Written by River-Lee Elias.
I was out on a boozy Saturday night, dancing the night away, the tunes were pretty decent you know the usual and then 212 comes on. The viral hit that defined Azealia Banks career, I suddenly stopped and took a seat, legs crossed, phone out, using it as a means of distraction as much as a phone without signal in a club possibly can. When asked by my friend why I’ve abruptly stopped cutting my crazy shapes, I respond venomously ‘I don’t like Azealia’.
You could say this is a pretty harsh and petty reaction to an artist that I’ve never met. But I unashamedly dislike her and feel no type of way voicing my dislike of this particular artist as a person.
Earlier this month Azealia Banks had made the headlines once again, and no surprises it’s for all the wrong reasons. This time she directed her attention to Cardi B a fellow female rapper from New York, who is best known for her stint on Love and Hip Hop and dating Migos star Offset. Her latest single Bodak Yellow is currently sitting at the top of the Billboard charts and has the admiration from hip hop stars and fans alike. Cardi B is the first female rapper to achieve a number one single since Lauryn Hill over 20 years ago. Azealia was accused of throwing shade when she chose to praise the producer of Bodak Yellow, stating it was him and him alone that deserved recognition and success.
Rap has long been a genre of music that openly shuns the use of ghost writers and rappers that have a large number host of creditors on their records. Ms Banks was questioning Cardi B’s true talents, at a time when female rap should of been celebrated. Any success Cardi receives is also shared with female rap on a whole, pushing it in the right direction on a commercial level.
Azealia banks has feuded with almost every successful female rapper from Iggy Azeala to Nicki Minaj and more randomly Zayn Malik former One Direction member.
Her first real public fallout was with Iggy Azalea when this first started I sided with Banks I saw her tears on Hot 97 and genuinely connected with her anger. She saw Iggy as someone who had benefited greatly from a genre of music that she looked to be more imitating and paying very little homage to.
Where she went wrong however was with her method and delivery a trait that would soon become her undoing. She was seen to be the aggressor in the feud it’s admittedly pretty hard to agree with someone’s point on cultural appropriation when they often use racist name calling (say what you will calling Iggy Azalea Igloo Australia is just as racist as turning an African name into a jungle related reference) it just wasn’t necessary nor a particularly elegant way to argue your (valid) point.
A friend asked me the other day if I
thought that Azealia Banks was simply misunderstood and not really the villain I had for years painted her in my mind to be. I was sure he was asking me this to be more provocative than actually genuine (playing devil’s advocate knowing I would in no way in hell agree). He asked why I had taken Bank’s opinions so personally, my answer was that in no way shape or form is Ms Bank’s use of homophobic (calling Perez Hilton multiple times a ‘faggot’), or racist (calling Zayn Malik a ‘sand nigger’) an opinion, this is one thing and one thing only; bigotry from a bigot.
The jealous woman that despite her attitude desperately wants to be apart of the industry. If not why else would she sign to major record label Inter-scope or record singles with the likes of Lady Gaga who unsurprisingly dropped the single after many vile public spats and feuds. Even penning Nicki Minaj what seemed to be a heartfelt apology ( a more cynical person would say this was just an opportunity to build bridges that may lead to a future collaboration).
RZA recently spoke to the Breakfast Club this week, where he discussed the Russel Crowe incident admitting that Crowe did spit at Azealia. RZA chose to play down the incident blaming alcohol and ‘other things’ and praise Azealia (who stars as the lead role in his latest movie) for being super professional and an amazing talent.
Maybe Azealia is misunderstood, a black girl trying to live her dream surrounded by white men in suits trying to mould her. Or maybe she is a one hit wonder whose name refuses to fade away and has chosen to be infamous as a means of filling column inches and keep her name relevant. Which ever part she plays misunderstood or villain, there’s denying Azealia has played the role the stereotypical angry black woman impeccably.
All images from: instagram.com/azealiabanks/