Iggy Azalea is back. Depending on the position you took regarding the polarizing Australian pop-rapper, those four words are either the best news you’ve heard all week or another sign that the endtimes are near.
Extreme? Yes. But it’s the most appropriate way to unpack the rise and sudden fall of a star who went from white hot to ice cold in a year.
Azalea, however, is looking to move past her haters — and her failures — with a new single, “Team.” Teased since December, ”Team" is her first new music since "Pretty Girls," a 2015 collaboration with Britney Spears that quickly came and went.
“Team," the lead single from her forthcoming album “Digital Distortion,” sticks closely to the formula that made her a breakout pop sensation.
The song has got a bouncy, electro beat and an anthemic chorus -- this time sung by the rapper herself — which makes sense considering the single is all about being your own cheerleader.
“Baby I got me / Only friend I need / And that’s all I need,” Azalea sings at the chorus, making it her first fully solo single in three years.
Produced by Chordz and Fuego with co-production by Omega, Ryan and Lou, the motivational cut is a light foot stomper that will certainly wedge itself into rotation at pop radio but won’t do much to narrow the gap between the grittiness of her early mixtape offerings and the breezy singles with which she scored hits that also earned her much criticism.
In the lead up to the new single’s release, Azalea has opened up more about the disastrous year following her success.
"If I could, I would 'Men in Black' memory-erase 2015, I totally would -- that would be amazing!" she recently told Elle Canada.
When Azalea hit big in 2014 with her peppy smash “Fancy” following years of underground buzz, she owned the year. She scored billings at festivals such as Made in America, performance slots on virtually every music awards show and multiple Grammy nominations including record of the year and new artist.
But as her stock rose, so did the controversies and criticism.
From the start, rap fans labeled her as “too pop” to be considered authentic, and seethed at her Grammy nomination for best rap album.
Critics accused her of pilfering Southern hip-hop vocal stylings. She’s been called out by J. Cole, admonished by rapper Azealia Banks, ridiculed by Snoop Dogg, given a public history lesson on hip-hop by Q-Tip and even shaded by T.I., who was once her mentor. Countless think pieces on white privilege and cultural appropriation have used her as a springboard.
Her highly anticipated collaboration with Britney Spears, “Pretty Girls,” failed to move the dial (a lip-synched, pre-taped performance on a major award show didn’t help matters either).
Azalea canceled what was supposed to be her first headlining arena tour, and was forced to pull out of a performance at Pittsburgh Pride after protests over a series of old tweets featuring racist and homophobic language.
Can she put it all behind her? Only time will tell. But nothing gets people back on your team quicker than a hit.
Watch the lyric video for “Team” here (be warned, there’s some swearing).
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