Iggy Azalea claps back with ‘In My Defense’…or does she?

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Iggy Azalea claps back with ‘In My Defense’…or does she?

The cover of Iggy Azalea's second studio album, 'In My Defense'.

The cover of Iggy Azalea's second studio album, 'In My Defense'.

Bad Dreams Records, EMPIRE

The cover of Iggy Azalea's second studio album, 'In My Defense'.

Bad Dreams Records, EMPIRE

Bad Dreams Records, EMPIRE

The cover of Iggy Azalea's second studio album, 'In My Defense'.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

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In the years following the release of The New Classic, Iggy Azalea suffered a series of setbacks that would severely impact the course of her career.

In May 2015, creative differences with her former label, Def Jam, resulted in the cancellation of her then-upcoming tour, The Great Escape Tour. In June 2016, she called off her marriage with former NBA star Nick Young, subsequently delaying her second studio album, Digital Distortion, originally planned for a summer 2016 release, until the following year. The album was eventually scrapped when she left Def Jam in November 2017, signing a deal with Island Records, and announcing a new album called Surviving the Summer slated for release in 2018.

In June 2018, Azalea announced the album would instead be released as an EP, re-titled Survive the Summer, which was released in August after several delays and spawned the moderately successful single, “Kream” with American rapper Tyga. She was also set to embark on a new tour, the Bad Girls Tour, later in the fall, but it was canceled due to financial issues. Fed up with feeling like she had no control over her career, Azalea left Island in November to become an independent artist.

Finally free of label constrictions, Azalea finally managed to release her long-awaited second studio album in mid-July in the form of In My Defense. The record was preceded by two successful singles, “Sally Walker” and “Started”, and was marketed to be the comebacks of all comebacks.

But was it?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m Team Iggy all the way, but the album did not live up to its hype. While there are a few tracks that address her haters and career setbacks, like “Thanks I Get” and “Clap Back”, most of the songs on the album are turn-up bops about twerking and being a baddie. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. We love a sexually liberated woman who knows her worth, however, it’s not the album we thought we were getting.

This brings me to my next issue: As a listener, one of my biggest pet peeves is when an artist releases all the strongest tracks from an album ahead of its release. It creates a certain expectation of what the other songs might sound like that the album is unable to satisfy, and that’s exactly what happened with In My Defense. It’s not that any of the songs are inherently bad, it’s just that they can’t compete with the singles.

Speaking of the singles, as I said before, they constitute the stronger tracks on the album. Of the four songs released as singles, “Started” is the most audacious. It’s a direct message to all the people who doubted her as an artist when she debuted, and Azalea makes it clear that she’s here to stay.

All that aside, I’m still very proud of Azalea for standing up for herself and her artistry. All too often we see female musicians’ careers held back by label restraints. It’s happened time and time again from Britney Spears to Charli XCX. Iggy Azalea wants to break that tradition, encouraging artists to challenge their labels and go independent as soon as they can. In My Defense is available now across all online and streaming platforms.

Stream In My Defense on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3kQvfhjfU6Mleis6k6vpmw?si=7LanVPqrShWCUQraNQfKRg

Watch the music video for “Started”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flPCk8Z5XS0