Baby I got me/And that’s all I need/Only friend I need/Playing on my team. Iggy Azalea likely wrote those lyrics from her latest electro-hop smash “Team” before her public split with LA Laker Nick Young, but the empowering words could be perfectly suited to describe the rapper and model’s next chapter.
This year is shaping up to be a big one for the Aussie: the anticipated release of her sophomore album Digital Distortion; a TV gig down under judging talent on X Factor Australia; high-profile performances like her Good Morning America Summer Concert Series appearance; and headlining at Hakkasan’s new venue Jewel, where she’ll perform July 23.
“Team” might be Azalea’s first solo single in a few years, but its top-10 placement on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart suggests she still can spit some serious rhymes. That should be no surprise. Azalea’s debut album, The New Classic, scored four Grammy nominations, and smash hit “Fancy” topped Billboard’s Hot 100. Right behind it was Azalea’s “Problem” collaboration with Ariana Grande.
Azalea is a musical force to be reckoned with, which makes it pretty easy to side with Team Iggy.
You’ve postponed the release of Digital Distortion, but I've heard it should be out sometime this month. Is that true? What are you most excited for your fans to hear? No, that’s not true. You can’t believe everything you read! My album is finished, but I've been blindsided by a lot of things happening in my personal life recently. [I] just needed to have some me time to get my life in order and process the changes that are happening in my private life.
The New Classic featured a handful of collaborations, from T.I. to Charli XCX and Rita Ora. Who did you work with on Digital Distortion? I didn't make a collaboration-heavy album this time around. The only collaboration on the album is with rapper YG, who I worked with on my first mixtape. And maybe one or two other rappers on some remixes.
You’ve released “Team” off Digital Distortion and I’m assuming you’ll treat the crowd to a live performance at Jewel on July 23. Will you be performing anything else off the upcoming album? Yes, I'm performing “Team,” nothing else off the album this time around, but [I] am playing at Jewel again in [August] and my album will be out then. So I'm sure the second show will include an expanded and newer setlist.
You’ve played Vegas a lot in the past few years. Do you like playing here? I am a gigantic blackjack fan, so [I] like any excuse to come to Vegas! Also, clubs in Las Vegas are much more extreme than the standard haunt in whatever city you live in. They have crazy lights, smoke and other things that make the experience more memorable and fun for everyone.
What drew you to performing at Hakkasan Group venues? I just love the people behind the scenes, everyone is always so nice and accommodating. It’s hard to imagine working with anyone else.
Will you have time to explore the city a bit while you’re here? Anything you’re looking forward to experiencing? I always try to catch a show and then find myself glued to a card table.
You’re going to be a judge on X Factor Australia. When does that begin and what is that schedule like? I have actually already started filming it! It’s not as much jet-setting as people imagine. I just got home from filming there for two weeks straight, and then I return again in November for the month and that’s it. It’s not much flying but a very intense schedule. While I'm there, we film two shows a day.
I thought your Clueless-inspired concept for the “Fancy” music video was absolutely brilliant. Was that your idea? Were you a fan of that movie growing up? Yes, it’s very nostalgic. I’ve always loved the styling in the film, and my best friend, who also does all my costuming, and I had the idea to remake it for over a year before deciding to use that concept for “Fancy.” It was just about waiting for the right song to fit the visual. Iggy Azalea at Jewel at Aria, July 23.