To me rap and hip hop is about the power of self-motivation. It’s about blind determination and faith; the belief in one’s self and the abundance of success you can achieve with talent and perseverance. When I listen to the modern day urban poetry woven into quirky rhythm and beats, I feel boosted with positivity for the day ahead.
Rap is fun and cheeky. It’s lyrically clever and promotes rising from the bottom of life straight to the top. It’s also very… Black. Up until now that is.
The face of rap is changing in a new an unexpected way. More and more white women are emerging on to the scene with a speed and consistency to their lyrics that could be compared to such artists as Busta Rhyms and Twista.
Back in the days when Sha-Rock was an anomaly on the rap scene; a time when the success of female artists like Nicki Minaj was probably not even a possibility, the idea of a white female non-American artist like Iggy Azalea bursting into the rap industry today would be inconceivable.
Iggy Azalea released her mixtape ‘Ignorant Art‘ on 27 September 2011. On it’s release she was quoted as saying her intent behind the mixtape was to “Make people question and redefine old ideals.”. And Azalea is certainly achieving her goal.
Rap is evolving into a new definition. It’s no longer just stories from the ghetto and the plight of poor, young black males fighting for their dreams. Rap is advancing into an artistic statement, a culture and a lifestyle.
Iggy Azalea is the perfect example of this. The rapper, songwriter and model was born in Sydney, Australia and is the first non-American rapper to be included in XXL’s annual top-10 Freshman cover issue. With the help of mentor T.I and her label, Def Jam, Azalea’s talent and boss-lady image is lending a new definition of what rap music is and who can listen to it.
Female artist Kesha, who gave rapping a shot (sort of) ultimately did so under the safety of a pop-star image. Kesha in my opinion seems like a groupie who’s toying with rap but who’s not actually contributing to it or doing something for it. If anything, her trashy image only adds to the cringe-factor of the idea of a white-girl rapper and makes it seem like a comical prospect, or something girls do in an effort to be ‘cute’.
Then came White Girl Mob, a controversial trio of artists by the name of Kreashawn, Lil’ Debbie and V-Nasty who made an attempt at promoting white-girl rap music and culture. These girls bent racial stereotypes and they rap as fast and as clean as the boys. They come from the not so privileged downtown areas of California and their music is bold and emulates their culture. They’ve been criticised for their image and use of the ‘N’ word with critics challenging who can use this word, when can they use it and it and in what context is it OK to be used.
The trio who blew up on YouTube, were too caught up in disputes within the group and could not secure a solid foundation for themselves. They’ve since all gone solo. Kreashawn enjoyed immense success in Japan, in particular with her hit ‘Gucci Gucci’ and Lil’ Debbie’s enjoyed minor success after the release of her single ‘Ratchets’. V-Nasty who is currently being mentored by Gucci Mane, was in my opinion the most promising act. Her stoner image and wild unpredictable attitude has actually deterred her from success but she’s still worth checking out.
2014 in my opinion is going to be the year rap changes for good. Iggy Azalea is due to release her album ‘The New Classic’ on April 18 2014. This is a very exciting time in music as a whole genre is being updated and revamped.
Iggy Azalea’s image and brand is selling the idea that the world is your playground to do with it what you wish and that you don’t need to be male to be the boss. She represents strength and dominance and aesthetically looks like a living embodiment of an Andy Warhol painting.
Her music colours the airwaves with vivid brilliance and bassy undertones. She represents the future direction and audience of rap and is an expression of the art of music.
Groundbreaking artists like this help us to remember that music is freedom of expression with no room for such limitations like discrimination. It’s the voice of a culture and period in time and should be available to be listened to and interpreted by anyone who relates to it regardless of race, gender or nationality.