It’s hard to believe that 24-year-old Amethyst Amelia Kelly from Australia has come to the United States and is taking over Hip Hop, one chart-topping single at a time, all while making Nicki Minaj shake in her boots a little.
If you listen to mainstream radio, you’ve heard the name Iggy Azalea and even if you don’t know the name, you know the song that’s been heating up the Billboard charts this summer:
I’m so fancy, you already know … I’m in the fast lane, from L.A. to Tokyo … I’m so fancy, can’t you taste this gold? … Remember my name, ’bout to blow
Questlove, perhaps one of the wisest and most enlightened music experts alive, sat down for an interview with TIME and he weighed in on Iggy Azalea and the cultural appropriation debate surrounding her almost instantaneous rise to fame.
A lot of people give Iggy a lot of sh*t for being a “white girl from Australia who raps like a black girl from Atlanta,” and Quest calls BS on all of that, defending Azalea and calling her hit single “Fancy” a “game-changer” for Hip Hop.
Here is Questlove’s full response to TIME’s question “Are you pro- or anti- Iggy Azalea?”:
Here’s the thing: the song is effective and catchy as hell, and it works. Just the over-enunciation of “hold you down”? [Laughs] It makes me chuckle because all I can see is my assistant holding a brush in the mirror and singing it.
I’m caught in between. And I defend it. I see false Instagram posts like, “She said the N-word! She said the N-word!” I’ll call people out — “Yo, don’t troll.” I know you’re ready to give your 42-page dissertation on theGrio about why this is culture vulture-ism. You know, we as black people have to come to grips that hip-hop is a contagious culture. If you love something, you gotta set it free. I will say that “Fancy,” above any song that I’ve ever heard or dealt with, is a game-changer in that fact that we’re truly going to have to come to grips with the fact that hip-hop has spread its wings.
And to tell the truth, I was saying this last year, I don’t think it’s any mistake that four or five of my favorite singers are from Australia. Like between Hiatus Kaiyote, there’s a bunch I can name for you right now, but I don’t think it’s a mistake that a lot of of my favorite artists are coming from Down Under. A lot of them more soulful than what we’re dealing with now. When you think soul music and Aretha Franklin and the Baptist-born singer, that’s sort of an idea in the past. As black people, we’re really not in the church as we used to be, and that’s reflected in the songs now.
I’m not going to lie to you, I’m torn between the opinions on the Internet, but I’mma let Iggy be Iggy. It’s not even politically correct dribble. The song is effective. I’m in the middle of the approximation of the enunciation, I’ll say. Part of me hopes she grows out of that and says it with her regular dialect — I think that would be cooler. But, yeah, “Fancy” is the song of the summer.