"Fancy" is giving Iggy Azalea life. It's the fourth single from the Australian rapper's forthcoming debut, "The New Classic" (April 22, Def Jam/Grand Hustle), but audiences are behaving like it's her first, turbo-charging a career that had languished in label limbo: On Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart dated April 26, the song rises 15-11. "Fancy," featuring Charli XCX, was launched with a memorable video that pays pitch-perfect homage to the classic 1995 film Clueless, with Azalea channeling Alicia Silverstone's valley girl philosopher Cher Horowitz, down to the yellow plaid mini-skirt and white knee socks. But on this April day, sitting in the New York offices of her label, Def Jam, Azalea looks less like a schoolgirl and more like a newly elected head of state. Dressed in white sailor pants and a navy blue military jacket, her signature platinum blonde hair is wrapped in a flawless, proper chignon. She has just learned that "Fancy" has been added into rotation at WHTZ (Z100) New York -- the pop music equivalent of winning the New Hampshire primary.
"I wish I was a teenager in 1997," says Azalea, 23, in an Aussie accent distinct from the Southern twang she raps with. "But with 'The New Classic,' I want younger generations to look back on what we're doing now and say, 'I wish I was a teenager in 2014.' I come from an era of kids who are always being told that what we make is not classic. But my album says to people my age, 'Don't devalue that we can be culturally significant -- because we can be.' "
The grand designs of Azalea, real name Amethyst Amelia Kelly, have unlikely origins: Mullumbimby, Australia -- a tiny town of 3,000 two hours from Brisbane -- where she was weaned on Tupac and Missy Elliott before moving to the States at age 16 with her sights set on a rap career. Azalea bounced from Miami to Atlanta to Los Angeles, where she filmed the video for "Pu$$y," her introduction to the world. The 2011 clip made waves, and not just because of Azalea's nimble flow; it seemed to make the most of her uniqueness in rap -- a white, Australian female with model looks boasting about cunnilingus, surrounded by black culture in the streets of South Central.