Australian rapper Iggy Azalea has won favourite rap/hip-hop album and best rap artist at the 2014 American Music Awards. Joining her on the winners list were compatriots 5 Seconds of Summer, who took out new artist of the year.
Azalea, and her debut studio album The New Classic, beat industry veterans Eminem and Drake to take both hip-hop categories at the awards ceremony, held at LA’s Nokia Theatre.
In a short but emotional speech, the 24-year-old artist said it was the first time in her life she had been awarded a prize.
“And it means so much to me that it is for best hip-hop, because that’s what inspired me to move to America and pursue my dreams. It’s what helped me when I was a teenager to escape and to get through my life and to better times.”
The win comes after Azalea hit back at the leak of an explicit new track from Eminem, which includes the words: “Put that shit away, Iggy. You don’t wanna blow that rape whistle on me.”
Azalea took to Twitter to say she was bored with “old men threatening young women as entertainment” and that she was more interested in the “young women getting $ trend”.
She added, “women in music have the bigger balls anyhow, we endure much more harassment and critic.”
However, her acceptance speech gave no hint of the fracas, with Azalea adding: “It means so much that I can stand here against Eminem and Drake and come out with this”, before acknowledging friend and mentor, rapper T.I.
Taylor Swift opened the night with her song Blank Space and was awarded the new Dick Clark award for excellence. Her speech has been widely read as a continuation of her recent opposition to the use of streaming services in music.
In thanking her fans, the American singer said “what you did by going out and investing in music and albums is you are saying that you believe in the same thing that I believe in: that music is valuable and music should be consumed in albums and albums should be consumed as art and appreciated.”
Azalea performed her No 1 hit Fancy, with Charli XCX, described by The Guardian’s Alex Needham as: “a big production number with tons of dancers and costume changes but most importantly, genuinely charismatic singers/rappers.” She also accompanied Jennifer Lopez in her song Booty, for the show finale.