Iggy Pop vs. Iggy Azalea: Two Legit

Iggy Azalea: fancy.
Iggy Azalea: fancy.

It's been a hell of a year for Iggy Azalea. Behind a few monster singles, the Australian hip-hop chanteuse has finally broken out of the novelty-rap ghetto and into the gated community of the mainstream. Sure, she may have accumulated a guerilla army's worth of haters along the way -- No. 1 hits will do that for you. But when Iggy-Igg bounces into Bayou Music Center tonight, she'll arrive as a hater-proof conquering superstar, practically unrecognizable from the teenager who moved to Houston in 2008 to soak up the Dirty Third sound.

Did we mention that she made the cover of Billboard? You gotta shift more than a few units to make that happen.

"This has been the year that I got signed to a major label, have released singles and am going on tour with Beyoncé next month," Azalea told the industry rag in August. "It's the year I got legit."

Hmm. Legit, Iggy? That's kind of a loaded word. When you've got Nicki Minaj, the self-proclaimed "baddest bitch" in the rap game, out there on TV not-so-subtly hinting that perhaps you don't even write your own raps, it's safe to say that the question of your legitimacy remains unanswered.

We here at Rocks Off don't know if Ms. Azalea writes all her own shit, and when we started asking around about it, the barista just sort of shrugged. But we do know one foolproof way to determine your musical legitimacy once and for all: by comparing you scientifically to history's most legitimate Iggy ever, Iggy Pop.

Iggy Pop vs. Iggy Azalea: Two Legit

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Now, it's no easy thing to compare a 24-year-old hip-hop It Girl to a 67-year-old punk pioneer. Some people might (and several, in fact, did) gently suggest that it would be completely stupid to try, and that in any sane world, Iggy Azalea and Iggy Pop should never be mentioned in the same breath. Frankly, they'd be right. But we're doing it anyway, because it's Friday, and you need something to read at work today to make you look busy.

And so, in the hallowed name of the Scientific Method, we shall now test the hypothesis that Iggy Azalea is legit by comparing her performance to that of the lead Stooge in five distinct categories essential to pop music. Strap in tight, because we may be about to twist logic into some painful new contortions here.

CATEGORY 1: THE HITS Got to hand it to Azalea, here. In 2014, her big ol' hits have been impossible to escape. "Fancy," that much-heralded "song of the summer," was the very definition of a career-making smash. It peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. And while "Fancy" was chilling up there at the top, Ariana Grande's cute little trifle "Problem" (which just so happens to feature a verse from the Igginator) hit No. 2. That made the rapper the first artist since the Beatles to hit the top two spots on the chart with her first-ever chart appearances. That's a rather strong start.

Iggy Pop? His peak chart appearance came in 1990 with "Real Wild Child (Wild One)," which rose to No. 28 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. While commendable, 28 is pretty far from No. 1, we think you'd agree. Compounding matters is the fact that it was a cover song originally recorded by Johnny O'Keefe, an early rock and roll great from I. Azalea's homeland of Australia. Plus, it came out a full nine years after his first single.

There's essentially no way we can credible award this category to Mr. Pop. Score one for the New Jack.

Legitimacy Point: Azalea

Iggy Pop vs. Iggy Azalea: Two Legit
Photo by Marc Brubaker

CATEGORY 2: THE STAGES Both Iggys, despite the extreme disparity in the length of their careers, have rocked some pretty dope stages during their time in the spotlight, from Detroit dive bars to... uh...wherever it is that they rap in Australia. The Sydney Opera House, let's assume. Because trying to chart every venue that they've played would be difficult and boring, we won't bother. Instead, let's compare their most recent onstage appearances right here in good ol' H-Town.

Tonight, Iggy Azalea will claim sole ownership of Bayou Music Center, the big, cavernous, bare-bones theater carved out of the old Albert Thomas convention center downtown. The place holds nearly 3,000 drunks, er, people, and everyone from Mariah Carey to Slayer has played there over the years, making it one of the top venues in the South. For live music in this city, it doesn't get much bigger than that.

