Iggy Azalea's "Team" Kinda Slaps, But No Thanks to Her
It took a basketball team of producers and cowriters to make this thing listenable.
Today Iggy Azalea released "Team," the lead single from the new album Digital Distortion she's been threatening all year. Unlike the summer-debacle-slash-possible-retconned-single "Azillion," "Team" kinda hits if you relax and enjoy it as peppy, dated basketball bleachers music. It's basically a jock jam. There's a place for those, right? "Team" feels like a big to-do; the stomping production worms through weird changes. This could be the product of the basketball team worth of producers credited here.
The official production credits go to Ty Dolla $ign collaborator Chordz, LA producer Nezzo, and Fall Out Boy "Centuries" co-producer Omega, but a quick look at the songwriter credits also shows Lukas Ka$h of LA pop upstarts Fly Panda and German maestro Fuego, best known for his hand in Jason Derulo's "Whatcha Say" and Chris Brown's "Turn Up the Music." (Lil Wayne, Juvenile, and Mannie Fresh pop up thanks to a breakdown that pulls generously from "Back That Azz Up.") If this sounds like too many chefs, that's because it is. One minute "Team" is an uptempo EDM-rap hybrid, and the next, it turns into New Orleans bounce, then suddenly there's a trap breakdown.
On the bright side, the mood swings in the production here help distract from Iggy herself, who—even with ascendant Rihanna and Tinashe cowriter Bebe Rexha and pop assassin Lauren Edwards guiding her pen—can't resist shoveling out line after line of poorly-considered drivel. In that sense, "Team" is a lot like whipping a shiny new convertible around a muddy dirt road or, to bring it back to basketball, assembling a murderer's row of star players who fail to take home the championship. (Hi, LeBron.) Here are some of her best lines: "I feed 'em lemons in the limelight / They say I'm full, lost my apetite." "Bout to go ape, turn into the Congo." "You gotta set the score right, call it Hans Zimmer." "Jamaican club, I'm staying on the grind / Dutty wine, don't step on this landmine." "Watch a new Kardash, call me Kylie." Nah.
For what it's worth, the "Team" "lyric video" is cool and swaggy, even if it's secretly kind of just a clever bite of Justin Bieber's Purpose shorts. Def Jam's determination to keep this Iggy thing going is respectful here. It's always a wonder when the major label machine gets to grinding.The single will probably do respectable numbers on the people-who-don't-listen-to-the-lyrics-in-rap circuit that crowned Iggy a new pop sensation in the first place, but the prospect of "Team" galvanizing people to buy a whole album of this seems dim.
Craig secretly enjoys "Trouble" when no one's looking. Follow him on Twitter.