions of cosmetic surgery, before delivering the EP Survive the Summer in 2018.
Hip Hop Fan With Australian Beginnings
Iggy was born Amethyst Amelia Kelly on June 7, 1990, in Sydney, Australia. Her dad, Brendan, was an artist and children’s book author; her mum, Tanya, a cleaner. She grew up in the New South Wales town of Mullumbimby (population 3,000). On an American road trip with her grandparents in 2001, Azalea visited Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and the idea of a life beyond the Australian countryside began to appeal to the young girl.
She got into hip hop around the age of 12 — her favorite artists included Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott and especially Tupac, whose posthumous 1999 single with Outlawz, “Baby Don’t Cry,” “made me fall in love with rap music,” she told Vogue in 2015. Being halfway around the world from where her favorite music was being made left Azalea feeling isolated, and she turned to the internet to bring her closer to the hip hop community.
Along the way, the aspiring rapper bonded online with another teenager, Derek, who was originally a native from the Bahamas, and whom she came to think of as her only friend. She would send Derek raps she had written and ask what he thought, seeking the opinion of someone much closer to the action. Before long, Azalea was planning another trip to the States.
Iggy Moves to America, Learns Southern Rap Style
Just before her 16th birthday, Azalea headed for the U.S. for two weeks to visit Derek in person for the first time, having dropped out of school. He was living in Miami, and he picked her up at the airport on July 4th. It wasn’t long before she called her parents to tell them she wouldn’t be coming back to Australia, that simply being in the birthplace of hip hop was enough to make her feel at home.
Azalea moved from Miami to Houston before ending up in Atlanta and embedding herself in her cultural surroundings, drawl and all. In 2011 — right after she relocated once again, this time to Los Angeles — she released the mixtape Ignorant Art, its raw and brash sound infused with trap music, a descendant of Southern rap.
The following year she appeared on the cover of XXL magazine’s 2012 Freshmen Class issue — the first female non-American rapper to make their Freshmen Class list. The cover sparked a social-media beef with rapper and near-namesake Azealia Banks, who tweeted: “How can you endorse a white woman who calls herself a runaway slave master?” This was a reference to the controversial lyrics in Iggy’s song “DRUGS,” which the Australian rapper would later apologize for as a “tacky and careless thing to say.” To Banks, Azalea replied: “You should just be happy I’m on as a woman, for women. And if you want to have an achievement, work, and earn your own achievements.”
That same year, Azalea also signed with Wilhelmina Models International, and was subsequently named the “new face of Levi’s jeans.”
Iggy’s ‘The New Classic’ Album Soars, Grammy Nominations
Her exposure in XXL magazine enabled Azalea to enlist Diplo to produce her next mixtape, TrapGold, which came out in October 2012. The following year she signed to Island Def Jam in the U.S. and Mercury in the U.K. Her debut album, The New Classic, came out in April 2014. A chart-friendly blend of trap, dubstep, EDM and pop, it yielded five hit singles — “Work,” “Bounce,” “Change Your Life,” “Fancy” and “Black Widow” — and debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
A month later, Azalea made music history by occupying both the No 1. and No. 2 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Her single “Fancy” (featuring British singer Charli XCX) reached the top spot, with Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” which featured Azalea as a guest, in second place. No act had achieved this since the Beatles in 1964. The New Classic won Azalea four Grammy nominations — for best new artist, best rap album, record of the year and best pop duo/group performance (for “Fancy”). In May 2015, Azalea teamed up with Britney Spears on the single “Pretty Girls.”
Love Life, Plastic Surgery and ‘Survive the Summer’
Azalea began dating the rapper A$AP Rocky in 2011, getting the title of his mixtape — Live. Love. A$AP — tattooed on her fingers. She had the tattoo removed after splitting with Rocky in 2012. In March 2015 she told Vogue that she’d had her breasts enlarged, explaining that she had initially shied away from speaking about it because she hadn’t wanted other girls to feel bad about their bodies, before concluding that she “wasn’t into secret-keeping.” A few months later she told Seventeen that she’d had a nose job. “Plastic surgery is an emotional journey,” she said. “It’s important to remember you can’t change everything. You can never be perfect.”
She announced her engagement to the L.A. Lakers basketball player Nick Young in June 2015, but ended the relationship 12 months later, citing his alleged infidelity. Her second album, Digital Distortion, was due in 2016 — its first single, “Team,” came out in March that year — but the album was delayed, to give Azalea “time to get my life in order” following the breakup with Young. She also spent time in 2016 as a judge on the eighth season of X Factor Australia.
In March 2016 Azalea announced she had started a company, Azalea Street Productions, which had bought the rights to a number of books and Australian TV shows. In July she announced a deal to create content — with a focus on social justice and empowering young women — for NBC Universal.
After announcing that her album would again be delayed, due to her departure from the Def Jam label, Azalea dropped a new track, “Savior,” in February 2018. That summer, the Australian MC finally released her long awaited studio project, now an EP titled Survive the Summer, with its lead single, “Kream.” As part of her return to the spotlight, she also confirmed that she was dating pro football player DeAndre Hopkins, before announcing they had broken up shortly afterward.
