Iggy Azalea and white rappers

SALIL CHAUDHRY

Over the past year, Iggy Azalea has been ripped to shreds. Hip hop and rap fans have made fun of her, laughed at her, and examined her. Memes have spread across the internet and we’ve even witnessed a Vine of her falling off stage. Why has all recent hate been centered on Iggy? It’s a question that can’t fully be answered, but it is a topic that should be discussed. Iggy Azalea is an Australian rapper and songwriter who rose to fame in early 2012. In 2006, she moved to America at the age of 16 and slowly worked her way to a major record deal. She rose from literally nothing, bouncing around from Houston to Atlanta and finally to L.A. She eventually made a breakthrough and the rest is history. You must give her credit. In 6 years, she rose from no name to big name.

People attack the color of her skin. Yes, she is a white rapper. But it is so incredibly wrong to judge a person’s musical ability based on their skin color. Eminem, The Beastie Boys, Mac Miller, Action Bronson, Hoodie Allen. Each and every one of these rappers, music talent aside, have made it big. No matter if you like them or not, they are successful big-name rappers in the industry. Nobody questions these rappers and their color. Yet Iggy is singled out from the rest and she is targeted.

Iggy is picked apart for the content in her songs. Over the past couple of months, I have heard numerous radio stations and websites criticize Iggy for not discussing black culture in her music. I do agree that hip hop and rap are symbolic in the black community. These genres have served as platforms for blacks to describe and depict their struggles within society. Beginning in the 90s, with the famous NWA, blacks have been able depict gang violence, drugs and racism vividly through rap and hip hop. Rappers such as Nas and Kendrick Lamar have exemplified this type of expression.  These genres are truly revolutionary and special, yet, when Iggy raps about something that doesn’t regard black culture, she is criticized. Numerous rappers have existed that rapped about non-street culture topics. Eminem has rapped about his personal struggles. Hoodie Allen has rapped about laid-back partying. But, when Iggy gets on the mic, the entire hip hop community goes haywire. Why? She is held to a double standard.Yes, she rants on Twitter. She is sometimes rude, and tends to ridicule strangers and critics alike. Many celebrities abuse social media, not just Iggy. I don’t condone this behavior, but Iggy shouldn’t be held under a microscope when celebrities like Amber Rose and Kanye do the same.

I want to establish that I don’t really enjoy Iggy’s music. Correction: I don’t like her music at all. Compared to the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Kanye or J. Cole, she is an amateur. But, I do think it’s unfair how an artist in today’s modern music industry is being held to a double standard, specifically because of her skin color and even gender. The big name rappers I have listed are all men. Iggy is pinned against a wall. She is a white female trying to make it in a genre dominated by black males. Yes, we all know Nicki Minaj has done well, but can you name another female rapper? So cut Iggy some slack. Her rise to fame has impressed me. There’s no need to be racist or sexist. Let Iggy express herself.  You don’t have to be a fan of her music. I am not one. But you need to realize that she is free to express herself musically as she wants and there is no reason to destroy her character because of it. Yes, she can’t freestyle compared to Logic, and she doesn’t have the best flow, but at least show her some respect, just as you did with Mac Miller, Hoodie Allen and most of all, Eminem.

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2015: A year to look forward to

BY SALIL CHAUDHRY

Yes, 2014 was spectacular, it was beautiful and it was brilliant. Yet, 2014 was sad and dark and somber. There was light and dark, peace and war, smiling and crying. You should pat yourself on the back, you’ve done well this year. All of us should really pat ourselves on the back. Two thousand and fourteen years of human society is quite an achievement. It’s no small feat, yet we have triumphed and survived. Things have changed over these two thousand years but one thing has not: expression. Humans are creatures that have always and will always continue to express themselves through the arts. We sing and we dance. We film and we present. We write and we draw. That’s what makes humans so incredibly special and intense.

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Salil’s Top Picks: Best Concerts of February 2015

BY SALIL CHAUDHRY

Flyleaf – This heavy metal band from Texas will perform on February 6 at the Upstate Concert Hall.

Kongos – The four brothers of this South African alternative rock group, made famous by their hit song “Come With Me Now,” will perform on February 23 at the Upstate Concert Hall.

Consider the Source – This unconventional instrumental trio will perform on February 27 at The Hollow in Albany.

Pop a molly: drugs and music

BY SALIL CHAUDHRY

From the Grateful Dead and Woodstock, to “Gin and Juice” and “Pop A Molly.” Drugs and music have been closely related for decades. It’s also hard to ignore that some of the most celebrated musicians of all time were avid drug users.  Jazz greats such as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis used cocaine and heroin. Rock legends like The Beatles, The Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin used marijuana and LSD. Many notable individuals have passed away due to overdoses. Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston. Recreational drug use has only increased over the past decade. Music festivals and concerts have become hubs for major drug use. Drugs have solidified themselves as part of our musical history.

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