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Music review: Iggy Azalea’s debut shows promise
New release » Iggy Azalea, “The New Classic” (Def Jam/Grand Hustle).
First Published Apr 24 2014 02:14 pm • Last Updated Apr 30 2014 02:42 pm

The blond ambitious rapper with a killer flow from the Australian outback has finally made it and she’s not afraid to rap about it.

Iggy Azalea, 23, has been hustling to get to where she is since she first landed in Miami at 16, and the main theme of the 12-track "The New Classic" is her dream of becoming accomplished in hip-hop through hard work and unwillingness to be thwarted by bad deals, critics and industry pressures. That’s especially on tracks such as "Walk the Line," "Don’t Need Y’all" and the dark "Impossible Is Nothing."

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"First deal changed me, robbed blind, basically raped me … studied the Carters till a deal was offered, slept cold on the floor recording," she spits on "Work," not as a complaint, but as a badge of honor.

Musically, the album leans toward a blend of pop and electro beats. The rappers of the heyday that led Azalea to this path may shake their heads at this softball version of their craft, but it’s not called "The New Classic" for nothing. It’s a fresher take of the rhyming arts, flipping its inherent misogyny and machismo on its head with a few disappointing exceptions (just bypass the wealth-flashing "New (Expletive)"). Overall, this is a women’s empowerment record.

Rita Ora’s velvet voice adds another layer to the anti-love slow burn of the Stargate-produced "Black Widow," a song that has a writing credit from Katy Perry. Charli XCX — from "I Love It" fame with Icona Pop — contributes to the playful electro tune "Fancy," while Azalea’s mentor, T.I., gives her a hand with that whole "Change Your Life" thing.

If Azalea doesn’t fall into the trap of rapping only about her designer clothes and wealth in the future, and keeps her eyes on the artsy prize, she might just become an old classic.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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