‘In My Defense’ and Nude Photo Leak
Azalea returned to the charts with the release of “Sally Walker,” the first single from her studio album In My Defense, in March 2019. The album’s second single, “Started,” dropped in early May.
A few weeks later Azalea was back in the news after topless photos of her from a 2016 GQ photoshoot appeared online. In a lengthy statement on Twitter and Instagram, which disappeared when she deleted her social media accounts, the rapper said she had agreed to pose for the photos with the expectation that only those featuring her covering up would appear in print. “I feel blindsided, embarrassed, violated, angry, sad and a million other things,” she added, vowing to press charges against the responsible parties.
Why Lizzo Dethroning Iggy Azalea Is So Damn Important
Monday marked the fifth week in a row that Lizzo’s exuberant breakup anthem “Truth Hurts” landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, prompting the singer to rally her fans behind an important cause: dethroning Iggy Azalea as the female rapper with the longest-running No. 1 single.
Lizzo took to Twitter to ask for support, retweeting the Billboard Charts tweet announcing her No. 1 status for the fifth consecutive week. In all caps, she wrote, “YALL…IF WE KEEP THIS UP FOR 2 MORE WEEKS…TRUTH HURTS COULD BE THE LONGEST FEMALE RAP #1 OF ALL TIME…..RIGHT NOW ITS ‘FANCY’ CAN WE DO IT?!” She also shared a screenshot of the top 10 chart with the comment, “I AM BLESSED.”
As Lizzo points out, Azalea’s bombastic 2014 hit “Fancy” currently holds the title. At the time, it was impossible to turn on the radio without hearing the Australian rapper declare, in a forced, unnatural Southern-American twang, “First things first, I’m the realest.” A then-relatively unknown Charli XCX belted out the catchy hook that haunted the airwaves for months. It resided at the top of the charts for six consecutive weeks. “Truth Hurts” would need to hang onto the spot for two more weeks for Lizzo to beat Azalea’s record.
Iggy fans immediately spammed Lizzo’s tweet with defensive and sometimes toxic replies, essentially declaring war on the Lizzo fandom (also known as Lizzbians). People called her “desperate” and said “Fancy” would still be a better song regardless of whether or not “Truth Hurts” manages to surpass it in popularity. Lizzo knows, maybe better than most, that stans will disregard all boundaries when it comes to protecting their faves. She followed up her initial tweet with a clarification. “Fancy is a BOP and my homie @charli_xcx is genius on it,” she wrote. “(STREAM CHARLI- HER NEW ALBUM NOW).”
There was just one small problem: the 31-year-old neglected to mention Iggy at all, naturally inciting the wrath of Azaleans and even the rapper herself. This is, after all, a woman who once feuded with a British cartoon pig from a children’s television show. Many interpreted the omission as a snub. In a since-deleted tweet, Azalea responded, “I could have sworn I was the one rapping that song but okay…”
The Aussie went on to jokingly encourage fans to stream the Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello earworm “Señorita” (aka the couple’s desperate attempt to convince skeptics that their relationship is more than just a PR stunt), which is trailing “Truth Hurts” at No. 2 on the charts. “Stream señorita for clear skin,” Azalea tweeted with a link to the music video.
Demonstrating her commitment to the beef, or perhaps just desperate to milk her fleeting spot on the trending topics list, Azalea even temporarily changed her Twitter display name to “IGGY AZALEA stream señorita” and swapped her avatar for a photo of Shawn and Camila. Later on Monday evening, Azalea walked back her comments, tweeting, “listen I’m down to be petty in the name of a laugh or two but in all seriousness, I’m just trolling and laughing at all of the funny replies. I promise it’s not serious; at least not for me.” Lizzo appeared to take the high road by not responding to Azalea’s trolling.
One-sided celebrity catfight aside, Lizzo surpassing Azalea would be a satisfying victory for some hip-hop fans. The latter has long been a controversial figure in the music world for being, as one Gawker writer put it, “rap’s best drag queen,” adopting an effortful blaccent that diverges significantly from the soft-spoken Aussie intonation of her speaking voice and borrowing the flow of rappers native to the American South. Born Amethyst Amelia Kelly, the white, blonde-haired performer has also come under fire in the past for making racist and homophobic remarks on Twitter—from referring to herself as a “runaway slave-master” to mocking “homos” and “dyke bitches”—while simultaneously benefiting from appropriating black culture.
Lizzo, on the other hand, is a vocal champion of embracing one’s genuine self with confidence, infusing her music and her interviews with empowering messages about self-love. In an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this year, the singer said, “When I have to make decisions, I always choose honesty and I always stay true to myself, because I know at the end of the day that is what’s going to remain. That is what’s going to be the legend: that I was true to myself and that I honored every person by staying truthful to them.”
For someone like Lizzo—a body-positive black woman who trades in self-love and, above all, authenticity—to claim the title of female rapper with the longest-lasting No. 1 single would be nothing short of a restoration of justice.
