On the weekend, Lorde took to her tumblr to offer some thoughts on the perceived double-standard among the music press in its treatment of artists like Iggy Azalea. Posting a side-by-side shot of Azalea's Complex cover from last year next to a disparaging review of Azalea's latest album, she wrote "bugs me how publications like complex will profile interesting artists in order to sell copies/get clicks and then s**t on their records?"
She continued: "it happens to me all the time- pitchfork and that ilk being like 'can we interview you?' after totally taking the piss out of me in a review [NB: Lorde's record got a 7.3 on Pitchfork; not exactly "taking the piss"]. have a stance on an artist and stick to it. don't act like you respect them then throw them under the bus." Then Grimes got on board, writing "hahaha yes - i agree with this," and Azalea herself got on Twitter.
— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) April 27, 2014
In the following string of tweets, Azalea said, "They also love to have upbeat bubbly mid 20s women do the daily blog posts about you... But keep a stash of pseudo intellectual middle aged men in sandals at hand ready to review everyone's albums."
This morning, Complex's Associate Editor Insanul Ahmed responded on behalf of his publication, explaining the separation between covering an artist in which their readership is interested, and the critical evaluation of their work.
"For Complex to give a cover to an artist like Iggy Azalea... it simply boils down to Complex thinking the artist is someone our audience is interested in," Ahmed wrote. "Giving someone a bad review basically boils down to thinking someone our audience is interested in didn't make a very good record."
Ahmed also made the point that these separate types of coverage are authored by writers independent of one another -- a point reinforced by rap critic Andrew Nosnitsky, who wrote:
"Suggesting that a magazine's staff - let alone the freelancer who is not on the masthead but is increasingly responsible for producing this type of content in exchange for peanuts and pennies and open bar press passes - owes you a positive record review simply because you and your publicist were kind enough to grant their employers a mutually beneficial interview is tantamount to promoting corporate censorship in arts criticism."
"(Also that iggy azalea complex cover is from eight months ago... and the review came out five days ago," he concluded. "is there a statute of limitations here or should a single cover shoot grant you an entire lifetime of fluffy pillow warm hug record reviews?)"
Meanwhile, the rest of the world kept spinning. Read Complex's full retort here.