Iggy Azalea apologizes for ‘slave master’ lyric | Music News

Iggy Azalea, the newly-crowned first lady of T.I.’s Grand Hustle imprint, recently apologized for using a line in which she referred to herself as a “runaway slave master” in the song “D.R.U.G.S.” from her Ignorant Art mixtape released this past fall.

Azalea says the line – which goes, “…when the relay starts, I’m a runaway slave / master / shittin’ on the past, gotta spit it like a pastor” – was merely a play on a similar line from Kendrick Lamar’s “Look Out For Detox” and not an indication of any racist feelings from the Aussie-born rapstress.

“Kendrick Lamar is one of my favorite artists and I loved his song … so much I decided to do my own version of it,” Azalea says in an apologetic letter posted on MissJia.com. “The intent was to say that past histories have been mastered, or overcome … In all fairness, it was a tacky and careless thing to say and if you are offended, I am sorry.”

The Kendrick Lamar lyric Azalea mimics goes, “tire marks, tire marks / finish line with the tire marks / when the relay starts I’m a runaway slave.”

In the wake of the whole V-Nasty/n-word fiasco of 2011, racial sensitivity, or lack thereof, in Hip-Hop has become somewhat of a paramount issue. Still, there weren’t many who noticed Azalea’s misstep. Most people found out about the line after it was brought to our collective attention by another female MC, Azealia Banks, who has been less than receptive to Iggy’s rapid ascent in the rap game. Upset with the recently released cover for XXL’s Freshman Issue, on which Iggy was featured, Banks tweeted last month, “How can you endorse a white woman who called herself a ‘runaway slave master’?” Her tweet was shared more than 50 times (Twitter stops counting retweets at 50). The controversy started soon after, once the tweet and lyric in question began making their way around the Hip-Hop blogosphere.

To play devil’s advocate, as a native Australian, Azalea may not have fully understood the firestorm she was setting up for herself by reciting those lyrics. Who knows what aspects of American history they teach Down Under, right? Stepping away from these lyrics and issuing this apologetic and explanatory statement were both good PR moves on Azalea’s part. How they’ll play in the court of public opinion is yet to be seen.

In the future, though, it would probably be best for Azalea – and all White rappers, for that matter – to refrain from recycling any rhymes containing slave references, no matter how big a fan you are of the artist who spat them. The situation will never end well.

Read Azalea’s complete statement below:

Dear world,

Im writing you today to address a lyric I said a few months ago in one of my songs that I feel has been used to unfairly slander my character and paint me as a racist person.

Kendrick Lamar is one of my favorite artists and I loved his song ‘Look Out for Detox’ so much I decided to do my own version of it last year. The lyrics I wrote follow the original version closely; One lyric in particular has offended a lot of people and for that, I apologize.

The artist’s lyric was:
“when the relay starts I’m a runway slave”

My lyric was:
“when the relay starts I’m a runaway slave…Master, shitting on the past gotta spit it like a pastor

This is a metaphoric take on an originally literal lyric, and I was never trying to say I am a slave owner.

The intent was to say was that past histories have been mastered, or overcome, and that you may feel my line was ‘shitting on the past,’ just as many feel pastors shit on the bible or biblical history… although they mean no ill and just have their own take, hence the lyric ‘gotta spit it like a pastor.’

In all fairness, it was a tacky and careless thing to say and if you are offended, I am sorry. Sometimes we get so caught up in our art and creating or trying to push boundaries, we don’t stop to think how others may be hurt by it. In this situation, I am guilty of doing that and I regret not thinking things through more.

I don’t hate any race of people, and it pains me to wake up to other young people being misled to believe I do. I am for unity and equality. People should get a fair shot at whatever they want to do no matter what color they are; rap and hip hop as a culture is not exempt from this.

It is unfair to say other races who also grew up listening to rap don’t get a place too. We have a place and the Azaleans and myself are evidence of that fact. All people have a voice and equal right to use it.

In your lifetime you will say a lot of things you will wish you hadn’t too. I have to have my poor choice of words live with me forever on the internet. Please know that I have grown from this and hope to have your continued support in life and my mission of bridging the gap.

As one of my lovely azaleans said last week: we are the prototype and far beyond the stereotype.

Love always,