Mixtape Review: Iggy Azalea, Trap Gold

Grand Hustle’s first lady shows vast improvement on her latest effort.

4star
Posted: 10/16/2012 12:45 PM EDT

More so than any other MC we’ve seen, Australian spitter Iggy Azalea could only exist in today's post-"keeping it real" era of rap. Only in 2012 could a blonde who found hip hop at 14 and got her name from her family pet be the centerpiece of T.I.’s Grand Hustle Records. But, much like Rick Ross and the rest of hip hop’s growing pool of rhyming actors, once you overcome the gray area between Iggy’s musical persona and her actual life, it’s hard to discredit the quality of the music. That said, Azalea’s latest release, Trap Gold, is one of the better mixtapes released this year. What that says about the state of the game is a separate conversation altogether.

By this point a master of absorbing and imitating culture, Iggy concocts a sound that mixes 2 Chainz, Nicki Minaj and Chief Keef in the perfect doses for 2012. Production from Diplo and FKi certainly help, but the golden-haired MC holds her own lyrically while showcasing her singular energy and surprisingly crisp flow throughout the 12 tracks. She’s clearly a more polished MC than the one many met on the cover of XXL’s Freshman list earlier this year with skeptical smirks and raised eyebrows, and she proves it on tracks like “Demons” and “1 800 Bone.” The latter is an infectious girl-themed booty call anthem that shows Iggy at her best: Feminine, confident and internationally charming.

A solid but not spectacular Juicy J feature is the only guest appearance as Iggy spends most of her time acquainting herself with her fast-growing audience. The ethereal “SLO” is one of the tape’s best moments. Produced by Diplo and FKi, it features Iggy spitting lines like, “I love the light, fast life/F--- that, though I’d rather go slow,” through distorted vocals.

Because her persona would not be accepted by hip hop as authentic, she avoids personal tracks and keeps it to bouncy party jams and femme trap bangers. But while it’s wise for her to keep things surface level now, Trap Gold does leave much to be desired in terms of emotional expression. It breaks no new ground musically or artistically but serves its purpose of proving Azalea as a cultural anomaly that will challenge our quickly globalizing culture. Maybe fans will get that deeper look on her debut album, which is set for release in 2013. Still, though we may never get used to the sight or sound of a blonde Australian rhyming over trap beats, she has just enough bounce to make us want to hear some more.

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(Photo: Courtesy of Grand Hustle)

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