Harlem rapper Azealia Banks is stunning as she lays on the chest of electronic dance music super producer Diplo on the cover of this month’s Vibe magazine. While her music has garnered her the attention of music fans across the world, it’s her mouth that has the spotlight here in America.
When asked whether she felt her buzz in America was built more on controversy than her music, the 21-year-old MC couldn’t disagree more.
“Of course, because Americans are distracted by sh*t like that,” she says. “It’s like, ‘listen, T.I., if I was a f*cking boy you wouldn’t say anything to me.’ But when I’m a girl and I say something back, the media wants to turn it into all these different things. Rappers beef all the time. I said what I said about [Iggy Azalea] and kept it moving. Then a month later you said what you said. And it keeps coming up. Leave it alone. I didn’t say she couldn’t rap. I said something very real. Out of everything, she had to [call herself] ‘a runaway slave master’? C’mon, that’s not swag. That’s not fly s**t.”
How would you describe your fans?
I think my true, hard-core fans are people who enjoy being bad. People who enjoy drinking and smoking, but wanna get it together and just don’t know how. When you really listen to my music you hear a girl who’s going through the motions. She’s experiencing men, having money, not having money, people who are trying to tell her she’s not cute, people telling her she can’t rap, she can’t dance… She’s really dealing with life. I’m not some little light-skinned bitch out here. It’s a young Black girl doing this for herself, by herself. Y’all can’t keep trying to pin me up against the wall. Hip-hop has to help me not let this slip through my hands.
While there are some who love Banks’ take-no-prisoners attitude, there are some who question her intentions behind calling out artists via social networks such as Twitter. Female hip-hop pioneer Lil Kim became her most famous target after Kim declined to make a song with her.
“That’s what we did, and that s–t is over. Yo, listen, [Lil’ Kim], this black cloud you got over you—don’t try to push that over me. You can keep that, because as soon as I released ‘Jumanji’ is as soon everybody forgot about you. I have my hand on the dial; I can control how hot and cold you are right now. So I’m not even going to give it to you. I tried to make a legitimate track with you, tried to collaborate. I was bigging her up and she keeps throwing it back in my face. I tried.”