Fake Accents

I was listening to this going, what is going on here?

Mainly with her accent.  I had heard a bit about Iggy, but I was sure she is from Australia.  Turns out she is.  People have described her accent as Southern.  I’ll let her explain why she raps like this:

Have you ever rapped with your Australian accent?
Never. It feels weird to me. It’s the inflection at the end of a sentence when I take a breath. Obviously there are people who rap in all kinds of accents. But for me, rapping is like singing: The breath patterns aren’t the same as when I’m talking, so it’s easier to change into whatever I want. I couldn’t talk in an American accent—I could, but it would sound very fake—but I can rap in one with no problem.

OK, I guess.  This doesn’t really answer the question, but whatever.

It’s funny because earlier in the interview, she brings up the Rolling Stones:

Race has been an issue since you first got noticed as the tall blonde who rapped. Did you understand that some people in the U.S. would think you were fake?
Yeah, but it’s retarded. The Rolling Stones go to America, play “black” blues music, and nobody has a fucking issue with it or thinks it’s weird. But here we are, 50 years later, in the 21st century, and people are like, “This is so weird that you’re white, from another country, and you like black music.” Why is it not weird for Keith Richards or Mick Jagger, but it’s so weird and taboo for me? Do you think a kid liking my music is gonna make rap music some other thing, or that all of a sudden nobody’s gonna like Scarface?

The Rolling Stones weren’t above putting on a fake Southern accent:

I mean, as phony accents go, that one was about as hammy as it gets.

That being said, the Rolling Stones weren’t trying to be down with anyone at that point- they were basically making a joke.  I like the song, but I don’t think they were expecting it to be on any honky-tonk juke boxes.

I’ve never been a fan of the idea that someone has to be the exact person they portray themselves to be in their music.  Pretend all you want, I really don’t care as long as you do it well or you can make it amusing.  And it’s kind of ridiculous for rap listeners to complain about this since rappers faking Jamaican accents has been going on for decades- not on every song, but does that really matter?  I don’t know, maybe that’s why the Rolling Stones could get away with it.

I don’t know if I find Iggy amusing or not.  Her music is kind of odd.  I’ve made this point several times before, but rap, unlike pop, country, or even rock, requires you say some interesting things between the choruses but I feel like a lot of pop rappers disagree.  Or their producers disagree, that’s possible.

Iggy leans really heavily on growing up poor and coming to the USA at 16, working hard to make it a rapper:

That’s interesting but pretty much every rapper has made the same claim, to the degree that people who didn’t feel like they have to make it too.  Some day a rapper is going to have such skills that he or she can admit to coming from the suburbs and not ever having struggled and people will like that person’s music anyway and then the world will explode.

 

I’m not trying to make fun of someone’s struggle, it just strikes me as an odd thing to ask of the people who supply your entertainment.

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4 comments

  1. This reminds me of the way people responded to “Started from the Bottom” by Drake. Like, you “started from the bottom” as a teenage TV star in Toronto? Or maybe it was more metaphorical than that.

    1. Haha, I was totally thinking about that song when I wrote this. I’ve heard him say that it’s not like he was rich from a TV show- which might be true, but I’m sure he learned a few things that helped him later. Oddly enough I really like that song.

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