Iggy AzaleaView In iTunes
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In one of the more unlikely crossover success stories, blonde Australian beauty Iggy Azalea (born Amethyst Amelia Kelly) segued from a high-profile modeling career to become a Southern hip-hop star. Influenced in her childhood by Missy Elliott, TLC, and Tupac Shakur, she moved to the States in 2006 at age 16, stating that she was drawn to the birthplace of rap. Moving from Miami to Houston to Atlanta, she absorbed the Southern-style drawl of her surroundings and released a trap-inspired mixtape titled Ignorant Art in 2011, shortly after relocating to Los Angeles. A video for her song "Pu$$y" was uploaded to the Internet and became a YouTube favorite due to its explicit nature. Around this time, Azalea's blossoming relationship with rising rapper A$AP Rocky earned her some headlines (she tattooed the title of his debut album on her knuckles), but her recording career stalled when plans to work with T.I. fell through due to label conflicts. In spring of 2012, she signed to Wilhelmina Models International and pursued modeling full-time, landing a job as the "New Face of Levi's Jeans." Later that year, her musical stock skyrocketed when XXL Magazine put her on the cover of their annual Top Ten Freshman issue alongside Danny Brown, Roscoe Dash, and French Montana. As the first female, non-American rapper to make the list, serious hip-hop fans took notice, including Diplo, who hooked up with Azalea for her follow-up mixtape, TrapGold, before she signed to Mercury Records for her official early 2014 debut, The New Classic. The album was reissued later in the year as Reclassified, and featured five newly recorded songs including the single "Beg for It." ~ Jason Lymangrover