Questlove is calling it: Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” is the song of the summer. And he’s also calling BS on the controversy surrounding the Australian-born rapper’s extraordinary rise, her all-American accent, and her potty mouth.
Speaking to Time, Questlove lays it right out. “I’m caught in between. And I defend it. I see false Instagram posts like, ‘She said the N-word! She said the N-word!’ I’ll call people out — ‘Yo, don’t troll.’ I know you’re ready to give your 42-page dissertation on theGrio about why this is culture vulture-ism. You know, we as black people have to come to grips that hip-hop is a contagious culture.” The Roots leader continues, “If you love something, you gotta set it free. I will say that ‘Fancy,’ above any song that I’ve ever heard or dealt with, is a game-changer in that fact that we’re truly going to have to come to grips with the fact that hip-hop has spread its wings.”
Iggy has taken countless barbs since “Fancy” began its inexorable ascent to the summit of the Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for 8 weeks. Back in May, R&B artist K Michelle used her Twitter account to share her beef. “How can you be from another country and rap like you’re from Memphis TN? But u don’t hear me though #offended,” she wrote. On that occasion, Perez Hilton swooped in to defend the Aussie.
In her homeland, the Mullumbimby-raised Azalea has been slammed in some quarters for essentially dumping all trace of her Aussie accent from her recordings (though her country of origin comes through clear in interviews). The Guardian joined in the chorus of negativity with a story published under the headline “Iggy Azalea: the least important thing to happen to Aussie hip-hop.” In it, the writer pulled no punches. “Any one of a dozen artists could have made ‘Fancy’. It’s as individual and distinctive as a tax form. And Azalea, for all her pop sensibilities, is a truly rubbish rapper.”
Questlove doesn’t buy it. The multi-talented music man’s Time interview covers a lot of turf, focusing on his slot as executive producer of the new music show “SoundClash,” and delves into his love of Australian singers (“A lot of them more soulful than what we’re dealing with now”) and the challenges of booking one of those Aussies in particular, Sia.
But it’s his intelligent riposte on the Iggy-insults that truly shines.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I’m torn between the opinions on the Internet, but I’mma let Iggy be Iggy. It’s not even politically correct dribble. The song is effective. I’m in the middle of the approximation of the enunciation, I’ll say. Part of me hopes she grows out of that and says it with her regular dialect — I think that would be cooler. But, yeah, ‘Fancy’ is the song of the summer.”