For Iggy Azalea, it's been a long wait to reach this point. The 23-year-old Australian rapper with a Def Jam deal and a co-sign from the King Of The South, T.I., has been prepping for the release of her major label debut, The New Classic, out today (Apr. 22), for nearly three years, with pushbacks and label confusion muddying the waters. Having been affiliated with Interscope and Grand Hustle before her current Def Jam deal since she first announced the album in December of 2011, she's been caught up in a dizzying purgatory that has seen her drop an EP and mixtape in the interim while trying to keep fans' attention focused on her long-awaited debut.

But finally the day is here, and despite some last-second pushbacks (again) that meant the album dropped a week after its final release date, The New Classic is on shelves today. Featuring the likes of Tip, Charli XCX, Mavado, Rita Ora and Watch The Duck, Azalea is expanding her reach as she sticks to her hip-hop roots, mixing pop and rap into her own blend of hip-hop. She's also begun exploring some new interests through the series of movie-inspired music videos she's dropped in the run up, from the Clueless-inspired "Fancy" to the Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert-themed "Work," as she delves into writing songs for movie soundtracks like The Other Woman, the new movie starring Nicki Minaj, and Million Dollar Arm, out in May.

Azalea kicks off her New Classic Tour tomorrow night in Boston, and in the buildup to the album's release, the 2012 XXL Freshman People's Champ spoke to XXL about the long wait for the album, her love of movies, and her relationship with Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young, among other topics. The wait is over. Dan Rys


XXL: Congrats on the album. How's it feel to have the debut finally here?
Iggy Azalea: It's good. It's a weight off my shoulders in a way.

Is there a sense of everything you've been working for leading up to the album?
Of course; I think it's inevitable that people would feel that way.

I noticed you had some collaborations outside of hip-hop on the album. Is that something you were purposely going for?
I don't really think of things as hip-hop or not hip-hop. I just think of what sound good, or who I like, or who organically I'm friends with. I suppose maybe I'm not friends with a lot of rappers, because they didn't make it on there. [Laughs] But I don't think, like, who's hip-hop and who's not. I mean, do you think Mavado is hip-hop? And if so, why? I would think he's more of a reggae artist.

Now that the album is out, you're going on tour almost immediately.
I didn't mean to do that, but the album got pushed back a week because of mastering, and other little things like that that got a little bit delayed. So now it'll be two days after the album. I hope people will know the words—I'm nervous about that. [Laughs] Going out on tour two days after my album drops and touring on that album, [I was thinking], "What if they don't know the songs yet? What if they don't know the words yet?" I know by the end of the tour they will, because it's a month-long tour. But that Boston date—two days after my album releases—I'm a bit scared for that.


You first announced the title of the album, The New Classic, in 2011. Has the meaning of that title changed for you in the last couple years?
I don't think so; I think it's more being reinforced, if anything. I just wanted to make something that kind of was with new and up-and-coming people, and I think I achieved that. Most of my features are new people—Watch The Duck, Charli XCX—you know what I mean? I think there's a new face that we're seeing, and I think I did that. So I feel like I stuck to it.

You also said that you wanted to have every one of your songs as moments for your fans.
Definitely, I think so.

How's your label situation with Def Jam?
It's good; I guess I still sort of consider myself as signed to Virgin/EMI, since they're the ones who kind of pay the bills and call most of the shots. [Laughs] But it's a nice collaboration to have Island Def Jam be a partner in the whole thing. I love everybody over there, and it's good, it's always nice to expand the family and have more people onboard who are trying to help you. It's definitely very appreciated, and going well, I think. My label situation is great in the UK, but as with any artist in any other territory, you have whatever the sister label is represent you. So being as I was signed out of the UK, I needed the American label. It's like, for example, Rihanna is signed to Island Def Jam/Roc Nation, but she's promoted by my label in the UK when she does UK marketing. Same with Jay Z, Kanye; that's how it works.


In your recent music videos—"Fancy," "Change Your Life"—the videos have had movie themes, like Clueless and Showgirls and Bladerunner. Are you a movie buff?
Yeah. I don't know—with "Work" I did Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert. I just like it, 'cause I like to pick classic films, or films that have marked culture, and I like to remake them, kind of to go with the whole New Classic thing. I think it's cool to get a new generation interested in things that maybe they kind of missed. Like, I noticed that a lot of people thought that "Fancy" was a remake of Mean Girls. It's generational, that. [Laughs] So I think it's cool with stuff like that, for them to be able to re-discover something that they may have looked over, and I think that that's always fun.

So these are movies that you grew up watching?
Yeah, they're kind of like my personal favorites, just from things that when I was a kid that I loved, or that I watched over and over again, or that I think are cool fashion moments, or that are cool cultural moments that have defined culture. Maybe not hip-hop culture, but I think that they have defined pop culture, in a way. Especially Clueless, with its fashion and the '90s [influence], I think it did.

Iggy Azalea by Robert Wunsch

Photo Credit: Robert Wunsch

I saw the spread in GQ a couple weeks ago with you and your boyfriend, Nick Young of the Los Angeles Lakers. What's it like to date celebrities?
[Laughs] Would you think he's a celebrity? I guess it depends what world you're in; on the Internet, I'm way more famous than he is, so I guess it's about what you're into. For me, I don't watch basketball, so I have no clue who Nick Young is other than that I date him. [Laughs] Whenever we go out and people [recognize] him, I'm always very surprised, like, "Oh! People know you!" But yeah, I don't think I would consider Nick to be a celebrity. But he's a very good boyfriend.

What is his reaction to going out in public and you getting mobbed, and him being able to slip by unnoticed?
He thinks it's funny; I think he gets a laugh out of it. And I get a laugh out of people taking pictures of him, he gets a laugh out of people taking pictures with me. I think we both kind of... I don't know. We both tease each other about.


You've got some work on film soundtracks coming up this year. Have you worked on movies before?
No, I never have. But I've always been interested in movie scores and movie soundtracks, and I think a good soundtrack can make the movie and a bad score can ruin it. I saw Pharrell doing "Happy"—I wouldn't compare myself to that, because he's a genius and I don't think I could ever do a whole movie—but it did make me think, "Hmm, that's cool that he's making original music for film, and I would like to make original music and sing songs for films." So I got in touch with some people over at Sony Pictures and different people like that about making it happen. It's different.

Is it easier to write for films?
It's really fun, I've been enjoying it. And I think it's also less pressure. Less worrying about what people would think if I was saying this. Like, I wrote a song about baseball. [Laughs] I did, and it was cool. I googled all the different home runs, and I googled baseball things, what they mean. It's just fun; you write about stuff you wouldn't usually write about. I like that. It's fun, it's carefree. I don't have to worry about it too much, I can have fun with it. I enjoyed that a lot, and I'm definitely trying to do more things like that.

I'm sensing a theme here, with the music videos based on movies, starting to work on movie soundtracks...
Yeah, I'm really getting into it. [Laughs] I love visuals, so I can't help myself.