Unless, of course, you're headed outdoors, which is exactly where Iggy Pop went the last time we saw him. As one of the headliners of last year's Free Press Summer Festival, Iggy and the Stooges rocked a sellout crowd that was waaaaay too big to air-condition. In all likelihood, festival organizers were simply too high to count exactly how many people were losing their shit to "Search and Destroy," but it was a lot more than could fit in BMC.

Legitimacy Point: Pop

Iggy Pop vs. Iggy Azalea: Two Legit

CATEGORY 3: THE COLLABORATORS Though her career is still ridiculously young, Iggy Azalea has already put together a pretty impressive list of collaborators, from T.I. and Diplo to the aforementioned Ariana Grande, Charli XCX, A$AP Rocky and God knows who else. As if that weren't enough, she's apparently set to share songs with Ellie Goulding and hip-hop grande dame Li'l Kim. That's a list that any young money-makin' artist would kill for.

It still ain't enough to top Iggy Pop's lengthy list of collaborators, though. Not even close! In addition to a longstanding and close working relationship with David Bowie, who pretty much kicks the shit out of everyone on Azalea's list single-handedly, Pop has also put in work with folks as famous and varied as Ginger Baker, Slash, Ke$ha, Lenny Kravitz, At the Drive-In, Rollins Band, Praxis, Rob Zombie, Beck, Peaches and dear God, the list goes on and on. If she can hang on in the biz for another 35 years, becoming a stone-cold, bona fide rock icon in the process, maybe she can catch up.

Because let's be real, that booty video she did with Jennifer Lopez ain't gonna get it done.

Legitimacy Point: Pop

Story continues on the next page.

  CATEGORY 4: THE BUTTS You know something? Maybe that last comment was a little harsh. J. Lo and Iggy's recent booty collaboration (I swear to God, it is titled "Booty") was actually pretty spectacular, as long as you could get past the music. To be totally fair to Ms. Azalea's talents, if you can out-ass Jennifer Lopez, your butt game is pretty fucking strong. Historic, maybe. And for an honest-to-God pop star, that counts for something.

Speaking of historical asses: Iggy Pop! The man is perhaps no slouch in the booty department. Though now resembling a rather saggy Bruce Lee, body-wise, Mr. Pop was once considered a very handsome freak, indeed, and his butt was rudely fondled by men and women alike during his blood-and-peanut-butter-smeared forays into the crowds of yore. David Bowie doesn't work with uggos, folks.

But let's get serious: Iggy Azalea's butt is possibly the greatest white-girl butt of the decade. That cannot be denied, no matter how sexist this particular blog entry has suddenly become.

Legitimacy Point: Azalea

Iggy Pop vs. Iggy Azalea: Two Legit

CATEGORY FIVE: THE REAL NAMES You didn't actually think they were born with the name Iggy, did you? Of course not! Who would name their kid that? Cruel and thoughtless assholes, that's who. Both Pop and Azalea were born with perfectly normal white-people names; the kind you can really put on a resume and expect results.

Or... were they? A quick Googlin' tells us that Iggy Azalea was born Amethyst Amelia Kelly way, way back in 1990, when Iggy Pop was briefly a sad has-been. Amethyst Kelly? That's...damn. Why did she even change it? "Amethyst Kelly" sounds like the name of a girl who was kicked out of Destiny's Child for being too hood. It's positively righteous, and now that we think about it, she looks like a perfect Amethyst.

Iggy Pop, on the other hand, was born James Newell Osterberg, Jr. Sheesh. "Jim Osterberg" sounds like a fucking Maine fisherman, not a psychotic garage-punk archetype. No wonder the man was cutting himself: He had to kill that sad-sack fisherman and be reborn with a heart full of napalm!

Because her real name is awesome and because choosing the name Iggy makes far less sense, we must award this category to Iggy Igg.

Legitimacy Point: Azalea

So there you have it: Iggy Azalea told us that 2014 was the year she got legit, and damned if it weren't. In the realm of popular music, the youngster has now even out-legitimized Iggy Pop, who's probably one of the top five coolest people that America ever produced.

So enjoy her show tonight, because you'll be watching a piece of history. After all, if there's anything that the past has taught us, it's that hit-making white-girl rappers typically have long, storied careers.

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