5:41 pm - 07/30/2014

azealia banks, we won't forget your name soon

After riding the 212 hype to major label signing, before seemingly sitting in development limbo for two years, Azealia Banks was finally released from her contract with Universal earlier this month, freeing her to release the album we’ve all been waiting two years for. As she releases new single, Heavy Metal and Reflective, we look back to her interview in The Whatever The Weather Issue, No. 317, Pre-Spring 2012, where over an intimate meal, she explains her love of Rihanna and calls out a couple of rival girl rappers. I guess that lunch ain’t getting eaten!

It looks like we might finally hear an album that’s been five years in the making, and which Banks has been working on with producers as diverse as Lone and Ariel Pink, and the man behind Adele and Florence + The Machine, Paul Epworth.

Any assumptions that she won’t be making an album like 21 are swiftly swept aside. “Why not?” she asks. “Adele’s got number one records.” Banks is after the big time, and the La Guardia performing arts graduate plans on getting there through more than rap alone. In fact, she’s not so sold on being a rapper at all. “Rap is so tacky when you think about it,” she says. “It’s a very masculine thing, you know? To be a female rapper is very kitsch.”

Those of you who’ve attended one of Azealia’s live shows may even have been treated to an acapella of Amy Winehouse’s Valerie or Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas (and spent the whole song wondering if it’s a wind-up). She’s seriously committed to her singing skills. “Having a musical theatre background, I’ve got a lot more class than just being a female rapper,” Azealia states. “I feel like I would be really selling myself short and really exploiting myself in a sense. It’s not what I want to do all the way.”


A trained singer though she may be, Azealia better not go forgetting why people fell in love with her in the first place: her sometime quick-fire, sometime molasses-slow flow. Well, that and the scruffy pigtails, toothy grin, Mickey Mouse sweater and goofy dancing in 212, a video that cost $30 (“That was for chicken sandwiches and Coca-Cola!”). It’s a song she wrote, “After firing my manager and lawyer and being dropped from my label [XL]. I was in a real depression. It made me want to disappear and I almost did. 212 was just a big fuck you to everyone who said no and talked shit about me.” Whilst we’d be interested to hear Azealia going Adele-esque, what we’re really after is more mastery of the 212 ilk and further exploration of Azealia’s rap style. If Nicki Minaj is the Lil Kim of now, then Azealia is the Foxy Brown: chill, deep, sexual and street-smart.

Despite today’s Rihanna T-shirt (aping the style of a Nirvana tour tee), she’s not going to be pumping out material at the rate of everyone’s fave Bajan. “Rihanna has writers, so it’s easier for her to come out with things every year because she’s in a think tank, you know? I’m sure she is enjoying her nice money and her nice hair and body products. You know, nice perfume and expensive shoes and I’m pretty sure she’s enjoying her life.” This almost comes off like RiRi resentment, before the praise pours forth. “I love her because she’s young, she’s rich, she’s beautiful. She’s not frantic about anything. She’s not trying to pretend. She’s like, ‘Yeah, so I get my songs written? So what, bitch? You wish you got your songs written. I’m making money.’”

Azealia admires the authenticity of RiRi, proudly wearing the badge of mass-produced pop, adding, “Authenticity is definitely part of things I like.” When later quizzed about what ‘cool’ means to the girl who topped the NME Cool List back in 2011. “Anything that seems fake, or anything that seems like a lie, or anything that’s not the truth, I don’t like it,” she declares. Which is why she’s not sold on fellow female rappers Iggy Azalea and Kreayshawn.

Iggy Azalea (“Where the fuck did you get that name from, bitch?”) is “some Australian girl who raps like a black girl. It’s kind of silly. Whatever, people are feeling it. She’s good-looking. I get it.” As for Kreayshawn… “When I was just following her on the internet I thought she was interesting and really kind of cool. I think it got to her head and got blown out of proportion and the next thing you know she’s dissing Rick Ross. Now she’s got that V-Nasty girl shouting the N-word trying to be controversial but offending people. This is gonna get you guys nowhere.”

So how can white MCs cut the mustard? “Just be yourself, that’s really what it is. I mean I get it: black women are the strongest, most confident women in the world. Of course you want to emulate us. I get that. But at the same time, listeners will appreciate it more in the long run if you are just yourself. Eminem did it. He didn’t have to make a mockery of anyone. Beastie Boys did it. They didn’t have to make a mockery of anyone. If you want to treat it as an art form, then really treat it as an art form. Don’t use it as a gateway into a culture that you want to be a part of. Black culture is fun to the rest of the world and they all want to be a part of that, but there are certain things that are sacred to us and certain things that you will never be fully accepted into. That’s just my take on it.”

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witchpop 30th-Jul-2014 09:53 pm (UTC)
Make sure you let people know that this article is from the ID Magazine article from Feb 9th, 2012

Edited at 2014-07-30 09:54 pm (UTC)
witchpop 30th-Jul-2014 09:57 pm (UTC)
They reposted it, AB was not happy

AZEALIABANKS: @i_D re-posting an interview from 2012? You guys are losers.

AZEALIABANKS: ID magazine can suck my dick.
noon 30th-Jul-2014 09:56 pm (UTC)
i was wondering why she still sounded sane in these quotes
ponpiri 30th-Jul-2014 09:57 pm (UTC)
Hm.. you sure? It was posted in their website yesterday.
knighter480 30th-Jul-2014 09:54 pm (UTC)
morgan90 30th-Jul-2014 09:54 pm (UTC)
The "I heard you ridin' with the same tall, tall tale" verse was so prophetic for the rest of her career
sassandthecity 30th-Jul-2014 09:58 pm (UTC)
"Having a musical theatre background, I’ve got a lot more class than just being a female rapper."

