Iggy Azalea would have to be one of the most talked about female rappers, and not always for a good reason. The end of 2015 was unexpectedly eventful for Iggy, after she came under fire, yet again,over her ‘rapping’ ability. Plus, she’s constantly being called out for the dramatic difference between her rap voice and her normal voice. It’s a valid question, and now, thanks to linguists, Maeve Eberhardt and Kara Freeman, we think we know how she does it.
Her ‘blaccent’, as referred to by rapper Eve— has remarkable fluency in sound and syntax of what linguists call ‘African American English’. According to Freeman and Eberhardt’s published journal, AAE can be adopted by people who grow up around African Americans. Although Iggy lived in America for a period of her life, it wasn’t until she was 16, which is apparently well and truly after her language would have developed. Linguists say AAE is not something that outsiders can replicate easily, which suggests that she’s put a lot of time and effort into practicing. Not only can she speak AAE but also her grammar and writing style is spot on.
It seems that she’s put a whole lot of effort to get her voice to fit into the American rap scene and form her identity around that rather than her own. Some say she doesn’t respect the boundaries of authenticity—a point she has argued against multiple times in the past—but with a new album in the works this year, we doubt she will be changing her formula any time soon.
Seriously though, people have put a lot of time into dissecting exactly why Iggy sounds the way she does, and if you’re at all curious, you can read the full article here.
- Words: Mikaela Ortolan