Two of summer’s biggest hits could lead to a $5 million year as branding deals and a revived House of Style rev up the female rapper.
Iggy Azalea has been dominating the summer, holding down the top two slots of Billboard’s Summer Songs chart for an uninterrupted nine weeks with “Fancy” and a guest spot on Ariana Grande’s “Problem.” A third single (“Black Widow,” featuring Rita Ora) and an appearance on mentor T.I.’s comeback single, “No Mediocre,” also are scaling the charts. But can she translate early radio ubiquity into a sustainable career? After all, for every summer breakout like Bruno Mars or Katy Perry, there’s a Carly Rae Jepsen or Gotye that can’t quite make that next leap.
There already have been two votes of confidence. Vin Diesel recently revealed that Azalea, 24, filmed a cameo in Fast and Furious 7, due in 2015. And on July 24 MTV named the former Wilhelmina model host of a revived House of Style on MTV.com. The eight-episode run premiered Aug. 4 and will culminate with Azalea’s appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 24 and, two nights later, a House of Style VMA fashion special. The MTV gig is a natural fit for the artist, who was featured in print campaigns for Levi’s and Revolve before The New Classic, her Def Jam debut, arrived in April. Her unprecedented success as a white female rapper and growing clout on tour -- she will headline Budweiser’s Made in America Festival in Los Angeles and the iHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas -- suggest a promising future.
“She speaks to an audience who hasn’t had an opportunity to have someone really represent them,” says Rene Mclean, founder of music branding-management agency RPM. “At first, hip-hop was super urban, but rap is for everybody now. She was very strategic in the way she set herself up with the ASAP Rocky and T.I. affiliations, doing records with Steve Aoki, and she ended up with a new arsenal.”