Australian hip-hop/pop artist Iggy Azalea is the leader of this 2014’s American Music Awards with six nominations, indicating to music fans of all genres that she may be the best overall artist on the show. The young artist has been nominated for awards in the categories of Favorite Artist for Rap/Hip-Hop, New Artist of the Year, Favorite Female Artist, Favorite album: Rap/Hip-Hop, Artist of the Year and Single of the Year (Fancy).
Azalea is in tough company in each category in which she has been nominated and will have to beat out the likes of Beyonce, Katy Perry, Eminem, Pharrell Williams, Lorde, Drake and more to win her awards. If history is any indicator, as an artist who has become the “it” artist of the moment, Azalea will probably exit the awards show with all six awards in hand.
Azalea has a massive appeal in the present, but many fans may not stomach “Iggy Igg” beating out Eminem, the highest-selling rapper of all time and seller of the most albums in the 21st century, with her “hip-hop” album that most hip-hop fans do not agree is hip-hop. Certain fans may turn their noses up if she leaves the American Music Awards with trophies taken from the hands of Lorde and Pharrell, both artists who have very original, unique and culture-changing music on their resume. Many have questioned Azalea’s authenticity as music enters an age in which manufactured production of sound, image, and artists is commonplace.
When a person reaches the status of the “it” artist of the moment, everything that artist says or does becomes inflated and, whether positive or negative, the artist gains more publicity. The Billboard and television might feed the public that Azalea is the best artist in America, but many believe her “rapping,” southern “black” accent, and personality have all been manufactured by the music industry to create a product that sells. News of Azalea’s domination of the American Music Awards nominations comes at a time when she has already reached mass exposure. The rapper has recently had words with other celebrities over social media, has been seen arguing with members of her team, and has seen backlash from many, especially in the hip-hop community, for her act.
The best example of a person in the hip-hop community who does not exactly appreciate Azalea’s act is Flip Mode Squad’s Rah Digga. Digga was a feared emcee in her own right during her heyday, and feels that Azalea’s music is not exactly hip-hop. Digga has said in interviews that Azalea’s music is pop, and that she does not belong. “There is a white girl from Australia that spits in an Australian accent, and her name is Chelsea Jane. That I can get into. Teach me Australian hip-hop culture,” says Digga.
People want to hear music that is true and authentic to the artist’s soul and culture. If music is the great bridge between all people, or the “universal language,” how is the music industry and the people who dominate the industry, such as Azalea, affecting the world’s communication? Music has traditionally been known to serve people by the exchange of stories and experiences, along with allowing the artist making the music to express something to the world about themself.
Azalea has been nominated for six awards at the American Music Awards, and may leave the awards show as the best, most decorated artist, at least for that night, according to the voters. In that sense, she will have earned any award she wins that night, and if she wins all six awards, she will have made a statement regarding the state of modern music.
By LaBaron Jackson