What is the point of releasing a reissued album, exactly? Surely, it’s so that record labels can milk the holiday season whilst ensuring their artists keep trending all year round. That’s probably what Virgin or Def Jam had in mind when they re-released this Iggy Azalea album. After all, it wasn’t like she had recorded enough material to release a new LP – as if she could find the time, considering the success of hits Fancy and Black Widow keeping her busy. And so, barely seven months after the release of The New Classic, we’re presented with Reclassified – featuring five new songs to keep us on our toes. Good marketing move? Perhaps so.
At least the babe from Mullumbimby proves she ain’t going anywhere; Reclassified basically reasserts Azalea’s place within the R&B/Pop scene. It seems that arrogance – combined with a touch of modesty, mind you – is the key to surviving in the rap world. She lays it all out here in We In This Bitch, a very retro 70’s number complete with spacey keyboard riffs and a snazzy electric guitar. The track may be mellow, but Azalea is still a badass – after all, ‘ain’t nothing about Miss Azalea average.’ Work follows the same arrogance/modesty principle, only it’s laced with tidbits of Azalea’s past. It’s not glamorous – we’re taken to flashbacks of a young 16 year old scrubbing floors, saving every penny in the hopes of making it big. Between tongue-twisting rap verses, Azalea summarises it pretty well: superstardom takes guts, and a whole ‘lotta gambling.
This nitty-gritty determination of hers is actually quite admirable, and perhaps one of her greatest selling points as an artist. You’ll find that a lot of the tracks on the album deal with working hard, living a luxe life and being the baddest bitch out. Sometimes, a track may incorporate all three of these themes – like Change Your Life, featuring fellow rapper and mentor T.I. ‘Fast forward four years more, we long way from piss poor…I told you what you was in for…’ brags Azalea, with T.I echoing her sentiments. The track itself is extremely catchy, with a singsongy build up towards an explosive chorus. It’s not all fun and games though, because being ridiculously rich and famous comes at a price. Don’t Need Y’all acknowledges all this; over echoey, reflective synths and a simple beat, Azalea gives a shoutout to all the haters, the traitors and fake friends within the industry. We’re also treated to a bit of singing from her as well – giving the track all the more an authentic feel. Granted, the chorus is heavily reliant on pitch correction and studio fanciness, but whether she can sing or not is beside the point. The fact is that navigating the fame game wasn’t easy and still isn’t – but here, in this moment of reflection, Azalea decides that she’s better off anyway.
Of course, what’s a reissued album without new songs? One of these is Beg For It, featuring up and comer MØ. But to be honest, it’s really just a Fancy knock-off. No, seriously. You might even want to listen to the chorus of Beg For It, and simultaneously hum the melody of Fancy against it. Again, Azalea pronounces that she is the one and only bad bitch up in here, and nobody else measures up. But in reasserting her position every second song, doesn’t it seem like a less coveted position and more like a cliché instead? Queen Iggy hits back with Heavy Crown, and this time she brings a friend, the ever-lovely Ellie Goulding. Over a heavy marching beat and a grungy electric guitar, this is Goulding at her edgiest yet, proclaiming ‘bitch, I got it now!’ While it’s a musical combination made it heaven, Azalea outshines her counterpart by a ten-fold, simply because Goulding’s spacey, mellow chorus is no match for the rapper’s hard-hitting verses. As a result, Goulding’s contribution sounds out of place; if only her part packed more of a punch, the track would’ve made more of a lasting impression.
Does Iggy Azalea convince us that she’s the Queen of Rap? That question is probably better left unanswered. But she does convince us that she’s a hard-worker, a sexy woman, and above all, a strong character. For now, she deserves all the success coming her way.