AMERICAN rapper, producer, label boss and reality television star T.I. said his protege Iggy Azalea only cops flak in the US because “hip hop is a very competitive sport”.
The music superstar started working with Azalea after he was released from prison for probation violations in 2011 determined to “come back with a vengeance” with his Grand Hustle label.
One of his crew showed him the Australian’s online videos and T.I. rang her to offer his assistance in launching her career.
He said while the intrigue of a white Australian female rapper may have piqued the curiosity of music fans, it was her talent and not hype which made her a star.
“Her talent, her passion, her drive, her ability to perform and morph into something bigger, a hybrid between Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Lady Gaga, Lil’ Kim and a little Missy Elliott,” he said.
“You put all of this together and the industry has never seen anything like that before; hip hop has never seen anything like that before and not just because she’s Australian, not just because she is white, not just because she is female, not just because she’s a sex symbol.
“She performs as though she worked on this, you know what I’m saying. It looks a strategic application of skill.”
The 33-year-old entertainer made his first visit to Australia this week to spruik his upcoming ninth record Paperwork which will be released on October 24.
The debut single No Mediocre features his Australian protege and the album was produced by his long time friend Pharrell Williams.
Iggy Azalea’s mentor, American rapper T.I. is in Sydney launching of his new album. Image:
They both co-starred on the Robin Thicke hit Blurred Lines.
“Who’s the busiest? Damn. Pharrell’s definitely getting more money, I will say that,” he joked.
“That is the tiebreaker.”
T.I. said he wouldn’t mind checking out other Australian artists to work with in the wake of the phenomenal success of Azalea’s debut record The New Classic.
“It worked out so well for me the first time so why not, man?” he said.