Iggy Azalea Says Road to Rap Stardom Was 'A Ridiculous Dream'

Billy Johnson, Jr.
The New NowJune 7, 2014
photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Some of Iggy Azalea's high school classmates in Australia might be surprised that her rapping has led her to the top of the U.S. charts. Iggy's songs "Fancy" with Charli XCX and "Problem" with Ariana Grande are currently No. 1 and No. 2 in this country, respectively. (The only other act to score the top two chart spots with their first hits? The Beatles.) Not bad for a girl who dropped out of high school to compete in a field where many doubted she could find success.

[Related: Iggy Azalea Has a Clue: Transforms Into Alicia Silverstone for 'Clueless' Remake]

When the star born Amethyst Amelia Kelly told her friends she was quitting school at age 16 to become a rapper, many scoffed, and told her that she would be back. "People definitely didn't support it," Iggy told Yahoo Music last July. "So me wanting to be a rapper in Australia, the most ridiculous dream you could dream wasn't exactly received well. But once I got to America, it got a lot more easy."

When Iggy moved to the U.S., she first lived in Miami before moving to Houston and Atlanta. She recorded mixtapes, found work with Wilhelmina Models, and linked up with Atlanta-based hip-hop superstar T.I. Iggy found more acceptance in the  States, and felt welcomed and embraced for her interest in learning more about hip-hop culture. "Once I got here, the ball kinda rolled," she said.

Meeting T.I. was a major turning point in Iggy's career. Teamed with T.I.'s Grand Hustle Records, she released the EP Glory, and later that year was featured on XXL magazine's heralded "Freshman" cover with other hotly tipped up-and-comers, Macklemore, Future, and French Montana.

"T.I., he gives me a lot of advice, but it's more personal advice," Iggy explained. "Career moves and musically what I'm doing, he doesn't step on my toes too much. I'll usually call him and [say], 'Hey, Tip, I'm doing this. What the hey?' And he'll say, 'That's great. Now when you do it. Don't forget…' That's when the advice comes."

[Related: Iggy Azalea Ties Chart Record With the Beatles]

In 2012, Iggy experienced her biggest test of fame, an experience that taught her a lot about herself. "It was kinda hard for me learning to live your life under the scrutiny of strangers," she revealed. "A lot of things you hear all the time about celebrities, you think you'll be ready for it. When you see how close it can hit your heart, you can never be ready for it. It's very hard to fail in front of the world."

Failure should be the furthest thing from Iggy's mind these days. Her debut full-length The New Classic is easily living up to its name.

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