When it comes to successful entertainers, they face an audience that’s ready to help them climb to the top of the charts and the next day knock them off their pedestal for multiple reasons. We’re living in the “cancel” era where a past racist tweet or disruptive life choice played out for the masses will lead to a #blankisoverparty and a swan dive to irrelevancy. I can vividly remember a time where Tyga and Iggy Azalea were considered popular artists with not only charting singles but respect in the industry. Both artists had to deal with their image and even controversies become bigger than the music and figure out how to navigate beyond The Shade Room posts and TMZ blasts to show the mainstream audience that their music should be the focus of conversation, not their celebrity status.
Seeing Iggy and Tyga’s name side by side might seem odd at first but aside from collaborating on Azalea’s latest single “Kream”, both rappers have had a similar come up in the music industry. Tyga began as an independent artist releasing his first mixtape Young On Probation in 2008, gaining the attention of Young Money Entertainment and later signing a record deal with the infamous label. I became a fan of Tyga in 2010 in the middle of his mixtape era when he dropped a collaborative mixtape with Chris Brown and started his Well Done series. His records “Rack City”, “Faded” “Make It Nasty” and appearances on Young Money singles “BedRock” and Roger That” sealed the deal on his spot in mid 2000s hip hop but it’s a fight to keep that “hottest rapper” spot as new rappers come through with new sounds and hot songs that shift the sound of the culture and puts the spotlight on new faces. Tyga definitely got lost in the sauce and his relationship with Kylie Jenner didn’t help. People became more focused on the ups and downs of his celebrity status and relationship with Jenner which lead to a dive in his music popularity.
Iggy Azalea had a similar independent artist come up. After hearing Azalea’s first mixtape Ignorant Art in 2011 and seeing the music video for her single “PU$$Y” it was obvious that she was a viral sensation waiting to be discovered by the masses. She has the looks of a model, the body that a lot of women wish they had and a lot of men wish they could be with and the sound of a rapper from Atlanta (Currently the hottest city when it comes to rap). The problem that plagued Iggy’s career from the start was the feeling of inauthenticity in her music. Here is a white rapper from Australia that sounds like she’s from the streets of Atlanta rapping about a life that listeners didn’t know was actually hers. I feel like a lot of people growing in the 90s and beyond became fans of hip hop and were influenced by the culture and Azalea discussed her early love for hip hop in interviews, trying to show the world that she didn’t just stumble into the genre, she was raised by it.
After signing to T.I.’s label Grand Hustle in 2012, Iggy gained the cosign she needed to thrive in the hip hop world and the rise of her career could be summarized with one opening line: “First things first I’m the realest,”. Azalea’s single “Fancy” was everywhere, leading to Grammy nominations and one of the biggest hits by a female rapper. The “Black Widow” rapper had the Billboard hit filled career that mainstream artists dream of but the fame and hate definitely got to her. Add a failed engagement to the mix and you have an artist that really needed a break from the spotlight.
Now it’s 2018 and we have two artists that have more than proved their music ability when looking at their catalogue ready to return to the mainstream with a warmer reception than you would expect for two artists who became punchlines for the media. Tyga and Iggy recently dropped new music (Tyga released his album Kyoto in February and Iggy’s EP Survive The Summer just dropped in August) and their material shows where they are in their lives and the types of rappers they’re aiming to be in the future. It’s not a shock to hear them collabing together on Azalea’s stripclub ready bop “Kream” since they’re not only friends but two artists who survived the storm and continue to prove that their music can garner the attention of the mainstream audience. Tyga’s single “Taste” peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, while Iggy’s “Kream”peaked at number 96 so the battle isn’t completely over but if these underdogs want to truly return to the top, not only does the music have to be amazing but the drive has to be unstoppable. Having your life constantly dissected under a microscope has to be daunting but when your dream is to be a successful artist, all that bullshit comes with the territory. Both of these artists now completely know what they signed up for and it’s up to them to decide if all of this is truly worth it. Survival of the fittest, let’s see who makes it on top.
Article By: Marcel “The Messenger” Jeremiah