Iggy Azalea finally delivered her debut album The New Classic today (April 22), and it finds the Aussie model and MC weaving her rags-to-riches tale over top-notch pop production. While it never goes into good kid, m.A.A.d city levels of specificity, the LP is still an intriguing listen, showing how a female rapper not named Nicki can balance hip-hop “authenticity” with blatant pop chart aspirations. Rather interestingly, the fact that Iggy’s entire shtick is openly built on a fake Southern accent may actually make it easier for her to navigate that divide.
But that doesn’t mean she stuck the landing. We gave The New Classic a 2.5/5, saying “most of the album simply sounds stale” and that the reliance on lyrical generalities “makes Azalea’s Cinderella story seem rather ordinary.” That middle-of-the-road assessment seems to sum up the rather tepid tide of the reviews out there. Maybe she was just doomed from the get-go because of that audacious title.
Head below for a roundup of critical reactions to her debut.
:: Rolling Stone matched our score, highlighting her curious rap accent and shameless pop hooks, concluding, “If this is the future, it’s one strange place.”
:: HipHopDX likewise handed out a 2.5, opining, “The level of production and collaborators far outshines the work of the lead emcee.”
:: SPIN called it a “stone cold dud” and “a state of the art 2011 album” in their 4/10 review. “The New Classic establishes the Australian artist as a competent rapper with a decent ear for hooks, but that’s about it.”
:: Time says it’s “a paint-by-numbers exercise in what a modern rap album should be” and notes “she’s perhaps already run out of things to say on her supposed classic.”
:: Deadspin (apparently covering music now!) said, “It’s ultimately a missed opportunity to get to know more about an artist who’s very possibly more multifaceted than she lets on. Equal parts flaw and flair, it seems destined to take its place in hip-hop’s pantheon of albums with unfortunately overenthusiastic titles, alongside inductees like Slim Thug’s gold-selling Already Platinum and Puff Daddy’s forgotten Forever.”
:: The New York Times offered up a report card-style review with this final evaluation: “Student is an extremely hard worker, but so much so that what’s loudest much of the time is the labor involved, not the art itself. Student’s complete commitment to character and form compensate slightly for the unrelenting weirdness of this project.”
:: The Guardian was slightly more impressed, grading a 3/5. “Azalea’s rags-to-riches story shines on Work, but elsewhere her ‘bow down to a goddess’ schtick grows tiring.”
:: The Line Of Best Fit was the most positive of the bunch, scoring an 8/10 and calling it an “an ambitious pop-rap record” that could inspire listeners, suggesting listeners “Let her gospel be an allegory for your rise.”
What do you think of Iggy’s debut LP? Let us know in the comments below.
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