For anyone that knows me personally, you’re fully aware that I dislike Iggy Azalea with a burning passion. Whenever I hear her strangled voice crow that stupid line “first thing’s first”, I go full SJW and begin listing every problematic thing about her. And to my friends’ dismay, there’s no way of shutting me up until the station is changed and they pretty much have no choice but to do so— especially if they’re trapped in a car with me.
Now, I’m not going to go and put you through that. Actually, that’s a lie; I am a little (sorry not sorry). Not only does she have no talent (what’s up with that weird southern-American accent?) but she is literally the epitome of cultural appropriation and everything wrong with it, specifically the appropriation of black women’s bodies whereby current beauty standards are influenced by black women (think the big booty and lips trend) but they are given no credit for it. These features are idealised on a white woman but frowned upon when a black woman embraces these attributes. Think Nicki or Beyoncé for example; whenever they shake their little behinds on stage, they’re told they’re token feminists and hyper-sexualising the female anatomy, using their bodies for bad things rather than having some self-respect. But when Iggy twerks badly, she’s suddenly hailed as the queen of empowering rap. For instance, whenever I bring up how awful she is, there’s usually someone in my vicinity who mentions her perfectly sculpted butt and how that somehow makes everything she does okay. In other words, Iggy has the cultural appropriation thing pretty down-pat. Type in ‘Iggy Azalea racist’ into Google images and a plethora of time-stamped tweets will appear with messages of racism targeting Asian and Mexican women. Ol’ Iggy also loves a homophobic slur every now and again and let’s not forget that she refers to herself as not only a ‘slave master’ but an ‘Indian chief’ in some lyrics of hers that she no doubt didn’t write herself.
But with this problem, I present a solution. Instead of being embarrassed by the fact that Igloo is Australian, let’s focus on some actual talent when it comes to the rapping game. If you’re like me, and cringe a little whenever you hear someone speaking or singing in our ghastly accent on radio or the big and silver screens, you’ll just have to push past this inhibition and take note of the underlying talent that’s brewing. Here’s a list of some of my favourite Australian femcees that we should be focussing on.
- Tkay Maidza: Zimbabwean born and Adelaide raised, this child genius graduated high-school at age 16 and has been slaying ever since. Now 18, Tkay has sold out shows across Australia and is anticipating a U.S tour later in the year. Her “Switch Tape” EP has garnered much success thanks to tracks such as “Switch Lanes”, “Uh-Huh” and “Finish Them”, full of energy and bubble-gum vibes; the kinds of bangers that make you want a run a mile and feature in your own M.I.A cross Rocky Balboa moment. Her brand new single “M.O.B” pays homage to her ethos “money over bitches”. “It’s an ode from the present me to the future me, talking about what I hope to achieve and what I hope to be” she tells Matt and Alex on triple j, which I think is pretty damn cool.
- Blaq Carrie: Hailing from Harare, Zimbabwe, her latest single “Reality” packs plenty of punch with her poetry-slam style delivery. She’s a talented lyricist and hopes to one day achieve greatness to that of her idols including Aaliyah, Lauryn Hill, 2Pac and Kanye West. Classic R&B/Soul instrumentals frequent in her tracks which makes her oh-so-easy to listen to. The music video for “Reality” is also a bit of fun, detailing her dreams of breaking free from the ‘burbs of Brisbane through good ol’ fashioned hard-work. I dig her clean-fun hustler vibe.
- Jesswar: Once you hit 0:39 of her track “Kendrick Lamar”, your head starts spinning so prepare yourself. This girl can rap very, very fast. The 20-year-old’s ‘two-middle fingers in the air’ energy is raw and nasty. Her new EP “Peachy” is no exception. Her lyrics detail her life on the Gold Coast with her main-squeeze focussing on the trials and tribulations of entering a new relationship featured in her latest music video “Jelly”. She has a Minaj fearlessness about her, especially in her tracks “Lips” and “Bitchy”. She’s not afraid to let you know how it is and her confidence oozes effortlessly from every bar.
- Sarah Connor: The Sydney-sider delivers every bar with conviction and urgency. Her lyrics touch on everything from femininity, to gang-violence within her city. And that sound-byte from “Kill Bill” in the song of the same name pretty much solidifies what she’s all about. Price Johnson’s achingly smooth voice on the hook of her song “Coma State” in combination with Connor’s veracious lyrics makes for one of the best Aussie hip-hop releases for 2015 so far.
- Madame Wu: The unlikely combination of ethereal hooks and visceral lyricism makes Madame Wu one of the most interesting femcees I’ve encountered. From the super personal to global social issues, each bar seems to hit a soft spot regardless of the theme at hand with her crooning-ferocity hitting a Maya Angelou level of poeticism at times. “Reclaim the Night” is one of my feminist anthems, unpacking often overlooked aspects of the relevance of the movement in Western society, refocusing the white-washed definition to that of something greater and encompassing of intersectionality. Straight up power and respect.