Tell Me Who's Bad

Hip-pop "Royals" Lorde and Iggy do battle Down Under

No, Iggy Azalea. YOU'RE out of line.
No, Iggy Azalea. YOU'RE out of line.

Last week, hip-pop bad girl Iggy Azalea told Billboard that Lorde’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame performance with Nirvana was “inappropriate.” Azalea added that one of Kurt Cobain’s peers should have taken the mic for “All Apologies” instead of the Kiwi singer. The position made me laugh at the text posting on my cell phone.

Annoyance seems like a natural reaction to the 17-year-old pop sorceress sitting in with Nirvana – especially to Nineties kids who grew up head banging to In Utero in smoke filled closets. Iggy, whose new hit “Fancy” I adore, was articulating a sentiment likely shared by a decent proportion of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame audience, but I don’t buy it.

There’s a long history of an artist’s peers handling induction speeches at this event, like when Paul McCartney inducted John Lennon back in 1994. But last time I checked Melissa Etheridge wasn’t swigging Southern Comfort with Janis Joplin in the late Sixties, and she belted “Piece of My Heart” with fire at the celebrations in 1995. Etheridge also did a tribute to the late, great Dusty Springfield in 1999.

After examining a recording of the performance, I considered Azalea’s knee-jerk reaction even more off-base. Entering the stage dressed in a pink pant suit alongside Dave Grohl, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, and Joan Jett, the teenage pop star looked suitably nervous. The performance itself proved a tender rendition of the beloved Nirvana jam, with Novoselic holding it down on the accordion. Lorde executed a mild version of her usual onstage writhing, then looked sheepish before a hug from Grohl.

I’d never compare Lorde to the grunge godfathers’ musical offerings, but the teenager taps into a similar feeling – albeit to a more screechy audience. With her legitimate hip-hop interest and keen subject matter, Lorde appeals to a more cerebral pop audience, making her a natural choice to bridge the gap between rock and pop circles. Azalea probably meant well, but her diss was more of a reaction to the surge of fame she experienced after singles “Fancy” and “Problem” exploded on the charts.

Either that, or the answer she gave was blown out of proportion. As Tupac said: “The media’s full of dirty tricks.”

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Iggy Azalea
The Blacker the Face
The Blacker the Face
A WWE-type gimmick further devalues rap music

Kahron Spearman, Nov. 25, 2014

ACL Live Shot: Iggy Azalea
ACL Live Shot: Iggy Azalea
Former Miami scavenger and underage immigrant lives the dream

Nina Hernandez, Oct. 5, 2014

More by Nina Hernandez
Indoor Skydiving Lets You Train Your Dragon in Virtual Reality
Indoor Skydiving Lets You Train Your Dragon in Virtual Reality
Taking to the skies with iFly's latest immersive VR

March 27, 2019

New Study Changes City Council's View of Flood Risk
New Study Changes City Council's View of Flood Risk
Puzzling over a variance on Avenue D, and spending the first of the 2018 bond funds

March 15, 2019


Iggy Azalea, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, Lorde

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle