The New Classic (Deluxe Version)

The New Classic (Deluxe Version)

Naming a record The New Classic would be a bold move for any seasoned performer, let alone a new one—but in this case, the gambit was as confident as the album itself. Iggy Azalea’s debut outing made history quicker than it could write itself, enshrining the Australian MC as the first non-American female rapper to top the Billboard charts. This accolade would seem to unveil Azalea’s origins, obfuscated as they were on The New Classic’s embrace of West Coast hip-hop stylings—but it would take the world at large some time to realize that she was actually from the small Australian town of Mullumbimby in New South Wales. Azalea alludes to this but once on “Change Your Life” alongside T.I.: “We spend our winters in the summer of Australia/Eating crumpets with the sailors/On acres without the neighbors” she recalls, even ruffling her bars with the distinctly Australian slang of “piss-poor.” Though lead single “Work” details her move to the US as a 16-year-old seeking the stardom her debut would later deliver, The New Classic is thematically—and most notably, vocally—immersed in American culture. So convincing and facile is the southern drawl Azalea adopts from opener “Walk the Line”’s rapid-fire stoicism to the former relationship reverie of closer “Just Askin’,” it suggests itself as a parley of genuine appreciation rather than overt appropriation—at its most composed (and chart-topping) on the Charli XCX-powered ode to self-empowerment, “Fancy.”

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