The Top 10 Workout Songs from Iggy Azalea
Iggy Azalea’s rise to fame has been astonishing, not only because she’s an Australian woman holding her own in a genre (rap) dominated by American men, but because the success of her string of initial singles led to the re-release of her debut album. To celebrate Azalea’s undeniable talent, we’ve crafted a playlist to capture the momentum of her music so you can inject it into your exercise routine.
The songs featured in the mix below fall into two categories defined by their different speeds and tempos, denoted by their beats per minute (BPM). Collaborations like “Go Hard or Go Home,” “Fancy,” and “Black Widow” each clock in below 100 BPM but make up in assertive rhymes and driving beats whatever they lack in speed. These tracks are ideal for warm-ups and lower-intensity workouts. On the flipside, she’s released a number of dance-oriented tracks with faster tempos that will come in handy when you want to pick up the pace. In those moments, you might want to fire up her early single “Work,” her J. Lo collaboration “Booty,” or one of the featured club remixes. (Pair these quick tracks with a fast-paced routine like this Fat-Burning Tread-Tabata Workout.)
Although listening to the same artist throughout a playlist could feel redundant, Iggy’s songs feature a mix of styles and guests that will keep you on your toes. The different beats and tempos will keep your feet moving! Ahead, 10 of her most dynamic tracks.
Iggy Azalea – Work – 140 BPM
Iggy Azalea & Charli XCX – Fancy – 95 BPM
Iggy Azalea & Rita Ora – Black Widow – 82 BPM
Ariana Grande & Iggy Azalea – Problem – 103 BPM
Iggy Azalea & MØ – Beg for It – 93 BPM
Jennifer Lopez & Iggy Azalea – Booty – 129 BPM
Iggy Azalea – Work (Burns Purple Rain Version) – 140 BPM
Iggy Azalea & Jennifer Hudson – Trouble – 107 BPM
Wiz Khalifa & Iggy Azalea – Go Hard or Go Home – 84 BPM
Iggy Azalea & Rita Ora – Black Widow (Justin Prime Remix) – 128 BPM
To find more workout songs, check out the free database at Run Hundred. You can browse by genre, tempo, and era to find the best songs to rock your workout.
- By Chris Lawhorn
Iggy Azalea Has The Worst Song on the Top 10 Pop Charts
We need to talk about Iggy Azalea’s “Black Widow.”
The song has been out for a little while now, and in that time it has managed to become the ninth most popular song in the country. There’s one catch, though: It’s arguably the worst song on the top 10 right now, and its success is only proof of how bad pop music has gotten. “Black Widow” is the most derivative song of 2014. And it’s succeeding only because it’s intensely formulaic.
The song is bad for a multitude of reasons, but it is especially offensive because it’s almost identical in theme and sound to Katy Perry’s megahit “Dark Horse.” It also fits the model of Azalea’s other hits so exactly that the music video is practically the same: Just as “Fancy” was modeled on Clueless, so too is “Black Widow” modeled on Kill Bill. As Aliza Abarbanel pointed out in Noisey, “Iggy should be careful with how much she imitates. This is her first solo song since ‘Fancy’ became the hit song of the summer and it doesn’t do much to define her as a unique artist.”
But the song was never meant to be original. “Black Widow,” featuring singer Rita Ora, was clearly released in the hope that it would skyrocket to the same “song of the summer”-level fame as Azalea’s previous hit single, “Fancy.” That song features British singer Charli XCX and held the number one spot on the Billboard charts for seven consecutive weeks. But it isn’t Azalea’s fault; to a large extent that’s just how pop music works now. People identify hit sounds and formulas, and then they hit them again and again.
For example, “Fancy” topped the charts, but it seemed many hated it. The song succeeded, though, because it was clearly identifiable as a hit: a popular style (hip-hop) made palatable for mainstream white audiences by an artist who was beginning to trend. Because it seemed like a safe bet, it was placed in iHeartRadio’s new “On the Verge” program. That program takes artists that the company thinks will hit it big and then requires every station in the Clear Channel network to play it at least 150 times, the Washington Post reports. Clear Channel has 840 stations and about 245 million listeners, so when they choose a song to play on repeat, much of the country will hear it at some point. That breeds familiarity in listeners, and familiarity breeds hits.
Azalea’s promotional strategy follows that to a T. And it isn’t just her. Derek Thompson wrote in the Atlantic Tuesday about “the Shazam Effect” — the paradigm shift in the music industry that has an increasing number of creative decisions being made in order to give people more of what they already know they like. Psychologists call it “mere exposure effect.” Aeon magazine explained: “It seems then that people can easily mistake the fluidity of their ability to identify and fully comprehend a song with actually liking it.”
This is what Azalea’s camp gets better than anybody else.
And it’s why such a phenomenally derivative song has made it so far. But what’s saddest about the success of “Black Widow” is that an artist like Azalea is capable of far more. All it takes is one listen to “Work” to see what she can do at her most dynamic. That’s why it’s important to be aware of this sort of tendency in pop music. It may make songs into hits, but it turns good artists into nothing more than hit-makers.