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Iggy Azalea: On the Verge

The Australian-born rapper, 23, talks about her studio-album debut ”The New Classic” (out April 18), touring with Beyoncé, and keeping her nipples off morning TV

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What was the hip-hop scene in Australia like when you were growing up?
There’s a few rappers, but I was not into them at all. Most people aren’t — there’s a reason why they don’t make it off the continent. I loved Tupac. I loved everyone in Death Row, and I hated Bad Boy Records. I took that very seriously.

You’ve already toured with Nas, T.I., and Beyoncé. Did you learn from them?
Of course! It’s inevitable, unless you’re an idiot. With Beyoncé, I learned a lot about showmanship. With Nas, it’s almost the opposite, where he’s just focused on rapping. Touring with him helped me be less structured. And Tip, he’s just so intellectual, more than people would think. He’s very well-read; he could have a conversation with a drug dealer and a scholar.

You’ve gotten a lot of attention for your style. What’s your approach to that stuff?
Different days I want to be different people. Today I wanted to be Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous. I love movie characters — Cruella De Vil, she’s my style icon. I like bold women who can be masculine but also seductresses. A power bitch, in other words.

You’ll be on Good Morning America April 22. How will you play to the morning crowd?
It’s just so weird, right? That sort of thing shouldn’t be happening that early. Like, “Here’s a nipple!” And I’m like, “I’m eating my breakfast.” I won’t be doing that. [Laughs]

You were born Amethyst Amelia Kelly, but Iggy is the name of a dog you had and Azalea is the street your mom lives on. Did you intentionally use the porn-name formula?
I did not. But my porno name wouldn’t even be Iggy Azalea — my first pet was named Ed, and I grew up on Myocum Downs. Ed Myocum just doesn’t have the same ring to it.