The fuck is this quote.
bee_q Ugh30th-Jul-2014 09:58 pm (UTC)
I hate that I was boppin to her new song. I let ha go a long time ago..
meme81 Re: Ugh30th-Jul-2014 11:05 pm (UTC)
you gonna try … but you won;t ;)
bee_q Re: Ugh31st-Jul-2014 12:11 am (UTC)
I'm currently dancing to Heavy Metal and Reflective and hating myself.. so you're probably right lol.
vicvinegar 30th-Jul-2014 09:59 pm (UTC)
if only i could forget her ugly face tho
sucha_handful 30th-Jul-2014 10:40 pm (UTC)
fortunatoxlk 30th-Jul-2014 10:04 pm (UTC)
What is this post?
fight4thislove 30th-Jul-2014 10:08 pm (UTC)
HMAR is decent. Her next single, Wallace I'm assuming, is gonna be the make or break for her.
deja_vu822 30th-Jul-2014 10:17 pm (UTC)
trying to be controversial but offending people. This is gonna get you guys nowhere.

interesting thing for her to say
arielazul_22 30th-Jul-2014 10:30 pm (UTC)
just came in here to say her nipple surprised me...tis all.
witchpop 30th-Jul-2014 10:34 pm (UTC)
LMAOOOOOOO how did you even see that?!
arielazul_22 30th-Jul-2014 10:38 pm (UTC)
i was admiring her disney shirt, lol
fauxparadiso 30th-Jul-2014 10:41 pm (UTC)
lol oh wow.
divafit 30th-Jul-2014 10:56 pm (UTC)
where do you even see a nipple lol
winegums 30th-Jul-2014 10:33 pm (UTC)
Hope her single is some good because it's fucking embarrassing to have wasted all your potential and fucked your career via of all things, twitter.
sucha_handful 30th-Jul-2014 10:38 pm (UTC)
well your hope is lost because her single sucks
skankyoulater 30th-Jul-2014 11:21 pm (UTC)
this interview is perf. ):
flightbyzephyr 31st-Jul-2014 12:01 am (UTC)
"Black culture is fun to the rest of the world"

I'm sorry what? Rest of the world? Is she implying either that there is a global black culture or did she forget the word American in there somewhere.
divafit 31st-Jul-2014 12:44 am (UTC)
you're taking it way too literally, she meant black culture is fun to people who aren't black
crazyfruitlady 31st-Jul-2014 11:00 am (UTC)
No, but then she talks about how Iggy is Australian and therefore can't possibly talk like a black girl. She needs to think about her words more carefully because everything she says makes me feel uncomfortable. And no, I am not in any way appropriating black culture so it's not a guilt thing.
cheekymonkeyboo 31st-Jul-2014 12:04 am (UTC)
srs question i know shes messy and im over her but iggy has said stuff thats just as messy and shes not rlly talented. did twitter rlly ruin her or being black and twitter ruined her? because most musicians say something at some point...
kingkunt 31st-Jul-2014 12:27 am (UTC)
Black people will always be held to a double standard because our very existence is seen as a threat. Azealia, despite making better music, the critical acclaim she received when she first came on the scene, and people being genuinely excited about her, was going to have an uphill battle no matter what. Iggy is mediocre in every sense and thus, she was always at an advantage over Banks because we've been conditioned to praise mediocrity over excellence, especially if it's packaged as a "pretty" white female. Iggy is the western beauty ideal that makes most people more comfortable than a striking, dark-skinned woman who is also a free-spirited loud-mouth. People were going to have an aversion to Banks even IF she was sweet as pie on twitter, simply because her appearance, her race, her perspective isn't considered as valuable as Iggy's by our fucked up society. Iggy and her mayonnaise brigade can go die in a fire, as far as I'm concerned. I find her existence in the industry repulsive and offensive.
cheekymonkeyboo 31st-Jul-2014 12:51 am (UTC)
i thought so..i thought if she wasnt so talkative it would help but i for sure know she was fighting a loosing battle anyway...iggy is quite offensive..her flow on fuck love snapped me out of it bcus i thought fancy was a cute bop. complete trash
cageyb 31st-Jul-2014 12:47 am (UTC)
The combo of her being messy right at the height of her hype plus her not putting out an album/consistently putting out new music is what did it, though obviously the factors kingkunt mentioned play a role. Most of the vile stuff Iggy tweeted and said happened before anyone but her early stans gave a fuck about her, so it's not the most prominent thing about her and they can pretend it's all in the past and she's a different person now (even though they were defending her racist bullshit when it was still fresh).
kingkunt 31st-Jul-2014 12:09 am (UTC)
She's the coolest and the new single is a banga, but goddamit she doesn't need to respond everytime she feels slighted by someone! Let your stans handle that shit, maybe?
divafit 31st-Jul-2014 12:46 am (UTC)
i don't always agree with the way she goes at people but i also don't think "letting her stans handle that shit" is cute either, twitter stans are the goddamn worst
kingkunt 31st-Jul-2014 01:03 am (UTC)
I agree, but stans don't have much to lose by being ignorant online. She, on the other hand...
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