Producer: The Invisible Men, The Arcade
Album: The New Classic
It was unleashed onto the world this February, and by the end of May, it had clawed its way to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. And as it looked down from its perch on high like a gum-smacking gargoyle, it proclaimed to the 99 below, “First things first, I’m the realest.”
Thus begins Iggy Azalea’s ubiquitous “Fancy,” a winter song that should be long dead but decided to stick around for the warmer months. And why not? The lazy rubber band pluck of synthesizers, the lumbering rhythm, and the most mediocre, fast-lane-living hook Charli XCX has ever produced are better suited for a sluggish summer day. As are Azalea’s lines about wearing high heels, spilling champagne, and slaying hoes, all rapped in the sweetest Southern drawl an Australian could muster.
Ignore the obvious cultural appropriation going on here for a moment—the fact that Azalea is Elvis-ing Southern rappers—and consider her on a surface level: It is plainly ridiculous for Azalea to rap in, what is to her, a foreign accent. Imagine T.I. pretending to sound Australian and calling people “mate” in “About the Money.” Or, less of a stretch, Nicki Minaj only rapping in that British accent she does. It might be excusable, though annoying, if it happened occasionally, but this is what Azalea does on all of her songs.
Maybe you can look beyond her vocal imitation on some tracks, but unfortunately for “Fancy,” the instrumental sparseness gives that voice nothing to hide behind. No merciful big beat or punching Charli XCX chorus shields it. Instead you’re left with only the sounds of the hottest parodist of the moment, front and center. Who dat? I-G-G-Y. —Christine Werthman