If you haven’t heard of Iggy Azalea yet then you may be living on another planet, or perhaps under a rock, because this Australian rapper has climbed the charts in both the U.S. and U.K. with her singles “Work”, “Change Your Life”, “Bounce” and most recent release “Fancy”. The more popularity she gains in the predominantly male hip-hop/rap music industry as a white, female artist, the more that people want to know about her background, personal life and current success. From the looks of it, many people (critics and personal haters of Iggy) don’t have their facts straight. Her story is in the lyrics of songs “Work” and “Change Your Life”, people just fail to notice and begin to make the assumption that because she is a rare figure in the rap game and lives the flashy lifestyle now, that she didn’t have a struggle to become famous and make these million dollar deals. Iggy doesn’t have ‘Trust Your Struggle’ tatted on her arm for nothing; it means something to the young artist and she discusses the meaning of it in her interview with MTV Voices. I’m going to give you the inside scoop on Iggy’s life by analyzing the lyrics of both songs “Work” and “Change Your Life” where Iggy flawlessly raps about her harsh rise to fame in the music industry.
First I’ll give you some brief background information on Iggy. Just so you know her songs are truthful and not made up to receive pity. Not everything starts off smooth and easy, but things do eventually get better. This especially applies to the life of Iggy Azalea who didn’t have anything before coming to the U.S. and entering the music industry.
Shout out to the small New South Whales town of Mullumbimby, Australia for producing one of the current most popular female artists in the hip-hop/rap music industry! Born as Amethyst Amelia Kelly on June 7, 1990, Iggy Azalea was raised by her single mother and worked most of her life in order to support the rest of the family (she has one brother and one sister) and also finance her dream of coming to the U.S. to produce rap music. In her VEVO LIFT UK “Becoming Iggy Azalea” (below) Iggy discusses her childhood and upbringing in a town “that nobody ever leaves, is really like jail” and how hearing rap music for the first time made her “happy and feel strong” and feel like she “had a friend that was music”.
Iggy expresses the thoughts and feelings that she experienced as a teenager through her song “Work”. The title of this song implies that Iggy’s rise to stardom was not handed to her on a silver platter, but that she had to put forth the effort alone in order to become the inspiring female rapper she is today. Iggy is blatantly “tryna let you know what the f*ck that I’ve been through” with lyrics that are honest and frank but mirror Iggy’s personality as a woman who is fighting hard to stay in the rap game and will do what she has to to become the best. The song accurately tells Iggy Azalea’s story from the beginning (living in Australia) to the present (living in the U.S. as a recording artist). Iggy gives us background information about her life prior to coming to the U.S. in her first verse:
“Two feet in the red dirt, school skirt
Sugar cane, back lanes
Three jobs, took years to save
But I got a ticket on that plane”
Iggy continues her story in the bridge by stating that after landing in the U.S. on July 4th, 2006, she had “No money, no family” and was “Sixteen in the middle of Miami”. It undoubtedly had to be a scary experience for the teen seeing how it was her first time ever leaving her small rural hometown in the Land Down Under!
The chorus of “Work” is where Iggy explains just how much she had to do in order to make it into the music industry:
“I’ve been up all night, tryna get that rich
I been work, work, work, work, working on my sh*t”
The line “Milked the whole game twice, gotta get it how I live” within the chorus opens up a topic of Iggy’s life that was extremely difficult to overcome; the fact that she not only signed one time with Mercury Records in 2012, but then signed to Island Def Jam Music Group only one year later after not succeeding with Mercury. Iggy further explains and addresses her thoughts on the matter within her second verse where she gets down and dirty without holding back.
In her second verse, Iggy includes lyrics such as “First deal changed me, Robbed blind, basically raped me” to infer exactly how her early career as an artist never allowed her to reach her full potential and that it changed her outlook on the whole game. She was pouring her own money into projects including music videos and recording, her manager Sarah Stennett wasn’t helpful, and Iggy just wasn’t gaining the satisfaction she was looking for. Then Iggy explains how she got through the difficulty of failing at her first attempts by going harder, studying the Carters, sleeping on a cold floor of a studio and recording at 4a.m. until she finally reached her dream.
