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50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time – #50: Iggy Azalea

Melbourne artist and producer Sophiya sings the praises of Australia’s most prominent hip-hop export, Iggy Azalea.

50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time: Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea in the artwork to her 2019 single "Started".

Supplied; Fern Arisara*

In December of 2020, Rolling Stone Australia released a special edition issue which looks at the 50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time, paying tribute to the best and most impactful artists in Australian music history. While it would have been easy for the editors and writers of the publication to profess their love of the listed artists, the decision was instead made for those who found themselves inspired by these world-renowned names to share their own testimonials of why these artists deserve to make the list.

In celebration of the issue’s release in December, we’re counting down the full 50 artists and their accompanying testimonials in this ongoing online feature. If you want to get your hands on an physical copy of the magazine, be sure to subscribe now to experience the double-length edition featuring some of Australia’s best and brightest discussing the finest names in local music.

50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time – #50: Iggy Azalea (by Sophiya)

“First things first” — Iggy Azalea will go down in history as the first Australian female rapper to successfully break through the US market. With global hits and bossed-up energy, Iggy continues to inspire the future generation of Aussie female rappers to come. Having grown up in Mullumbimby, NSW, she made a life-changing decision to move to Miami at the young age of 16 — “no money, no family, sixteen in the middle of Miami.” Her success has paved the way for local artists to dream big as she breaks sonic boundaries and leaves behind her own blueprint and legacy.

A friend of mine put me onto her music video “PU$$Y” back in 2012 and I was instantly a fangirl. The comical opening scene really depicts a fearless, down-to-earth chick with a great sense of humour — this was the underground Iggy we grew to love. She strikes me as someone who doesn’t take herself too seriously and immerses herself in her art while having fun during the process. This really resonates with me as authenticity is such a fundamental part when it comes to making music. “You can hate it or love it, hustle and the struggle is the only thing I’m trusting.”

Growing up, I didn’t have any female role models to look up to in Aussie hip-hop and Iggy was the first artist who really inspired me to fuse catchy songwriting with hard-hitting bars. Her cadence and melodic rap style really cut through at the time. I remember when “Fancy” made waves all over the world. It felt like the only song playing on the radio at the time. It was such an iconic moment for the hybrid pop/rap genre which increased in popularity through radio and pop culture. I see a lot of structural similarities with her music and her favourite female rapper, Missy Elliot, who fused hip-hop, dance and catchy melodies. I too mirror myself after the greats who use hybrid genres, as they create a diverse sound and tend to connect with more listeners.

“Iggy was the first artist who really inspired me to fuse catchy songwriting with hard-hitting bars.”

One of my favourite tracks, “Tokyo Snow Trip” from Iggy’s EP Survive the Summer, busts in with the opening line, “rose from the cracks with the rats and the roaches”. This really connected with me and took me back to when I first started my music journey, knowing no one and nothing about the industry and feeling surrounded by sharks and leechy friends. This has to be my favourite line by Iggy, as she uses alliteration and is one of my favourite types of wordplay. It’s also dark and ominous and the vivid storytelling reveals her artistic depth. 

My favourite thing about Iggy is her fearlessness. It’s what really shines through the music and allows her to cut through as a one of a kind artist. Hunger and hustle make for a real role model for other female and LGBTQ+ artists and is why Iggy really is “the illest on the planet”.