Iggy Azalea

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About Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea became one of the most polarizing pop stars of the mid-2010s, a figure whose genuine talent has sometimes been overshadowed by her penchant for controversy. Born Amethyst Amelia Kelly in 1990 in Mullumbimby, New South Wales, the Australian singer/songwriter, rapper, and model—whose stage name combines her first dog’s name with her childhood street—grew up revering hip-hop. Ostracized as a kid, she found solace and inspiration in American artists like Missy Elliot and Outkast. She moved to the United States to pursue music when she was 16, bouncing between Houston, Miami, and Atlanta before settling in Los Angeles. Her tour of the South was, in a way, a fact-finding mission: She perfected her imitation of a Southern Black drawl and began working with producers on her first mixtape, 2011’s Ignorant Art. The release, with the singles “Pu$$y” and “My World,” set the template for her playfully pugnacious, sexually explicit lyrical personality. In 2012, she signed with T.I.’s Grand Hustle Records; two years later she dropped her debut album, The New Classic. The record was slow to catch fire until the single “Fancy” hit the airwaves. That song, with its Clueless-inspired video and an insanely catchy chorus (courtesy of Charlie XCX), rocketed up the charts; it was sitting at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 while “Problem,” her collaboration with Ariana Grande, occupied the second spot. Azalea’s meteoric rise made her a lightning rod for debates over cultural appropriation, but she refused to let that stop her. After a few years’ hiatus, she resumed her career, releasing less-commercial music that showcases her unceasing devotion to hip-hop.

Sydney, Australia
June 7, 1990
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