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“Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea featuring Rita Ora

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    “Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea featuring Rita Ora (official video) is a pop song.

    Song Title: Black Widow (official video)
    Artist: Iggy Azalea featuring Rita Ora
    Album: The New Classic
    Genre: urban, pop, rap, rhythmic, dance, snap, trap
    Composer: Copyright © 22013 Tor Erik Hermansen, Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, Benjamin Levin, Katy Perry, Sarah Hudson, Amethyst Kelly
    Lead Vocals: Rita Ora
    Rap: Iggy Azalea
    Instruments: StarGate
    Director: Director X and Iggy Azalea
    Producer: Stargate, Tim Blacksmith (exec.), Danny D. (exec.)
    Recorded: November 2013 - January 2014; Record Plant and Westlake Recording Studios (Los Angeles); Jungle City Studios (New York)
    Released: 8 July 2014
    Label: Def Jam
    Number of listens: 15114

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    Summary quotation from Wikipedia:

    “Black Widow” is a song by Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, from her debut studio album, The New Classic (2014). The song’s hook is sung by British recording artist Rita Ora, and its lyrics chronicle subjects of revenge and feminism in a failed romantic relationship. “Black Widow” was written by Azalea, Katy Perry, Sarah Hudson, Benny Blanco, and duo Stargate; the latter also produced the song. On 8 July 2014, the song impacted on mainstream radio stations in the US as the fifth single from The New Classic and the accompanying music video for the song was released on August 13, 2014. The song has currently peaked at number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming her third top 15 hit, following “Fancy” and “Problem”.

    Initially a track recorded by Perry for her fourth studio album, Prism (2013), the song was excluded from its tracklisting, however Perry handed the demo to Azalea for her to complete. “Black Widow” is influenced by snap and trap genres, containing an ominous steel drum rhythm, heavy bass and a sparse beat. Its composition has been the subject of music critics’ comparisons to Perry’s “Dark Horse”. Other journalists, praised its beat and Azalea and Ora’s vocals. “Black Widow” charted due to strong digital sales during the debut week of The New Classic. Accordingly, before becoming a single it achieved peaks of number 91 in the United Kingdom and number 86 in Australia, and appeared on several component charts. Azalea has performed the song live as part of the set list for her first headlining tour, The New Classic Tour (2014).


    In early 2013, Azalea became friends with American singer Katy Perry through Chris Anokute, an A&R at Azalea’s record label Island Records. Anokute, who previously was an A&R for Perry at her label Capitol Records, told Azalea that Perry was a fan of her music. When Azalea was nominated at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, Anokute asked Perry if she could promote Azalea’s nomination in her category for Artist to Watch. Perry then took to Twitter to rave about Azalea’s music, and Azalea later consulted Anokute about a future collaboration with Perry. Shortly afterward, Azalea and Perry begun working together with the latter’s frequent collaborator Dr. Luke, but the collaboration proved unsuccessful. Azalea then heard about a song Perry recorded, “Black Widow”, which was going to be given away to another artist. The song was initially written as a last-minute addition to Perry’s fourth studio album, Prism (2013), but the composition finalized only after the album’s release. Azalea described the track as “a legend” and a “mysterious record”, and tried to listen to the song through her label contacts, but she was later ignored.

    “I’ve known Iggy for many years. She supported me on my first tour. It was only an eight show tour in America. She only had ‘Pussy’ out at that time. I’ve always loved her vibe and her energy. I knew [her new album] was going to be a shock and it was a good shock, and I’m really happy for her. What we’ve done together is so cool and ‘Black Widow’ has an amazing message. We’ve always wanted to work together and we found the perfect song. It’s all about women empowerment.”
    —Rita Ora on collaborating with Azalea on the song.
    On 4 June 2013, Azalea confirmed that British recording artist Rita Ora would feature on her debut studio The New Classic, after previously announcing Ora’s feature on 26 December 2012. She stated, “I had a song in mind, and I need a woman with a big voice to sing the chorus because I can’t do it”. Azalea then asked Perry if she could record “Black Widow” for her album, which Perry then agreed to. The record, however, was never sent to Azalea and on 1 August 2013, she denied that Ora would be collaborating with her on the album. Azalea then met Perry for the first time, as her supporting act at the iTunes Festival that year. At the festival, Perry approached Azalea with an offer to record “Black Widow” as she felt the song would suit her better. Azalea was then invited to Perry’s after party that night, where the two exchanged numbers, and Perry sent Azalea the record. When Azalea received the song, it only consisted of a hook and a beat. She initially wanted Perry to sing the song’s hook, but Perry was unable to because of time constraints. In an interview, Azalea mentioned, “It needed someone who could really sing, as Katy’s voice is awesome. The sky’s the limit for Rita. Rita’s a superstar and she will only get bigger. Rita is a great fit. Her voice can blow people away.” Azalea and Ora then begun recording “Black Widow” in November 2013 after the MTV Europe Music Awards, but only completed it in January 2014.

