I was appalled. In my opinion, the music video was nothing short of a snuff film and a cheap shot at Iggy Azalea, the 24-year-old Australian-born rapper who has topped Billboard charts and is by most standard definitions, famous. Hell, I even bought "Problem" featuring Azalea earlier this summer for its highly danceable beats.
And then Madd Mary stopped me dead in my tracks, made me think, and changed my mind with "Eff Iggy."
Provoked: My Problem with Madd Mary's "Eff Iggy" was MY Problem
My beef with the video was that after watching, I wasn't able to comment and voice my opinion. Madd Mary had disabled comments on the video. What!? I was livid. I felt she'd violated the artist/audience unwritten social code of allowing feedback when sharing on YouTube. So I tried Twitter. Her tweets were protected. Man, she was making me work for this! Perplexed, I accepted it truly is her right to limit/attempt to control her interaction with her audience and the level with which she allows for public feedback.
As I'm mulling all of this over, I found myself replaying "Eff Iggy" to catch more of Madd Mary's lyrics, researching where her level of voracious hate for Azalea was coming from. It dawned on me: I was provoked. And, whether I agree with Madd Mary's delivery or not, her lyrics and video is certainly classified as artistic expression in my book. It made me pause, stirred emotion (anger), and taught me a few things I didn't know.
Azalea's Racist and Homophobic Comments
Azalea has seeped into the collective unconscious by riding the coattails of other artists, adopting an accent not her own to rap, and certainly taken generously from African American and hip hop culture to her extreme advantage. So this raises a great big fat question: Why are so many fans bankrolling Azalea's journey all the way to the top?
I want to be big-hearted and forgive Azalea some of her missteps on the way up as she's only human but it is incredibly difficult when she does things like tweet her way through offending African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, and LBGTQ folk. That is an impressive amount of ignorance. And that is just what she's capable of on Twitter. Would I have anything to do with this woman if she made her way into my friend circle? Absolutely effing not.
As I learned more about Azalea, I gained more respect for the bold, albeit graphically violent, steps Madd Mary took to expose Azalea for the entertainment business fraud she seemingly is.
Why does a white mom from Northern Minnesota give an eff about any of this? I'm pretty sure there are a few rules as to whether I'm even supposed to be invited to enjoy hip hop on account of my whiteness. Why can't I just let both Azalea and Madd Mary duke it out within the industry they, and I'm being generous here, "share?"
I'm not a b-girl. I'm not a hip hop culture genius. I'm not a rapper. But, I hate it when people are frauds and it pisses me off when artists don't put in the work (myself included) to express their authentic self.
So I called Madd Mary to get her side of the story.
Madd Mary's Take on Iggy
I caught up with Madd Mary at her home in California and she was NOTHING like the Madd Mary in the video. She was excited to talk to me and thanked me for helping to convince her to open her video up to comments from the public (there are nearly 500 comments and the video has been viewed over 52,000 times) since RapRehab broke the news.
"I've been thinking about this for over a year," she said. "I hoped the (Azalea) hype would die down but it kept poking at me."
Madd Mary says that if Azalea truly wants to take it "back to '88" (ironically, Azalea wasn't born yet) then she has to be ready for what that means.
"Rap is a full contact sport," she said referring to the rap battling, posturing, eye-rolling and reacting that is synonymous with the genre. "I'm usually a low-key person and not one to stir the pot or expose myself to scrutiny but I'm glad I opened up with this video."
Ultimately, Madd Mary is glad that her video has started a dialogue.
"Why is hip hop culture allowing this blatant exploitation by Iggy?" asked Madd Mary. "It seems like a modern day minstrel show and putting the dollar in front of dignity."
I asked Madd Mary if there is anything she regrets about releasing the video and "killing her off (Azalea) to the beat of the drum." I also asked her if she'd like an acknowledgement from Azalea.
"No, I didn't make the video to become famous," she said. "I don't want to be famous and wouldn't wish fame and fortune on my worst enemy. I wish i didn't have to go the sensational route but it seems like that is the only thing that gets any attention."
"This has been the highlight of my career so far and I pulled it off in a week! I did not expect the overwhelming response and it motivates me to work harder."
It would appear that myself and Madd Mary have a thing or two in common. At the very least, we prefer independent, critical thinkers that don't accept anything at face value without question.
I still think Madd Mary could have captured the attention of 50,000 people without perpetuating violence but perhaps not. Good on her for being brave.
What do you think? Did Madd Mary take Azalea down a few pegs? What was your response to the video? Did she take it too far? I'd love to know if you were provoked by it. Let me know in the comments. (I won't disable them.) :)
This post originally appeared at janellebrandon.com.