Questlove Defends Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy,’ the ‘Song of the Summer’
The Roots drummer delivers some much-needed objective advice on the controversy surrounding Australian rapper
With Saul Williams claiming that Tupac musicals are doomed to fail in a society that supoprts Iggy Azalea, the controversy surrounding the Southern-sounding rapper from Australia rages on amongst hip-hop historians and general rap fans. But fear not! Questlove, the ultimate pop music sage of today, is here to lead us through the chaos with a nuanced and objective ruling on the game-changing, chart-topping rise of “Fancy.”
In response to the prompt “Are you pro or anti Iggy Azalea?” by TIME magazine, he advises acceptance of the catching power of the genre crafted in the burning Bronx of the 1970s: “Black people have to come to grips that hip-hop is a contagious culture. If you love something, you gotta set it free.” Perhaps most tellingly, the Roots leader firmly identifies “Fancy” as “the song of the summer.”
He explains that he situates himself as “caught in between” on the issue, and that he’ll make a point to call out those who troll her without basis, such as when Public Enemy’s Chuck D blasted the white rapper for a now-proven fabricated use of the N-word on Iggy’s Instagram.
Setting hip-hop free to be dominated by Iggy’s aesthetic (see “Pu$$y”) is a little different than making way for game-changing from the virtuoso-likes of Eminem, but Questlove expresses hope for Iggy growing out of her “appropriated” Southern enunciation: “I think that would be cooler.” He also shouts out music from Down Under in general, and cautions, “A lot of them more soulful than what we’re dealing with now.”
Here is Questo’s full response to the question:
Here’s the thing: the song is effective and catchy as hell, and it works. Just the over-enunciation of “hold you down”? [Laughs] It makes me chuckle because all I can see is my assistant holding a brush in the mirror and singing it.
I’m caught in between. And I defend it. I see false Instagram posts like, “She said the N-word! She said the N-word!” I’ll call people out — “Yo, don’t troll.” I know you’re ready to give your 42-page dissertation on theGrio about why this is culture vulture-ism. You know, we as black people have to come to grips that hip-hop is a contagious culture. If you love something, you gotta set it free. I will say that “Fancy,” above any song that I’ve ever heard or dealt with, is a game-changer in that fact that we’re truly going to have to come to grips with the fact that hip-hop has spread its wings.
And to tell the truth, I was saying this last year, I don’t think it’s any mistake that four or five of my favorite singers are from Australia. Like between Hiatus Kaiyote, there’s a bunch I can name for you right now, but I don’t think it’s a mistake that a lot of of my favorite artists are coming from Down Under. A lot of them more soulful than what we’re dealing with now. When you think soul music and Aretha Franklin and the Baptist-born singer, that’s sort of an idea in the past. As black people, we’re really not in the church as we used to be, and that’s reflected in the songs now.
I’m not going to lie to you, I’m torn between the opinions on the Internet, but I’mma let Iggy be Iggy. It’s not even politically correct dribble. The song is effective. I’m in the middle of the approximation of the enunciation, I’ll say. Part of me hopes she grows out of that and says it with her regular dialect — I think that would be cooler. But, yeah, “Fancy” is the song of the summer.