Azealia Banks v. Iggy Azalea: A Full Feud Rundown

Crossing racial lines in musical genres is a very common complaint, with the most notable examples being Eminem and Elvis Presley. Iggy Azalea’s recent feud with Azealia Banks brings the issue to light once again, with Banks claiming that she has “problem when you’re trying to say that [Iggy’s music is] hip-hop and [she’s] trying to put it up against black culture.” Iggy did not take kindly to the critique, responding on twitter with a “special message” for Banks that read, “There are many black artists succeeding in all genres. The reason you haven’t is because of your piss poor attitude. Your inability to be responsible for your own mistakes, bullying others, the inability to be humble or self control. It’s YOU!”

T.I. predictably came to his protege’s defense, saying, “white people who were inspired by our culture allowed ME TO SEE, that not all white people out to steal our culture,” and instead are “merely wish[ing] to contribute to it.”

While when I first read quotes from the feud I unequivocally sided with Iggy, my thoughts immediately muddied when watching the original interview with Banks, which I’ve posted below. Hip-hop and rap is predicated on an authenticity that came from struggle, and Iggy’s entire formula emulates pop, not rap. She doesn’t write her own music, and she’s a claymation product of high-level execs that propelled her forward. Success is not zero sum, and there’s certainly room for everyone, but there’s validity to an idea that while Iggy didn’t steal anyone’s spotlight, she’s an inauthentic representation of the genre. As for Banks, I have some advice. No one will listen to your arguments when they’re packaged with incredibly mean attacks and bigoted, racist terms, which are unconscionable. There’s weight to her point, but she’s too pissed to perfect it with an intelligent delivery. Q-Tip came to the rescue, with a moving, historical lesson on hip-hop, which you can read in its unedited version below. Enjoy, and feel free to weigh in on my comments section.

“HipHop is a artistic and socio-political movement/culture that sprang from the disparate ghettos of NY in the early 70’s Coming off the heels of the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT and approaching the end of the Vietnam war it was a crossroads 4 America specially for blacks in the US our neighborhoods were PROLIFERATED w/a rush of HEROINE.”

“Our school systems here in NY dungeon traps with light for learning… blk men some of whom didn’t return from tours of duty n the ones who did came w/war baggage (agent orange, addiction, ect..)… these men had families but due to these events and throw into the mix the public emasculation… they proved to be handicapped parents. The surrogate parents? The STREETS… the streets of gangs, crimes, and the hustlers coddled us and swept us up.”

“But! Being a spirited, rhythmic & expressive people music art dance outlined our existence… it proved a way for us to exalt to scream to dance to laugh and find OUR VOICE… we weren’t at the time skilled musicians as kids. We had records, turntables, ideas and INGENUITY being natural chemist we took from whatever was availed to us and we created something mighty and special.”

“We cut breakbeats back n forth we took a hybrid of Jamaican toasting along w/ radio jock rap (hank Spann, Gary Byrd, ect.) and we put our rap down.. it was a neighborhood thing really. Black and Latino Kids were carving out their space and it became infectious… eventually Keith Cowboy coined the phrase hiphop . Yrs later the first rap record was recorded and now we r moving.”

“But during these strides this country still had the monster of racism and racial insensitivity breathing and ruling… believe it or not young black n Latino lives specifically weren’t acknowledged in mainstream American culture unless Of course.. the convo was abt gangs , being criminals or uneducated. And hey! Like I stated early our families were rushed our schools sucked and we were left to put devices to survive… but HIPHOP showed that we had DEPTH, fire, and BRILLANCE… the music was undeniable! It moved from NY N became national and even GLOBAL.”

Hiphop now was FOR EVERYBODY!! All of those who cld relate to the roots, the spirit, the history, the energy.. It reached YOU… it touched your spirit n took u up. We magnetized you! That’s what BRILLANCE does… now u are fulfilling your dreams … BUT! you have to take into account the HISTORY as you move underneath the banner of hiphop. As I said before… hiphop is fun it’s vile it’s dance it’s traditional it’s light hearted but 1 thing it can never detach itself from is being a SOCIO-Political movement.”

“U may ask why … Well once you are born black your existence I believe is joined with socio-political epitaph and philos based on the tangled and treacherous history SLAVERY alone this is the case it never leaves our conversation… Ever. WeAther in our universities our dinner tables our studios or jail cells… the effects still resononates with us. It hurts… We get emotional and angry and melancholy… did u know president Clinton was the ONLY PRESIDENT to apologize for it? did u know that remnants of slavery exist today thru white privilege? When certain “niceties” r extended your way because of how u look? Isn’t that crazy?”

“I say this 2 say u are a hiphop artist who has the right 2 express herself however she wishes… this is not a chastisement this is not admonishment at ALL this is just one artist reaching to another hoping to spark insight into the field you r in. I say this in the spirit of a hopeful healthy dialogue that maybe one day we can continue… I’ve been on twitter a long time and this will probably be my last series of tweets pretty much but I’m Kool with it as long as I got to share this w u. Zzzzzzz’s up! Peace!”


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