by Irene Lo
There’s something about Barbie, and it’s that she raps. The similarity between the quintessential white girl and Iggy Azalea was striking beyond belief. The Australian rapper was in Vancouver this Wednesday night at the Commodore Ballroom, performing tracks off her two-years-in-the-making debut album, The New Classic. A show sold out a month in advance, her fans were nothing but devoted, and their passion paid off in a night that was full of sass and ass.
With the words “PUSSY” in blaringly pink light behind Azalea and her SWAT team of dancers, it was not a night of subtlety by a long shot. In fact, the lasting impression was that this was what it felt like to be fly like a G6 in 2014. The crowd was heavily invested in the visual novelty that made up Azalea’s marketing appeal. Set to a trap-influenced beat, Azalea walked the stage, bringing out the same slow-motion dance moves you’ve seen before in music videos such as “Work”, and, really, that you’ve observed in every girl that’s decided to dance in a sultry fashion because being sexy is cool. Watching Azalea swish her flimsy hips, and raise her hands up like a genie raising the roof, the sense that she was just another hot chick at a party hit an all-time high when she proceeded to make it rain. “Taste this kitty”, snarled Azalea, and it was no news flash that this kitty had no claws.
A rapper by trade, Azalea more than flirts with pop hooks, what with her hit single “Fancy” solidifying her place as a dark horse in the running for the crown of pop princess, a seat up for grabs for whoever is trillest of them all. Pop stars often rely on selling sex since their music freely samples and takes from music genres that pick up traction like EDM, so when Azalea performs “Change Your Life” or “Flexin’ & Finessin”, she sells herself as an ambassador of that trend, and associates herself with what will be a new classic. Azalea, as a new permutation in the long line of female pop stars, is successful to judge by how on-board her fans are with her image. Bow down to rachet glory delivered in a Pilates-informed physique to the tune of bass drops and sugary sing-alongs.
It was surprising then, given the rich material Azalea had, that her on-stage presence was something less than magnetic. It was hard not to watch her perform, make no doubt about that, but it wasn’t for the right reasons. Azalea, dainty and feminine, exuded a strong sense of acting out an IDGAF persona that could have been owned up to more. The energy to match the dirty beats to her songs was lacking, and instead the decision was made to play conductor at a distance, with her riling up the crowd with the typical gestures to make more noise. Fans lost their minds over “Quicktime”, a song that built itself up just like “Black Widow”, not to mention the adrenaline-pumping encore, “Work”, but Azalea played it ice cold to the end.