CMJ Day Three: Iggy Azalea
Better than: Writing your own mea culpa.
When I saw that Iggy Azalea was performing at CMJ, my scathing reviewer senses began tingling.
The Australian femme fatale is the kind of artist that incites fervor among the hip-hop cognoscenti with her raunchy lyrics and barely-there outfits, not to mention the perception that she might be the white-girl flavor of the week. Thanks to her videos becoming YouTube sensations of a sort, she’s been called the next incarnation of Kreayshawn (a cheap shot); many observers have figured that her 15 seconds of Internet fame would quickly dissipate. After all, a musical repertoire founded upon such profound tracks like “Pu$$y”—don’t forget the dollar signs—deserves to be euthanized immediately.
Or so I thought.
At Moodswing 360’s CMJ Showcase on Thursday, amid a lengthy line-up that included Pete Wentz’s Black Cards and newcomer Anjulie, Iggy markedly stood out. The statuesque MC—clad in hip-hugging black pants and a bikini top, to the delight of male attendees—performed an ultra-tight, jumpy, hypeman-assisted set of three proper songs and an an cappella verse off her mixtape Ignorant Art. The abridged set and coziness of the Canal Room created ideal conditions for the neophyte, who’s still polishing her live chops; there was little room for set lag or for fans to become disengaged. Instead, the energy grew throughout her set, and it, of course, peaked during “Pu$$y,” the drowsy, hypnotic track that lit up the Internet late last month.
Iggy told me afterwards that she was nervous to go onstage, having been booed at a CMJ show the night before. As she humbly tried how taken aback she was by her sudden fame, she was accosted by a slew of fans, including one very emotional girl who gushed, “Thank you for changing the game!” Musical premonition or premature hyperbole? It’s too early to tell, but I’ll keep an open mind for now.
Critical bias: Sorry, guys. I really did want to hate her.
Overheard: “I’m ’bout to get some Papa John’s. They don’t have that in L.A.”—Iggy on her post-show plans.
Random notebook dump: Only out-of-towners come to New York and crave chain-restaurant pizza.
A cappella verse