    The final version of “Black Widow” was co-written by Azalea, Perry, Sarah Hudson, Benny Blanco, and its producers StarGate. Tim Blacksmith and Danny D. were responsible for the song’s executive production and production co-ordination. StarGate provided the track’s instrumentation and programming. Azalea and Ora recorded their vocals for the song at Record Plant and Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, and Jungle City Studios in New York. Their vocals were engineered by Daniel Zaidenstadt and Eriksen, while Miles Walker was credited as the track’s assistant vocal engineer. Phil Tan completed the mixing process at Ninja Club Studios in Atlanta, with the assistance of Daniela Rivera. The song was originally rumoured to be produced by both duo StarGate and Benny Blanco, though upon the release of the album, Blanco was only credited as a songwriter.


    On 26 February 2014, in an interview with Los Angeles radio station Power 106, Azalea stated that the album’s fifth single would be written by Perry and feature an undisclosed female artist. A 90-second preview of “Black Widow” was released on 11 April 2014. The song’s full version then leaked online on 17 April 2014, five days prior to the release of The New Classic on 22 April 2014. In an interview with music website HotNewHipHop on 3 June 2014, Azalea confirmed the song as the forthcoming fifth single from the album. It will be released on 14 September 2014 in the United Kingdom.


    “Black Widow” is a snap trap song which runs for a duration of three minutes and 29 seconds. The song combines a sparse snap and heavy trap beat with a refrain that follows a slow-building, clapping chorus formula which peaks but deliberately never capitalizes. Instrumentally, “Black Widow” is composed of an ominous steel drum rhythm, and heavy bass, while its dance breakdown is employed with minimalism. Azalea solicits the track’s verses with a snarling, bitter technique, consisting of rhyming employed with a spitting delivery. While Ora uses a seething element to sing the track’s hook, “I’m gonna love ya, until you hate me / And I’m gonna show ya, what’s really crazy / You should’ve known better, than to mess with me harder / I’m gonna love you, I’m gonna love you / Gonna love you, gonna love you / Like a black widow baby”. Combined, Ora and Azalea’s vocals are based on a call and response structure throughout the song.

    Lyrically, “Black Widow” is a dark love song which deals with the subjects of revenge and feminism in a failed romantic relationship. According to Nedeska Alexis of MTV Buzzworthy, the song “captures the fallout when love turns sour” and is clarified in the lyric “I’m gonna love ya until you hate me / And now I’m gonna show ya what’s really crazy”. Digital Spy’s Emily Mackay denoted the lyrical content in “Black Widow” to contain a theme of “dark, dangerous sexuality” and felt it owned “the bunnyboiler femme fatale stereotype”. Nick Aveling of Time Out summarized the track’s theme as “boy-baiting drama”. The song’s beat, hook, and production formula garnered many comparisons to Perry’s single “Dark Horse” (2013). While Tshepo Mokoena of The Guardian felt “Black Widow” was sonically reminiscent of Azalea’s previous collborations with American disc jockeys Diplo and Steve Aoki, and Craig Mathieson of The Sydney Morning Herald likened the song to releases by American recording artist Beyoncé.


Critical response

    “Black Widow” was met with generally mixed reviews from music critics. Rory Cashin of felt the track had “future hit written all over it”, and lauded Ora’s “sing-along chorus”, Stargate’s “fantastic” production, and considered the song to be a “darker alternative” to “Dark Horse”. A writer for MuchMusic felt “Black Widow” was “a killer collaboration”, in the same vein as Azalea’s fourth single “Fancy” which featured Charli XCX. MTV Buzzworthy’s Nedeska Alexis placed the song in her list of the 4 Songs You Have To Hear from the album, and said Perry “worked her magic on the track”. Lucy O’Brien of The Quietus called the track a “call-and-response anthem”. Marie Claire journalist Lauren Valenti deemed the song “deliciously wicked” and “nothing short of brilliant”, and commended Ora’s vocal delivery on the track’s hook. A writer for Rap-Up called Azalea and Ora “a deadly duo” on the song. Saeed Saeed of The National highlighted “Black Widow” as a stand out track on The New Classic and praised its “strong chorus and slithering beats”. Saeed’s view was echoed by John Wiley of The Heights who listed the song as one of two highlights on the record. Writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, Craig Mathieson stated, “while her verses don’t have the sustained length of her previous underground releases, Azalea skilfully upsets convention”. Kyle Moody of the Marquette Wire preferred Azalea’s sound “Black Widow” to the more rap-orientated songs on The New Classic. Laetitia Wong Wai Yi of Today felt the track attained well-deserved hype and commended it for “perfectly” combining Azalea’s vocal fluidity with its minimalistic dance breakdown. Glamour journalist Megan Angelo positively reviewed the song, writing, “‘Black Widow’ isn’t just an excellent get-up, get-ready, get-moving song for Friday night—it also happens to be a Women Killing Music summit in the form of a neat little track.”