However, there is a shift in attitude from the second verse to the third verse. Coming from the second verse we see the harsher side of Iggy; the woman who states that others “ill intent was insurance for my benefit” and that she hates (sarcastically) “to be inconsiderate”. The third verse shows the softer and more appreciative Iggy Azalea. Iggy raps “pledge allegiance to the struggle”, which can be taken as a thanks to the industry because even though it was rough, it shaped her into the artist she is now. Iggy then goes on to thank her mom stating that she will pay her back for everything she did. The song “Work” begins with the hype that listeners of our generation want to hear from someone so exotic but ends with a calmness that leaves one feeling like they know Iggy on that personal level. Overall, Iggy gives her listeners insight on her personal life with strong emotional lyrics that make it hard to stop listening to “Work”. The video for the song makes it even harder to pull your eyes away from the screen. Below is a behind the scenes look at the making of the song “Work”.
The lyrics of “Change Your Life” are a complete one-eighty degree turn from those of “Work”. In “Change Your Life” Iggy Azalea raps about the luxury that she presently lives in. Not only does she exemplify the fact that she is no longer seen as a girl whose “passion was ironic” and had “dreams that were uncommon” as rapped in “Work”, but that she is so successful and wealthy now that she can CHANGE YOUR LIFE! Iggy can do more than just take care of herself, she has the ability to effect the lives of others using the finer things in life! Iggy’s got that “good-good” and she “can show you how to do this thing”! Iggy raps “We fast forward four years more, we long way from piss poor” exemplifying her transformation from having absolutely no money to living the American dream as an Australian, female rapper:
“Damn, this is the life
Exclusive sh*t with all access granted
In the country where the accents are grand,
And they landing on top of foreign mansions”
However, it’s not only Iggy’s lyrics that influence the idea of living the life but rapper T.I.’s as well, who is featured in the song:
“I get you everything that you need
I’m talking ’bout red bottoms LV”
“You fly over in coach and fly back in a jet
Hustle gang got your chest,
Ain’t no time for stress”
Iggy Azalea also lets it be known that she is something rare and new to the rap game but yet she has a throwback style that is similar to those like Tupac and Andre 3000 (her favorite rappers) which is apparent in the title of her debut album The New Classic. Iggy also implies this in the “Change Your Life” lyrics:
“You used to dealing with basic bitches
Basic shit all the time
I’m a new classic, upgrade your status”
One thing for sure is that Iggy doesn’t like to be compared to other female rappers but with our society it’s inevitable. Iggy works to separate herself from other white, female artists such as Kreayshawn (who she has been compared to relentlessly) because she is nothing like them, as she claims in this interview (time 1:55 – 2:20). She’s not your average white girl and she certainly makes that clear in her music and lifestyle.
Just like in her “Work” video, Iggy does a good job of giving her viewers an image that directly correlates with what her lyrics are portraying in the “Change Your Life” video. Here is a behind the scenes clip of the making of the “Change Your Life” video and the personal inspiration of Iggy that went in to making it complete perfection.
Behind all of Iggy Azalea’s songs there is a deeper meaning. Whether the song is humbling like “Work” or flashy like “Change Your Life”, the true meaning can be seen in Iggy’s lyrics as she constructs raps and beats that reflect her thoughts and ideas as a growing artist. Iggy Azalea sends messages to her listeners in a unique way through rap and for those who actually listen, we here it!
Everyone should be rushing to stores or buying the extremely down to earth debut album The New Classic on iTunes that released on April 22, 2014! In this video below, Iggy Azalea refers to what her album is all about. So take a listen to the already chart topping album and indulge your ears with the deep bass, smooth flow and incredibly engineered lyrics of Iggy Azalea.
Just in case you needed a different way to interpret the true meaning behind Iggy Azalea’s songs “Work” and “Change Your Life”, here is a small pop-up video pointing out the most important aspects of both songs!