    Idolator reviewers were divided in their opinion of the song. Christina Lee deemed it “a surprisingly thrilling, high-stakes moment” on the album, while Carl Williot felt Ora’s hook overshadowed Azalea’s verses on the song. Exclaim! journalist Erin Lowers wrote, “‘Black Widow’ should pass the threshold between mediocrity and superstardom, but falls by the wayside with little personality”. Drowned in Sound’s Giuseppe Zevolli negatively reviewed the song, writing, “‘Black Widow’ is so preoccupied with its overfilled, catchall crescendo that it oozes away before you even notice”. Kellan Miller of XXL felt that the song intended to be “a hit-to-oliberate-all-other-hits-forever-and-ever-amen”, but ultimately was “a fourth quarter Hail Mary pass at best”. In his review, Miller added, “Instead of remaining steadfast to the shimmer that made the early offerings bright spots, Iggy veers off course in an all too contrived effort to meet the quota of her colossal ambition”. Gigwise’s Alexandra Pollard criticized the track’s similarities with “Dark Horse” and dismissed Perry for repeating her “tried-and-tested-formula”. StarGate’s involvement was panned by Alfred Soto of Spin, who said the song’s hook was borrowed from the duo’s previous production for Barbadian recording artist Rihanna’s “Hate That I Love You” (2007). Additionally, Soto dismissed the track’s synth line as being “nicked” from StarGate’s production on American singer-songwriter Ne-Yo’s Libra Scale (2010).

Chart performance

    Due to strong digital sales during the debut week of The New Classic, “Black Widow” debuted at number 86 on the Australian Singles Chart of 5 May 2014. On the UK Singles Chart, the song entered at number 91, while also debuting at number 15 on the UK R&B Chart. In the United States, “Black Widow” entered at number 9 on the Billboard Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart issued for 10 May 2014 and entered at number 97 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart issued for 10 July. It debuted at number 36 on the New Zealand Top 40 Singles Chart of 23 June 2014. It has sold 475,061 units in the US, as of 11 August 2014.

Music video


    On 3 June 2014, Azalea confirmed an accompanying music video for the song, stating, “We’re gonna have a very crazy music video, with a lot of other people that you guys may know, playing different characters. I’m really excited about it”. Ora also talked about preparing for the video in June, “It is going to be amazing; I can’t even tell you what’s going to happen because I am sworn to secrecy. It is going to be major. You’ve seen her video for “Fancy”? She loves a theme and the theme for this one is f***ing genius. All I am saying is I am in training for days for this video.” The video was shot in mid-July in Los Angeles. On August 8, 2014 during a performance, Ora announced that the video should premiere officially on August 11, 2014. On 11 August 2014, a 16-second teaser for “Black Widow” was uploaded on Azalea’s VEVO channel. The video was directed by Director X and Iggy Azalea and premiered through VEVO on August 13, 2014. American actors Michael Madsen, Paul Sorvino, and actor/rapper T.I. also appear in the video. On August 14, 2014, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from the video set was shown on the second episode of MTV’s show House of Style, hosted by Azalea and where she revealed the visuals are inspired by 70s kung fu films and Tarantino movies.


    The video starts with Rita Ora and her boyfriend, played by Madsen, entering a diner. The man walks over a black widow spider, just before Iggy Azalea is shown as a waitress named Fox behind the diner counter. Azalea then approaches the couple and hands them the menu. The man orders a BLT sandwich “dripping with melted cheese” and just when Ora is about to order he interrupts her by saying “she’s gonna have the same damn thing” causing Ora to look at him somewhat upset. As Azalea arrives with the order, the man starts complaining about the sandwich and refuses to eat it. Then, the owner of the diner, Big Wanda, jumps over the counter and asks if there is a problem. After hearing the man’s complaint, Azalea tries to explain but to no avail when the owner says “What did the Fox say? Nothing!” and she is told to make another sandwich with more cheese.

    The song starts just when Azalea starts chopping the lettuce. Azalea’s dream starts, in which she can be seen with Ora in a snowy scene, both dressed in similar clothes with a “Black Widow” on each of their backs. When the scene changes, Azalea is doing a samurai movements followed by her receiving a paper with their “target” on; Ora enters small casino room, after she wins, one of the men gets upset, whom Ora later kicks. When she receives their next target, she starts driving a motorbike, as Azalea is also doing. They enter a club and when they spot their target, Azalea gets her sword out motivating everyone to leave the club. As the guards of the man approach Azalea, Ora comes in. Following their defeat them, they are seen approaching the man outside the club; he gets out a gun, just when a black widow spider walks on his hand, poisons him and dies. When the dream is over, Azalea is seen still chopping the lettuce with the owner yelling at her.

Live performances

    “Black Widow” was first performed by Azalea and Ora together at Wireless Festival in London on 4 July 2014. The song was also included in the setlist of The New Classic Tour. Azalea and Ora are scheduled to perform the track at the 31st annual MTV Video Music Awards, on August 24, 2014.

—from Wikipedia (the Wikipedia:Text of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License applies to Wikipedia’s block of text and possible accompanying picture, along with any alterations, transformations, and/or building upon Wikipedia’s original text that applied to this block of text)


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